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“When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Are you gearing up for the holiday season? Is your calendar starting to have less and less available white space on it? It’s the nature of this time of year — constant motion. We’re going here and there and scrambling to be on time and remember everything we’ve signed up to be a part of this season. If I had to think of one time of year that would best describe the opposite of stillness, it would be now.
Stillness isn’t easy to come by or often naturally occurring at the holidays. This means the responsibility lies with you. And since you are all you need to be, this is OK. It’s time to be aware of your own strength and abilities, and find the calming and healing in stillness.
Why Make Time for Stillness?
We live in a society where we often measure success by the amounts of money and power a person holds — that CEO position with a corner office and six-figure salary. We’ve grown into a culture that can be very uncomfortable with stillness and silence. Think about the last time you were in an elevator or on the metro, or even in a moment where you found you had completed everything on your to-do list. How did you feel? You may have felt restless, like you needed to fill the silence or were ready to move on to the next task.
Recent studies, some even from MIT and Harvard, pinpoint reasons why we should get comfortable with stillness and peace in our lives. Practicing stillness of body and mind:
- Provides stress relief
- Reduces anxiety and improves feelings of peace
- Increases productivity
- Improves focus and declutters your mind
- Helps you connect to your deeper self and tune out the “noise” of life
- Creates balance and centering in your life
- Increases compassion
- Helps you acknowledge your dreams, desires and abilities
- Improves your general awareness
How Do I Practice Stillness?
It’s not uncommon to realize you don’t know how to incorporate stillness and quiet into your life. As mentioned above, many of us are so used to the noise that we become uncomfortable with silence. Do you find yourself trying to fill it with mindless chatter and tasks? You’re not alone.
When in a state of stillness and quiet, our bodies have nowhere for our energy to go. It takes practice to still our minds and bodies comfortably, but gets easier over time. Practice brings rejuvenation and peace, and the positive effects seep into all aspects of your life. Over time, your mind and body will easily slip into those moments of stillness and feel the solace. When you can be still on the inside, the outside world seems far less noisy and distracting.
Reap the benefits of stillness and silence by trying one or more of these methods:
- Find a favorite, comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed. Start with just a few minutes of quiet and become actively aware of the sights, sounds and smells around you.
- Focus on your breathing and control it. This is the simplest form of meditation. As it becomes easier, try guided meditations, which you can find through apps, videos or downloads online.
- Choose a positive mantra to focus on for a few minutes while you sit and relax.
- Go outdoors and sit among nature simply observing. You might be surprised what you notice for the first time, no matter your age!
Try a few options to determine what feels most natural for you and will help you live more abundantly. Remember, it’s not selfish to take time for yourself. Centering yourself awakens your understanding and awareness of everything around you — from relationships to your career. Take those moments of stillness and realize they may hold just as much power as acing a presentation to your board of directors.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and board certified Focused Awareness Meditation Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.