Bringing on serenity can happen in various ways. Let’s focus on the 4-S configuration of smiling, singing, sweating and soothing for quick reference.
• Smile: Others are more inclined to mirror back a smile to you. It can lift your mood, increase serotonin levels in the brain and bring a sense of calm. People will respond to you in kind. Think of a smile as “paying it forward.” • Sing: Whether your vocalizing is limited to the shower or not, try out a new tune that’s all yours. There’s scientific research that a sensory organ like the ear can trigger a response in the hypothalamus that creates a pleasurable buzz. Singing about your worries to a simple tune adds humor to the mix. • Sweat: Get to the gym or outdoors and move. Increased blood flow to the brain, and engaging your body in simple exercises promotes the growth of new neurons that are less reactive to stress. • Soothe: Playback positive memories of activities with loved ones. When you visualize images of times when you were in a safe, nurturing space you feel cared for and less stressed.
Serenity need not be an elusive skill known only to Tibetan monks. With practice, these techniques can take you from Zero to Zen in less time than lacing up your sneakers for a quick run.