5 ways to find more peace in under 5 minutes

From Asja Svilans, The Wellness Collective
Peace. Destination or a moment in time? Sometimes peace is described as the absence of stress, and we often think that – to get rid of stress – we must go on a holiday, sleep in more often, spend hundreds at a day spa or book a weekly massage. These options certainly help, but what we need are tricks beyond 'work less and relax more' to help us transform our day.

One: Breathe more, breathe right
When we get stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and we stop taking air down deep into our bellies. Take a moment to take ten breaths and feel where the air goes when you inhale, and when you exhale. How long is your inhale and exhale? Can you experiment with adding a second or two to the inhale and then pause before doing the same to the exhale? Five to ten breaths hitched onto existing habits in your life like stopping at a red light, waiting in the queue at the shops or turning on your computer at work are great ways to find more time to breathe.
Bonus points if you do this in the shower to complement the sensation of water pitter pattering on your face!

Two: Find gratitude
Gratitude. It is one little thing, that when you put into practice means that you must stop for a minute to notice things around you. If doing this every single day seems like too much, try to write the best thing that happened each day and pop it in a jar. At the end of the week, read through and remember the good times! Can you see how powerful this would be over a month, or even a year?

Three: Enjoy nature
Nature is very healing. It is hard not to stand under a massive tree and be wow­ed, or to watch bugs ‘do their things’ for a few minutes and get lost in their daily life – or feel the power when standing next to a waterfall. This is the kind of energy that is great to introduce some calm in your life. Even turning your face to the sun for a few minutes each day, or sitting with your eyes closed and feel how the breeze feels on your skin, will help you reap the benefits. Taking off your shoes and noticing the textures underfoot is a great way to get grounded (and get a little massage too!).

Four: Stretch your limbs – any way you like
For now, let’s forget yoga and stretch the way your body wants! Set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes and then just move your body and pause when you feel a little tightness. Tilt your head side to side, stretch your arms above your head, circle your ankles and flex your feet and so on. Just go with what feels good, and help awaken every little part of your body.

Five: Indulge your creativity
Play time! Being a ‘kidult’ is everywhere right now – and for good reason. Creativity and the idea of ‘playing’ gets sucked out of us and ‘real life’ takes over when we get inundated with careers, family and, well, just living. By picking up some colouring in pencils, doing a puzzle or building a sand castle, you can start to explore what it feels like to create. Sneaking in this habit can be addictive as you get lost in exploring, shading and trying to fit in the last 50 puzzle pieces.

Notice how none of the tips above ask you to sit on a meditation pillow for 30 minutes pre­dawn? The magic in using tips and tricks that are active rather than sitting still means that our brains start to find a little more coherence, clarity and that elusive sense of calm rather than just pushing everything outside of your brain and hoping for the best!