Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

I don't think I've ever looked forward to reading others' Ten on Tuesday lists quite as much as I am today. The topic, 10 Things You Do To Calm Down, is one that I can definitely use, and I hope to gather ideas that I can put into practice. I don't think of myself as a very angry person, so when I need to calm down it's most often due to worry and anxiety. It feels like I've been worrying about things more than usual for the past year and a half; most often about a family member's health or safety, but there is also my own health, money, when will the axle on my Subaru break again, what do I want to do in this next stage of my life, have I been/am I now a good mother, am I eating enough fruits and vegetables, global warming, the rise of pseudoscience, am I worrying too much ...

I know that worrying isn't useful or productive, and can even be a bit of a wallowing self-indulgence, so here are some of the things I do to calm down.
  1. Knit - There have been plenty of studies showing the calming effects of knitting, and I think we've all experienced how very effective this is.
  2. Shop for yarn - I have to be careful not to overdo it, but often times even browsing The Loopy Ewe online is a calming experience. Calm Downing is the most recent addition to my wish list!
  3. Walk - Getting out into the fresh air, walking away from worry and towards peace is a very good thing.
  4. Breathe - Simply taking some deep breaths and concentrating on the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide can be soothing.
  5. Meditate - This is a relatively new practice for me and I'm still trying to find what works best, but focusing on my breath, observing thoughts without judgement, and letting them go is a good beginning.
  6. Drink tea - There is a good reason that hot, sweet tea figures largely in British novels. The simple act of making tea and feeling that warmth entering your system is restorative and restful.
  7. Read - Reading allows me to enter another world, one away from my own concerns. A nonfiction book about meditation or a great novel can transport me.
  8. Get outside of myself - When I need to calm down, it's very helpful to direct my attention and energy towards others. Bake zucchini bread for a friend, change the batteries in the smoke detectors for an elderly neighbor, donate blood, or do some volunteer shelving at the library -- all of these have helped me to calm down and put things in perspective.
  9. Music - Whether it's calming Zoe Keating on cello or something more raucous to "dance it out", music has charms to soothe the savage breast.
  10. Balloon or the box - If I recognize that what I'm worrying about is something I need to let go of, I'll picture placing that worry in a balloon and watch it peacefully drift away into a lovely blue sky. Sometimes anxiety is about an issue I need to deal with, so I imagine placing that into a box to deal with it when I'm better able to. That helps with calming down, which in turn helps with actually resolving the issue.

So, what are your favorite ways to calm down? I'd love to hear what works for you!


  1. what lovely sky photos! taking a walk and enjoying Mother Nature is healthy and calming for me. and I love the Balloon/Box idea!

  2. I love the balloon and the box idea also! Great list Bonny! And, mmmm that yarn is so beautiful!

  3. I think I do all of those things, but I'll add one, I talk to a lot of people to work it out...I love the balloon idea :)

  4. I love your balloon/box analogy, I'm going to try that. I'm happy to hear that you are meditating, I hope you find it helps you as much as I have. I also love the idea of thinking of and doing something for someone else - what a great way of putting things in perspective.

  5. Online yarn shopping. I have been resisting for the most part lately just because my stash is getting kind of crazy. But I love that high of "I just bought yarn and didn't leave my couch" feeling. That relieves stress for sure!

  6. I am going to try balloon in a box. And yes, yarn shopping, even if I didn't realize it until you wrote it, and even if (or maybe because) I don't buy!

  7. I LOVE the balloon-or-box idea! :-) Your list is filled with wonderful, keep-calm ideas. My all-time, best re-focusing activity . . . is a hard, sweaty workout. Works every time!

  8. Almost everything on your list would be on mine. I am a big fan of #3 and 4, especially.

  9. What a delightful list! And number 11 could be just focusing on those lovely sky pictures!


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