Keep Calm, and Carry On
Cosmopolitan India|March 2021
In times when the need for some mental peace is greater than ever, many of us turn to different coping mechanisms to find solace. In this special feature, we speak to 13 strong, successful ladies on what brings them calm in moments of chaos.
Meghna Sharma, Humra Afroz Khan, and Aanchal Kataria

ANJALI TANEJA

Singer and Songwriter

“I used to find a lot of peace in playing the piano (my first instrument), and journalling my thoughts so that I could use them to create a song. That process was really cathartic. But lately, I have found that learning how to play the guitar calms me in a way nothing else can. It wasn’t my first instrument, but I love the process of learning new chord progressions that evoke a certain mood. I really enjoy playing the piano because it makes me feel relaxed and sparks song ideas, and the same extends to learning the guitar. The best piece of advice I can offer, to stay balanced, is to try to separate yourself from your thoughts. We are not our thoughts—they are just a product of our habits, and we can implement daily routines or reminders to offset stresses and stay afloat. I would also like to say that nothing is more important than our health and happiness. Life is short, and it is easy to lose sight of that amidst day-to-day stresses. Taking time out to be creative every day will help both your mind and body!”

ANUSHKA NADIA MENON

Photographer

“I have been practising yoga for over a decade now, and it has played an instrumental role in keeping me calm. I have a complex and busy mind, and a lot of things go on in there that I am unable to control. So when I take to my practice, I am able to slow these thoughts down and even segregate them—giving each one its own space and time to make its point. Staying balanced, to me, means being in tune with yourself...knowing and understanding yourself, and therefore, having a balanced view of life. Yoga is such a holistic practice— it is beneficial for the mind, body, and soul. Once you begin to understand the depths of body movement and yoga, and why it exists, you will fall in love with it. And it will, hopefully, help you have a better understanding and connection with yourself.”

AKANKSHA BHATIA

Mental Health Advocate and Writer

“My morning ritual of making breakfast and brewing a cup of coffee helps me start my day on the perfect note. This entire process—of giving myself those 20 minutes in the morning that revolve just around me and nobody else—centres me. And at night, before I sleep, I listen to some music and read poetry, to conclude the hectic day with a moment of calm. This ensures I don’t go to bed thinking about all the things that went wrong during the day, and, instead, recall and dwell on the positives. I have been living alone for the last five years. And since then, I have taken extra care to add little things to my schedule that make me happy...and to spend some time alone with my own thoughts. When feeling anxious or stressed, I count backwards. It is a trick that almost immediately helps me concentrate on my breathing. A cup of chamomile tea does wonders, too. I think understanding that your mental space might not match someone else’s really helps put things in perspective. This gives us an opportunity to learn how to be kinder, calmer, and more empathetic in life.”

ZOYA AGARWAL

Pilot, Air India

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