It’s so easy to be highjacked by the constant flow of thoughts, the fast pace of busy lives, an overfull plate of commitments. And it’s so important to not give way to all of that, but to be in charge of how you navigate your world. To be able to step away from the constant activity and into the quiet peacefulness that is necessary for whole health and wellness.
How does one regain the inner quiet or maintain some form of balance during these times? Maybe you only have 5 or 10 minutes – great – start there. Begin to build ways to quiet your mind and to step into the peacefulness that is yours.
I encourage you to start with any of these ideas that sound appealing. None of them need to take long and there are great benefits in regularly engaging in quiet time. And, of course, studies show that taking breaks really does improve your work quality and productivity ... and everything else.
- Create a gap. Thinking, planning, worrying … there’s always something vying for attention, keeping us away from the experience of the Now moment. Create thought-free moments throughout your day to allow your mind to rest. How? Take (at least) 3 slow, deep breaths, letting your belly full expand as you inhale and naturally contract as you exhale; focus on your breath, nothing else.
- Stop … and listen. Let hearing be your primary sense for a bit. What do you hear when you really listen? What do you hear below the obvious noise? Just be curious.
- Step out into nature and engage your senses. Even if you can’t go for a walk right then, feel the wind, the sunshine or rain, smell the air, touch the trees, plants or ground, listen to the sounds. The Elements of nature are very healing and balancing.
- Check-in. How are you really feeling? Is an adjustment called for? What would be nourishing or nurturing to you? What is your heart calling for? Tending to your own needs keeps you fulfilled so that you can contribute from a place of fullness, not lack.
- Create a technology free time – no phone, no computer, no television. Maybe an hour, maybe a day or a weekend. Technology can be addicting in many ways and hard to let go of, but try it. As you move away from mass media programming and use your imagination, develop your interests and give yourself enough time to relax, you will find yourself wanting to express in some creative way, because that is who you are – a creative being with a need to express the kind of creativity that you usually suppress when busy or working.
- Try a bit of art. Before you deny any artistic ability, stop. It’s not about the end result; it’s about the process. Scientific studies have shown that art changes a person’s physiology and attitude. The body's physiology moves from stress to deep relaxation, from fear to creativity and inspiration. If you can draw a line and a circle you could try Zentangle which only requires a pencil and paper. Simple. Or, of course, you can jump into all kinds of art projects but I’m trying to keep things simple and easy to do in a few minutes.
- Or there’s dancing. Yes, you can. Especially in the privacy of your own home – dance & sing! Art and music create a different brain wave pattern which affects the autonomic nervous system, altering hormonal balance and brain neurotransmitters. Most songs are under 5 minutes long – enjoy a dance break! If you are at work, put on the headphones and imagine you are dancing.
- You can always blend a bit of singing and meditation for whole brain balance in a guided practice like this one: Sa Ta Na Ma (notice the hand positions too). I was introduced to this in a yoga class and love it but there are many options out there. Apparently there have been a lot of studies done on this particular one. Info & Directions
- Or simply be guided by a yoga nidra, which is a type of guided meditation. Here is one for releasing stress and tension if you'd like to try it. Info & Benefits of Nidras
You may find it useful to create an internal routine of centering yourself. Notice what instills peacefulness and calm in you and be sure to keep that as a high priority in your life. Begin to notice what causes you friction and then make an informed decision about it. Remove yourself or work with it.
Create gaps within your life that allows your inner voice to be heard, your insights to surface, your spirit to breathe. Give yourself the chance to experience the space between the thoughts and you will find yourself in a much happier place.