Do you feel as if your days are constantly filled with things to do, people to see and places to go?
We have so many distractions in our daily lives. They come from the external world as busy work schedules; responsibilities as parents, partners, citizens; even constant messages from digital devices and the traffic becomes a distraction. Our internal world can become a source of disturbance in the form of fear or worry. We are living in a world of constant chatter, noise and movement.
My last several weeks were a perfect example of how busy and distractive life can become. As often happens to us all, I unexpectedly became very busy. I suddenly found myself supporting friends who were dealing with a major unexpected traumatic event while work became incredibly busy. On top of that one of my daughter’s unexpectedly needed a new place to live, which concerned me greatly and the questions in my mind started buzzing; will she find a rental property she can afford? How will she move all her things? How can I help her? My other daughter was going through the struggles of being a new mom with a spirited child and also needed my support. And those were just few bigger things the week brought to me.
My world began spinning out of control.
While all of that was happening, I was still determined to maintain my normal routines such as quiet mornings, regular exercises, healthy eating etc. Well, you can imagine how that worked out. As days were passing by and my crazy schedule wasn’t easing up, I realized that I was becoming more and more affected by these unexpected distractions.
I knew I had to change something, but what!?
Since, I couldn’t change the external circumstances, I looked at changing my perception of them (not an easy thing to do). I had to accept that perhaps I won’t hit the gym as often as I wanted and that every meal I ate won’t be as healthy as I would like it to be. One thing that I wasn’t prepared to give up, was my time of stillness and silence or what some call “unplugging from life”. Why, because while recovering from the results of chronic stress, I discovered that to maintain balance in my busy life, I must find a way to counteract the busyness with stillness and silence. This is a crucial ingredient in calming my nervous system, that has been overstimulated by external events.
Finding stillness and silence in our stressful world is never easy.
Our reaction to stress is hard-wired, highly evolved, complex physiological process that has helped humans survive for millennia and breaking out from the long-maintained patterns takes time.
Fortunately, once we become aware of how our minds operate; how we become triggered by various stressors that puts us in a constant state of overstimulation, we can learn how to quiet those reactions, sooth our oversensitive nervous system and start reprograming our brain.
But how? That’s the million-dollar question.
Stillness and silence help us to stay connected to our inner self, to hear the quiet inner voice that helps us maintain a healthy perception on our life and quite frankly, can help us stay sane.
I will share with you how you can begin, but before I do that, I am going to give you few essential tips that you should always keep in mind and incorporate in your life as often as possible.
Here they are:
- Begin by taking small, consistent steps– not everything can be accomplished quickly, our mind and body need time to adjust to changes.
- Pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment in your mind, in your body and in your environment – you will begin noticing how your body reacts to the environment and how your mind can be triggered by what’s happening in your body.
- Approach this with an attitude of curiosity, kindness, patience and compassion towards yourself-we are often too hard on ourselves; it is time to soften the judgment.And last, the most important ingredient…
- Have fun with it – life is too short to take everything too seriously.
And now here is the juicy part of my blog
- Begin by finding few minutes a day to focus on your breath. Bringing oxygen into your body creates a calming sensation and pushes your body from elevated state of alertness into a calmer place.
- Consider removing any distractions for periods of your day. This can be done best, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. During this time unplug from the external world by not checking your electronic devices, turning off the TV and even not listening to music. Give yourself permission to just be with yourself. Remember my essential tips when you start!
- Get some fresh air. Go for a walk during your lunch break, take a walk in the park after work, watch the sunset. During that time pay attention to how the breeze feels on your skin, or what sounds your feet make as you walk. Don’t forget to breath and notice how it feels to take a deep, purposeful breath while in nature.
- Brew a cup of tea. It is not only soothing but stress-buster. Peppermint, chamomile, lavender or passionfruit tea can relieve anxiety, induce calmness, and support sleep.
- Discover the power of aromatherapy. Lavender, bergamot, jasmine, ylang, ylang and chamomile can help reduce tension and promote relaxation.
We are leaders in our own lives, in our health and well-being.
Finding stillness requires learning how to adapt to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual shifts that are taking place in our lives. When we approach this as an opportunity to experiment and even challenge our own BS (Believe Systems), our lives can prove to be fun and worth living.
I must confess, I was very skeptical at first about the effectiveness of these strategies.
However, while recovering from chronic stress and studying the physiology of stress, I was prepared to try anything. I used to call these strategies, “the fluffy stuff”, but when I allowed myself to give them a chance, I discovered how powerful they can be.
At first, it won’t be easy but if you choose to embrace the initial discomfort of stillness and silence over the familiar busyness and noise, you may discover rest and respite for your overstimulated nervous system and that’s when the magic can happen.
If you want to dive deeper, start rewiring your brain and build resiliency in your life, consider taking Stress Management And Resiliency Training-smartUBC https://healthytransitions.net/product/smartubc-mindfulness-training-community-classes/