Do you remember being treated with impatience, irritation or scorn when you were upset?

Do you remember being told to ‘calm down’ or ‘get things in perspective’ or ‘take a chill pill’ or ‘you’ve only got yourself to blame’ …?

Why telling ourselves to calm down … can make it worse

You’re not alone. Words that hurt or embarrass — heard when we were so dependent on the care of parents, siblings and teachers — can sink deep in our bodies and make it hard to permit ourselves to have inner peace as adults.

Would you like it to find it easier to remember that you no longer need the approval, reassurance or permission of your boss or partner or kids or friends? 

Would you like the power to be kind and comforting to yourself … no matter what?

Offer yourself the comfort we all deserve

Here’s one quick technique for powerful peace I learned recently. Would you like to try it as you look at this painting from today’s featured artist? There’s only 3 steps:

1. look at an artwork (not a photo) and count. 

2. Starting at 1, count up

3. Keep counting until your body spontaneously lets out a long breath or feels a bit better. 

Want to try it now?

Looking at this artwork … counting silently 1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … as long as you need. 

Artwork courtesy:

There’s no rush. The person speaking or waiting for you to answer can speak or stay silent for as long as it takes. That’s their choice. 

You’re in charge of your body. Your comfort and peace matters. Take as long as you need. 

Your wise, kind and powerful self will decide when you’re ready to choose what you do or say next. 

When you’re ready, you’ll choose whether to speak, listen longer or take a break.

Tip: finding artwork under pressure
You can usually find artwork to look at on the walls of meeting rooms and waiting areas. 

I like to tape artwork on the front of my notebook at work, and I also carry a little bookmark in my wallet with an artwork I like. 

You can practice counting to an artwork (on a postcard or your phone) when you’re enjoying a meal, journalling, or having cuppa.  That short, pleasant practice can help you embed a new choice in your brain so that the image pops up when you’re under pressure and ‘invites’ you to silently count.

Images with warm colours or water are often soothing. Experiment with artwork to discover what helps you feel uniquely calm and empowered. 

What artworks have helped you feel soothed?

Artwork credit: tulipe aprΓ¨s-midi, from the blog ‘The Changing Palette’.