The desire to move from chaos to calm is only too real; especially when it comes to our minds. We’re constantly putting out fires, wearing other people’s problems as our own, taking on too much and giving ourselves too little.

There is an alternative, and it’s the least expensive, yet most valuable tool available to us; our mind.

We need to create space; space to breathe, space to see and space to be. That’s where these seven steps come in, and the beauty of them is that all they need is us, and a willingness to reconnect with the wisdom that’s been inside us all along.

Each of the steps are elements that make up the whole, though this is not a step by step practice where each box needs to be ticked in order each day. It’s more about building the tools in these key areas to always return to a calm mind. Each element has a little starting step; a tip that can be implemented right away. Consider these your back-pocket guides for a quick mindset shift; from compulsive to conscious, and chaotic to calm.

1. Love
Aah love! Is there anything more important in the world? A surefire way to feel more love is to practice gratitude, and this is as simple as every morning when you wake and every night before you sleep, list at least three things that you are grateful for. Pro-gratitudster tip: always include one thing about your mind, personality or body that you are grateful for. Love in every area of life starts with love for ourselves!

Starting step: every time you look in the mirror, smile and say “I love you”. Say it with as much meaning as possible, even when you don’t believe it; in fact, especially when you don’t believe it

2. Release
As you move through life, you collect so many things that can mentally weigh you down; past hurts, regrets, cruelty to yourself and others. It’s time to let go. You deserve to feel light. Letting go is not about dismissing or pushing down negative emotions; it’s about acknowledging the pain or discomfort, recognising what it is attempting to teach you, releasing it and allowing space to heal. Sit with it, just don’t make a home there. Holding onto negativity is extending your own pain. What caused the hurt may not have been your fault, though it is your responsibility to heal from it. 

Starting step: think of one thing that you have held onto for a long time; a grudge against a friend, anger towards a past partner, a frustration outside of your control. Now choose to release it. It no longer serves you and it is important that you allow space for healing so that you don’t carry this forward and punish yourself or the ones that didn’t hurt you. Do this for yourself, rather than for anyone else

3. Intuition
Intuition is your inner guidance system; the quiet voice that knows the answers your logical brain may not. It manifests as a feeling in the body, particularly the chest. When you are on the right path, you will feel calm and your mind will be able to focus. If your intuition senses something is off, the mind can feel somewhat chaotic and your body tense. Although always there, your intuition is something that you need to consciously tap into and physically feel.

Starting step: be still, tune into your breath and listen. Pay attention to how you are feeling and ask for answers. Meditation strengthens your connection to your intuition and adding even 10 minutes to your morning routine will allow you to tap in with greater ease

4. Compassion
Much like love, it is vitally important that you show yourself as much compassion as you show others. There are so many different facets to compassion, though one of the most important is setting boundaries. A boundary is very simply, “this works for me” or “this doesn’t work for me”. This may seem counter-intuitive though the old adage that you can’t pour from an empty cup rings true. Doing something for someone that oversteps an internal boundary that has never been expressed, often leads to resentment or discomfort. It is far better to do things from a place of love, compassion and honesty. Those that get offended by you setting a boundary were most likely taking advantage in the first place.

Starting step: kindly set a boundary for something that doesn’t serve you. Be clear, informal, succinct and strong. You get to make the rules; especially surrounding your values, energy and time

5. Truth
Responsibility sits at the heart of truth and it’s only once you take 100% responsibility for your successes and failures, as well as where you are and where you’re going, that you can fully stand in your truth. Positioning yourself as the architect of your life means assuming power over all elements of it, including your emotions. When you allow everyone and everything to control your emotions, you’re giving away your power every time. This goes for the words you speak to yourself too, as they have such an impact on your mind. Speak from a place of honesty, kindness and as the best version of yourself, to yourself and others. Words can change your inward and outward view and dictate whether you feel anxious or calm so choose them wisely.

Starting step: remove the words “stressed” and “busy” from your vocabulary. Replace them with “I have a lot going on though I’m in control” and “I’m productive”. Simple tweaks to your language from negative to positive can have a huge impact. The more you curate your life, the more it looks and feels like the life you want to live

6. Joy
Embracing a calm way of living doesn’t mean life becomes flat. Quite the opposite. It means you feel from a place of trust in yourself and that is so freeing. It allows your mind to return to a childlike curiosity for the world around and inside of you. Joy is often expressed externally; jumping around, turning up your volume, laughter…and what a fun way of showing our joy! It can be so powerful that it needs to leap out of your body and become physical. It can also be a quiet yet strong feeling that makes your whole body shake. A calm mind can truly find joy in the little things.

Starting step: turn on your favourite song, one that really gets the juices flowing, and dance!! I mean really move! Movement acts like a gateway to joy; it allows you to be in the moment and can shift a bad mood in minutes

7. Harmony

Here lies equilibrium. A combination of all of the above. The place to feel all the feelings and choose which ones to welcome permanently and which ones are here to guide, teach and leave; for now at least. This is where your mind becomes your guidance system, best friend and sanctuary; fuelled with love, an ability to understand yours and others’ motives more intuitively and with compassion. There will be times of chaos, misunderstanding and frustration; take the lesson, release, act with love and remain true to yourself.

Starting step: as you do the daily work on all of the other elements, harmonious moments will become more and more frequent. Practice really setting them in your mind with powerful affirmations. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and tell yourself; I am calm and centred. I release all tension. I release anything that no longer serves me. I trust myself to see the lesson and make the right decision. I deserve peace, love and harmony

In the beginning, it will take effort to find out what provokes negative emotions and feelings; though as with everything in life, the more you practice the better you get; or in this case the calmer you get. This is not to say that the things that trigger you will disappear, nor would you want them to completely as that is your inner guidance system speaking to you; more so that you will recognise the thoughts and feelings as they arise and implement the switch. Over time, this can become second nature; allowing you to manage life, rather than life managing you. The external world is a reflection of the internal mind and it is up to you whether it is chaos or calm.