5 Key Ways to Keep Calm with Mindfulness ll Kathy Hawkins

Do you often feel frustrated and anxious throughout your day?

Sometimes it only takes one little thing to ruin your mood, stress you out, and tank the rest of your day.

Maybe life has piled up around you making you feel overloaded. You’d like not to feel so overwhelmed and even to be able to handle situations more calmly. It just hasn’t worked out that way, though.

In looking for a solution to feel a deeper sense of calm throughout your day and your life, consider trying out mindfulness.

Here are some great reasons why.

1. Calms Your Body with Breathing Techniques

Practicing mindfulness can sound woo woo and even a little difficult. It’s really quite  simple though.

You’ll be relieved to know that something as easy as breathing plays a uniquely huge role in developing mindful habits.

Many different breathing techniques exist to help calm and relax you.  A deep and slow breathing technique signals to your parasympathetic nervous system that everything is okay. Your “fight or flight” response gets put on standby and you can enjoy the tranquility of calmness.

One of these techniques is box breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, slowly exhale for a count of three, and hold for a count of three.  Try repeating this for a few rounds. This simple exercise works wonders in very stressful situations.

2. Stops Looping Thoughts

Looping thoughts are notorious for creating stress and anxiety in many people’s lives. You’ve probably experienced these thoughts in your own life.

One worrisome and irrational thought leads to another, which leads to another. Your anxiety sky-rockets and your sense of calm control plummets to the ground as these thoughts spiral out of control.

Mindfulness can help put an end to this chain reaction. By focusing intensely on your breath as you practice the aforementioned breathing technique, looping thoughts can be stopped in their tracks.

Imagine a line of ants marching on the sidewalk. Now imagine a large leaf gracefully floating down landing right in the middle of the line, separating the front of the line from the back.

The ants represent those annoying and often powerful looping thoughts. Mindfulness is represented by the large, graceful leaf. Mindfulness serves as more than a temporary distraction. It’s a redirecting of your brain to think a different way…or take a different route like the ants.

3. Function More Effectively 

Along with being self-aware, you’ll also want to focus on the present moment. This is one of the most fulfilling parts of living mindfully.

As you perform tasks throughout your day, experience each one fully. Really make the effort to absorb each moment.

One mindful employee remembers the simple feel of paperclips as he sorted through a stack of potentially frustrating paperwork. The more he focused on the cool, sleek feel of the paperclips at his fingertips, the calmer he became.

By allowing detailed thoughts on paperclips to trump the usual stress trigger of handling all that paperwork, he was able to get through his work stress-free.

Mindfulness promotes relaxed alertness like the employee felt. This type of existence is perfect for optimal performance.

4. Recover Quickly from Stress Arousal

I’d love to be able to tell you that mindfulness will ward off all stress, but this just isn’t the case.

Life throws curveballs and curveballs are stressful!

It’s only natural to feel stress when a situation arises or something triggers your sympathetic nervous system to operate in the “fight or flight” mode.

By practicing mindfulness, you are able to refocus your energy away from the toxic shuffle.

Once your mind absorbs the blow from the stressor, you can address the situation with a clear head.

5. Negativity Doesn’t Rub Off on You

The saying about birds of a feather flock together rings true in many ways. People of the same mindset do often gravitate towards one another, but another thing happens, too.

People who have to be around each other rub off on each other as well.

Work is a great example of this. One co-worker with a negative outlook or bad attitude can influence the space in a room with incredible speed.

When you practice mindfulness, you can control your own mind. You are the influencer; outside forces have less influence over you.

We tend to influence one another with our attitudes. Choosing to mindfully see the positive, your outlook isn’t swayed by external negativity.

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Practicing mindfulness can help to fill your life with a wonderful feeling of calm. You’ll be able to control your thoughts and accomplish more, too.

Remember to practice moments of controlled breathing. Make an effort to focus on your breathing technique and tune into the unique world immediately surrounding you.

You’ll feel better on the inside and probably be a more pleasant person on the outside!


Kathy Hawkins, MA, LPC, LAC, ACS  is a mindfulness based transpersonal psychotherapist. Kathy believes that we can’t undo our past or know what the future holds, but we can come to a better place in accepting where we are right now. Everyone experiences challenges in their lives and sometimes we just need someone that we can trust to listen, be present, and help guide us in overcoming these challenges. Cultivating awareness is the foundation for any type of growth and change. Coming to peace with the present moment enables people to accept the uncertainties in life. People are their own experts and Kathy works with her clients to empower them to better understand their lives and transform and heal from the challenges they have encountered. Kathy uses a variety of different approaches to help with trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, stress reduction, anger management, life transitions, and personal and spiritual growth.