Ponder your typical morning. Wake up, grab your phone, bathroom break, check notifications & emails, and off you go to start the day. Easily relatable?
As busy as we make our ourselves out to be (“Hey, how are you?” “Good, busy” – A statement I hear too often), we tend to forget the importance of stillness, to be apart from the hustle and bustle. It’s so easy nowadays to feel burnt out and drained from our daily duties and responsibilities. As much as many enjoy modern day “self care” (i.e. online shopping, pedicures, wining and dining), materialistic things only help in the short term. A quick fix (dopamine spike) to decompress, and then we’re back to a state of stress.
We are engrained in the idea that we need to always be and stay busy. And if we’re not, well, we get caught in the illusion that we’re wasting time. But the truth is, allowing yourself to pause throughout the day helps decrease stress and make us feel more in-tune to life. What’s the fun in life if it just passes us by?
Intentional stillness can be as simple as 5 minutes a day. The ultimate goal is to be able to give yourself a little time to sit still and to be mindful of the present moment. If I could provide any insight, it would be to make this time for yourself and make it a priority.
I lacked this practice for majority of my life. The second I woke up in the morning, the buzz began. I thought I was invincible, getting as much done in a day as I could to chalk it up as a productive, successful day. As I’ve gotten older, I realize it’s the ultimate self-sabotage. Slowly but surely, my history began to unfold. Throughout 2020, I’ve developed a true love & understanding for finding stillness in my day when I noticed I could not shut off my mind (especially at night) and old emotions/experiences (suppressed for years on end) popped up. And, when feelings of anxiety peaked and would not subside while tension oozed throughout my body, I knew I had to find an approach to tend to what was going on.
So, I gave myself space. I made room to stop in between constant movement and busy moments throughout my mornings, afternoons and nights to sit and feel. To observe and become aware of the present moment and all that comes with it. Let me tell you, this simple practice has transformed my perspective on what it means to be truly content, because when I’m not worrying about what happened yesterday or what’s going on tonight or in a week, I feel most alive.
Try this: Find a cozy spot in an upright position, and take a deep breath. Allow your thoughts to fade, and focus on what is in that moment. If thoughts arise, pause to notice, and let them flow (visualize a passing cloud in the sky). Bring yourself back to the present moment. Focus on your breath, in and out.
There will be days where stillness is easy, whereas other days it’s challenging (what’s going on in my life at that time always reflects the difficulty of my practice). But, the great thing is there is no right or wrong way of this because what DOES matter is a little dedication to your breath and finding time & space for this practice. The point is to not block out the mind chatter; realistically we can’t. The takeaway is to simply notice.
You can practice stillness anywhere. In bed, in your car, at your computer desk, in the corner of a room, while you’re waiting in the line at the grocery store, wherever feels best and right for you. My favorites are in my bed, on my yoga mat, on the back patio, and I’ve even taken solo trips to the beach to strengthen my practice in nature with the soothing sounds to accompany me.
Truth is, we all need a little time to ourselves, no distractions. Experiment with this idea: see how you spend your time by yourself. Are you social media scrolling when you’re bored at home & stuck in traffic or killing free time with another binge-worthy Netflix series? If so, you might need to rethink what you’re doing with what may feel like minuscule moments in the day, because believe or not, they are a big force in your life… more than you know.