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  • Writer's pictureCate Bales

5 practices to move you from chaos to calm

You know those mornings. Sam refuses to get dressed for preschool… sleep through the alarm because you went to bed way too late the night before making lunches and putting another load of washing on… are stuck in gridlocked traffic and are going to be late for a client meeting.

Life has a habit of throwing us curve balls. It doesn’t matter how organised we think we are, circumstances happen that are outside of our control. It is in these moments that we are reminded that the only thing we can control is ourselves.

So what do we do? It’s about changing our mindset. Understanding that we are in control of how we react to these situations. We can choose to stress, to yell, to get frustrated, to feel overwhelm. Or we can choose to respond from a place of calm by bringing awareness to the circumstances presented to us and to act accordingly.

This is where the wellness toolbox comes into play. I have used the following 5 practices time and again when my day doesn’t go to plan. And so too have many of my clients with great succes.

I recommend practicing them in a relaxed state initially so that they can become an acquired habit and feel like second nature to you. Then when chaos reigns, you instinctively know to call on one of these tools to keep you in a calm place.

  1. Left-nostril breathing: this is a fast and simple breathing technique that sends a powerful message to the brain that you are safe. Block the right nostril with the thumb or index finger of your right hand. Gently breathe in and out of the left nostril for 1-3 minutes.

  2. Grounding: bring your awareness to your physical body. Feel your feet firmly touching the ground, allow the belly to be soft, relax through the neck and shoulders, open the heart centre and practice 3-6 rounds of slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing through the nostrils. Really feel the belly expanding on the inhale and relaxing on the exhale. You can silently repeat to yourself, ‘I am breathing in, I am breathing out.’

  3. Be present: practice being present and conscious. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to bring your awareness to your senses. Silently ask yourself; “What can I see, hear, smell, taste and touch?”

  4. Essential Oils: lavender essential oil is well documented to significantly decrease mental and emotional anxiety and stress. Simply inhale straight from the bottle, diffuse or apply directly to the body and breathe. I always carry a bottle of lavender essential oil with me in my bag. It is my immediate stress-release in a bottle.

  5. 4-7-8 Breath: this simple breathing technique has profound consequences in calming the mind and the body. Exhale through the mouth. Closing the mouth, inhale to the count of 4, hold for the count of 7 and exhale through the mouth to the count of 8. This is one round. Repeat 3 more times.

It is empowering to know that we are in charge of ourselves at all times, and that we get to choose how we respond to life’s situations.

These 5 practices can support us in moving from a stressed-out, fight or flight response to one of a relaxed, nurtured and nourished response.

Which practice will you choose to move you from chaos to calm?

With love and blessings,




Hello! I'm Cate Bales; a passionalte health coach. I write a regular blog, “a re-claim to wholeness", inspiring you, my readers to have more energy, time, freedom and meaning in your lives. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter here.

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