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Cultivating Calmness


In our day-to-day lives we’re faced with myriad frustrations and complications, everything from pressures at work to our car not running right, to more serious things such as trauma and family pressures.

The point is there are way too many things in this world that have the power to throw us off our game. We so rarely take the time to just sit still and be calm.

We’re constantly worried about things that we may or may not have any control over, and we stress ourselves out to the point of illness.

At what point do we decide to just find that calmness, that quiet that we’re so desperately missing?

It happens in the wilderness when we’ve been walking through a stand of pine trees for two miles and we’re struck with a peacefulness that only nature can bring. It can also happen in the early hours of the morning when nobody else is awake and we’re sitting there with our coffee reading the paper, or just sitting on the balcony and we’re struck by the quiet and the peacefulness of the morning.

The point is, there are too few times in life where we truly take advantage of calmness.

There are ways we can cultivate the calmness. There are ways we can find a moment to center ourselves amidst the feverish pace of our endlessly busy days.

First, music can work wonders. Putting on calm piano music or something designed for doing homework or calmness can go really far in helping us ease into the calm. Music can supplant various moods and while there’s music for amping yourself up, there’s also music for calming youself down.

Secondly, our hobbies can go a long way in giving you that calm. For me it’s photography. Losing myself in an extended picture taking trip gives me the flow and the feeling of calm that I literally can’t live without. Maybe for you it’s writing, maybe it’s drawing. Find that thing that gives you the feeling that hours are just minutes, and where you just lose yourself in the act of doing something. Most of the time it’s creative but it can even be busywork for some people. Either way, it’s important to find that thing that calms you and to practice it as often as possible.

Other ways include exercise and napping and things that naturally ease the stress of your day.

I’ve been practicing these things the best I can because life is particularly stressful for me right now.

Finally, if all else fails treat yourself well. Have a good dinner, take a hot shower, and get good sleep. These are all things that can work wonders in giving you that sense of calm that is so often missing from our lives.

This post has been as much for me as it has been for my readers, and I know that I will be trying to take it easy on myself over the next few days. Maybe try some of these ideas out for yourself.

We need to be able to slow down and sometimes we just need to make time for it.

Cultivating Calmness

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2016). Cultivating Calmness. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Apr 2016
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