DUMAGUETE CITY – It has been quite a stressful week both in the global and national landscape. Elections are just around the corner, too, so we’re looking at a pretty packed political schedule. That is why for this week, I’d like to focus on achieving some peace and quiet. Let’s call this centering.

Being centered is a state of calmness. One can think of it like a smooth passage through placid waters. It is a state of oneness almost —- a place of stability and security. Some people call it inner peace. Others view it as present awareness. In a way, everything just IS.

There are some red flags by which we can identify that we are in a state of imbalance. Some of these include:

Being reactive
Inability to focus
General anxiety
A feeling of being stuck

If these continue to prevail, such imbalance might consume us and negatively affect not only us but our relationships as well. This is why centering is such an important skill to learn and live out.

There are five things that I would like to share that really work for me when I have my so-called out-of-center moments. Individual differences dictate that some of these strategies might not be applicable to you but at least you have some points of reference to begin with.

The first is breathing in and out. I usually do a three-count inhale and then a three-count exhale. I do around three sets of this preferably someplace private. I find it the fastest way to calm the nerves and clear the mind which are very effective when I am about to make important decisions or face a certain challenge head on.

The second is prayer. Meditative prayer, that is. There’s that general feeling of lightness when you begin and end the day with prayer.

Third, stop sign visualization. I’ve read this somewhere and has proven effective time and again. I do have my moments of doubt when self-defeating thoughts overwhelm me for some reason or another. When I feel them creeping in, I visualize a huge stop sign popping right in front of me. It’s a reminder to stop and not let such thoughts obliterate my ego.

Fourth, come up with a mantra and repeat the line as needed throughout the day. Nelson Mandela repeated the poem “Invictus” every single day of the 17 years he was imprisoned in Robben Island. He said the words gave him the strength to keep on going despite the injustice of his imprisonment.

Fifth, schedule quiet time during the day. This is when you endeavor to connect with your core. I usually do this after lunch. I go to a nearby church or adoration chapel, sit down, and just be present. I do no think of anything. I try not to feel anything. I stay in the moment for about ten to fifteen minutes before I go back to work.

Being centered has its benefits and amid the chaos that is life, we can all use some inner peace to get through the day.