Life is frenetic and full of responsibilities. As someone who has suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, I can hand-on-heart say that we all need some help on occasion, as much as might think we’re independent and doing okay. What follows is some methods I have used over the years. Some are more recently acquired, so I’m still learning, but I’m including them because I think they’re interesting.


10 tips to calm your mind

1. Put lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you sleep

Very simple, very effective – if you like the smell, and I know some people don’t! Riley can sometimes be quite hard to settle of an evening and one time I had reached the end of my patience and suggested I put some lavender drops on his pillow. He agreed, reluctantly, but the following night I got the question: “Mum, can you use that smelling stuff again? I liked it.”

I use the kind of oil that you can easily buy in the supermarket for about $15. I have a different brand that I use for massage purposes that is pre-mixed in a carrier oil.

2. Put lavender essential oil in the bath

Just five drops or so, because I’m using the oil in its pure state, and that’s all you need to make a big impact. The heat diffuses the smell all down the bedroom end of our house and it’s really calming. I’m sure other oils would be okay too, although I know some people have to be careful as they are sensitive to some oils, and others probably are best used elsewhere. Lavender is one of the great ‘all-rounder’ oils. I love it.

3. Play with your pet

Keira and Whiskers adore one another. While I might absentmindedly give Whiskers a pat whenever she wanders past – or plonks herself right in front of me while I’m trying to work – I admit I don’t often actively seek her out for a cuddle.

(And when I have, she has been very suspicious, running under the bed to hide, because I normally grab her when I’m putting her in the cage to take a trip to the vet!)

I’ve tried to a bit more lately, and it is nice to have a hug (when she’s in the mood!). I’ll miss her when we’re away.

The health benefits of having a pet for companionship are quite well documented, being able to improve such things as high blood pressure and depression.



Okay, we’re entering bold new (for some) territory here… Adam is of the opinion this is ‘tin foil hat’ territory. But keep an open mind!


4. Buy an earthing mat

What’s earthing (or grounding, as it is otherwise known)? Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts encourages Richard Gere to take his shoes and socks off and walk around to relax and get back to nature? Well, that’s practially it. Advocates of earthing believe it can help with a variety of health issues, most especially inflammation and regulating/improving sleep.

Okay, you say, but not everyone can keep their feet, or hands, or other body parts, connected to the ground as we go about our daily business – right?  Not quite. Other bloggers, such as Sarah Wilson, have also touched on this topic. Last year, to help combat my muscular and joint pain (and post nasal drip – gross, I know) I went online and Googled an Australian store that sold earthing products.

I’ll let video Karen take over.


5. Try EFT (tapping)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also called tapping, is a practice of putting pressure on specific energy or meridian points on the body, usually also while repeating positive and affirming phrases. I’ve used it on a number of occasions and find it most beneficial as a kind of ‘circuit breaker’ way of stopping anxious thoughts before they spiral downwards into something much worse.

6. Try doing a past life regression

Mira Kelly is considered an authority on this subject and in this video she does a led past life regression with a group of people at a conference. The exercise doesn’t start until about the 18.30 minute mark, but I do recommend you watch the introduction, if you’re curious, before diving into the exercise. I did it because I thought to myself, “If it doesn’t work, at least I can write it off as meditation time”.


Something weird happened. I remember my ‘experience’, or flash, or whatever it was, very clearly. Was it just my imagination or subconscious being activated rather than any ‘true’ glimpse into the past? Perhaps. Probably. Fascinating, either way. Tell me yours – if you do it – and I’ll tell you mine. I will add, I opened my eyes after it was over and I felt really calm; all the internal noise had disappeared.


7. (Self) Head Massage

Who doesn’t love a head massage?! Getting someone to do it for you is great, but it’s doable solo! (Unlike back rubs!)


8. Meditate

I’m not going to link to a specific meditation tutorial video here – mostly because I haven’t found one yet that I’ve really fallen in love with. But this video is related, as it is a talk by David Lynch called ‘Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain’. Lynch touches on the subject of Transcendental Meditation, a somewhat controversial form of meditation, which (to its detractors) is unnecessarily expensive due to being marketed to celebrities (and then touted by them). Lynch is one of these big figures; others are Russell Brand and Jerry Seinfeld. Regardless, I enjoy listening to Lynch speak on a subject I have a lot of interest in (not surprisingly!).


9. Get some Chinese Therapy Balls

Otherwise known as baoding balls, or Chinese Exercise Balls, or Meditation Balls, these might be familiar if you’ve ever stepped foot in an alternative medicine or health/wellbeing store.

Meditation balls
I’ve had these for over twenty years – a girlfriend gave them to me in high school, and they’ve travelled everywhere with me since. I rarely get them out, but I like seeing them on my bookshelf, knowing they’re close if I ever need them.

Well – they used to live on the bookshelf. Riley has now claimed them and keeps them on his bedside table. Some nights I’ll hear the gentle clangs and rings as he rolls them around in his hand.

I never knew if I was using them properly – do they touch? Not touch? Are they supposed to make a sound or is the point to keep them silent? I’ve done some searching, but there’s conflicting opinions. If you know the answer – let me know!



10. Have a good cry

In my specialist’s office the other week, as we got towards the end of the mammoth appointment, we got to talking about treatment and management. He leaned over at one point and said, every earnestly, “You should cry. It is good to cry. Let it all out, very good to get back to an emotional balance”. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you I am prone, indeed likely, to cry at such things as television ads. But it’s a different kind of release, I think. If something is made up, they’re more superficial (“easy come, easy go”). I’m less likely to cry over real events and sadness – sometimes because I might have a child nearby and I don’t want them to see me upset, and other times because I’ll end up on a jag that could last hours. Maybe that would be good for me, I’m not sure.


What do you think of these tips? What would you add or recommend?


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity (October, 2017).