How To Calm Down When Life Is Not Calm

The drive to my children’s school winds along a beautiful lake. The mountain peaks rise up on the other side of the water and the scenic sight always makes me do a double take. The view is spectacular.

Over the past month, I’ve noticed when the lake was all iced over, I could never see the reflection of the mountains.

Screenshot 2015-02-13 at 11.16.13 PM

With the abnormally warm weather lingering, all the ice has melted. Now, in the mornings, when the air is calm, I can see the reflection of the snow-capped peaks perfectly in the water.


In the afternoon, (I do the drive often.. #momlife) I can make out the outlines of the peaks, but the rippled water distorts the perfection of the real mountain.

Screenshot 2015-02-13 at 11.10.34 PM

Today as I reflected on mountain reflections 😉 I thought about how the water is like my heart and the mountains are like the Lord and His perfect love. When my heart is hard like ice, I cannot reflect HIs love. When my heart is still and calm, I can reflect His love. And on the days when my heart quakes, it is harder to capture His love.

Have you felt that in your life as well?

Since a calm heart can make such a difference to a disciple of Christ who is trying her hardest, how can one learn to find and maintain a calm heart? Life is not calm. Here are three practical things that I do to stay calm inside.

  1. Pray- Nephi teaches that we must ‘pray always‘ and Christ tells the Nephites to “not cease to pray in their hearts.” When one of the children starts the howling whine that takes oh-so-much patience to stay calm, I just think some words to God, “Please help me stay calm…I’m going to need a lot of help here.” Or when I’m looking for his other shoe and school starts in 6 minutes, I say in my mind, “I really need this shoe! Please help me think of where to look for the shoe!” Thinking up to God during the day can’t take place of a solid morning and evening prayer, but they sure do help me throughout the day to stay calm!
  2. Unclench muscles- Sometimes when I feel so stressed, I realize that my body is acting out what I’m feeling. All my muscles are tight, especially my abs, shoulders and face. So I just make a point of breathing out to relax my abs, drop my shoulders to let that feeling of tightness leave and relax my face muscles. Such a small thing, but then I can regain control.
  3. Talk to yourself! As Hermoine tells Harry Potter, “Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.” (Chamber of Secrets) Maybe I’m the only one, but someone is constantly ‘talking’ on the stage of my mind. Sometimes I hear thoughts that lead me down a worthless road, “Nobody helps you, you have to clean everything. No one even notices what you are doing.” Hello self-pity. Sometimes I hear a thoughts that tells me just what to do to fix the problem (my attitude!), “Joseph spends his life working alongside you. He just cleaned the whole garage (#truestory). And being noticed is over-rated.” I’ve oberserved that whichever voice I give my attention to, wins. See below:


(a little off topic…but that is the story I think of when the voices start up so I thought I’d share. anyway!)

What do you do to stay calm? I’m convinced that any effort we put into staying calm comes back one-hundred -fold in our relationship with the Divine. A still heart can reflect the Lord!

Thanks for studying with me today!

Screenshot 2015-01-01 at 11.13.42 PMLara


S: (Prayer/Ask) What do the scriptures teach about how my heart affects my relationship with the Lord?

M: (Study)

  • The Psalm of Nephi makes this point perfectly– He feels how his ‘weeping’ heart keeps him from being close to the Lord.

if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?….Awake, my soul!…Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. (2 Nephi 4:26-28)

  • Jesus pleads with his disciples:  (who, from a mortal perspective, might have every reason to have a troubled heart…)

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1)

  • In October General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott first teaches how happy and sad feelings first came into the hearts of man. Then, the following line is from later in his talk when he addresses the ‘exercises’ we must do in order for Christ’s power to be in our lives. I know Christ’s power in our lives is manifest by a calm heart in not-calm times!

The Fall made possible in our lives feelings of both happiness and sadness. We are able to understand peace because we feel turmoil….

Despite all of the negative challenges we have in life, we must take time to actively exercise our faith. Such exercise invites the positive, faith-filled power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives.

  • I love this little line from 1 Samuel. What do you think ‘preparing your heart’ could entail?

…prepare your hearts unto the Lord. (1 Samuel 7:3)

O: (Ponder)

  • Do you feel like your heart is calm?
  • When do you feel like you learn more, when your heart is calm or when your heart is in turmoil?
  • Sometimes life throws situations at us that the idea of a calm heart is laughable-and impossible. What do you think God might expect a person in that kind of situation to do?
  • What does selfishness do to a calm heart? What about pride? Anger?

R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: What do the scriptures teach about how my heart affects my relationship with the Lord?)

  • In your scripture journal, write down a list of 5 things that send your heart on a trip to Anxiety Island. Being aware of what triggers turmoil in our heart can help brace ourselves against the storm when it inevitably will come.
  • Using the topical guide, find your favorite scripture with the word ‘heart’ in it. Copy it down into your scripture journal.

E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.

The Challenge: Next time you find yourself in a not-calm moment, step outside your emotion and say a prayer to feel how God wants you to feel.

click here for more information on s’more scripture study method

S'mores (4071) - BSP Assignment #206005

p.s. I did not take the beautiful photos of the mountains on my drive to school. I found ones on the internet that matched the images in my mind- iced over, still and rippled. Here are the links:



  1. Annette@FitnessPerks

    I loved this study today! And especially the thoughts about how/where are hearts are in relation to Deity & our relationship with Him.
    Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted…Valentines’ Weekend 2015 HighlightsMy Profile

    1. larabuckwalter (Post author)

      =) =) =)


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