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What does it mean to get more stillness in your life?
Think about this. How many times do you find yourself getting stuck in your own head?
You keep jumping from one task to another, too busy to pause. When you do get a moment of lull, you seek distraction to avoid difficult thoughts & feelings. Technology and social media only make things worse.
It seems like a vicious spiral. Is there even a way out?
The answer I’ve found is in seeking stillness. Allowing a moment to ourselves to do nothing, to pause, to reflect, and to just be – this is what helps us find inner peace.
The process of being still is beautiful and daunting at the same time. But with practice, patience, and dedication, you will reap its benefits when the rest of us have become screen zombies.
Now I know what you’re thinking. I ain’t going to ask you to “meditate every day for 10 minutes” (although if you can – go for it!). Meditation is awesome. But it is not for everyone. And it is good to mix and match with other mindfulness activities.
Meditation is only one of the ways to get more stillness in your life. Here are 4 other ways to practice the art of just being:
1. 5-4-3-2-1 method for getting more stillness
I cannot meditate for more than 10 minutes to save my life. And I’d be lying if I said that those 10 minutes are always spent being present. So I’ve found an alternative.
This is a mindfulness technique to get your mind, body, and heart back into the present moment:
- Name 5 things you can see (laptop, mouse, charger, plant, water bottle)
- Name 4 things you can feel (cushion on back, chair on bottom, hair on back, feet on floor)
- Name 3 things you can hear (kids in the park, fan on the ceiling, typing on the keyboard)
- Name 2 things you can smell (new book, leftover tea)
- Name 1 thing you can taste (tea)
I always found this method to be immensely beneficial in bringing me back to the present moment. I employ this method especially when I am overwhelmed or stressed.
More often than not, practicing this mindfulness technique helps me tackle tasks with more ease and calmness.
Begin your mornings by practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Or practice this method in-between breaks you take from work. It’s a sure energy booster! It doesn’t need much time or much preparation. In fact, you can do a quickie right now. Go!
2. Using Technology For You, Not Against You
You won’t believe the biggest thing that has had an impact on the stillness I experience day-to-day: curating what I see on my email and social media.
Now, I don’t mean to say that the screen-free hiatus won’t be beneficial (they will surely be). But most of us have work and lives revolving around screens. They are impossible to escape for a long while.
That’s why instead of trying to get away from them, I tried to change how I use them.
I began to unfollow, mute, or block people on social media whose feed depleted my energy (you get into the practice of doing this guilt-free soon enough).
I began spending more time on wholesome websites like this one that helped me remember the bigger picture.
I got so into it that I began curating my own weekly newsletter full of wholesome art, poetry, and cute comics. I wanted to share a dose of stillness with the world.
This has by far been the biggest and most impactful change I’ve made to incorporate more stillness in my life.
3. Being alone (not lonely) till you reach stillness
Loneliness is a pandemic we were battling way before 2020. But the truth is all of us need quality alone time to become more still in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I despised spending any minute alone, but after I was forced to spend hours alone every single day, I realized this is just what I needed. Soon enough, loneliness converts to stillness For everyone.
Spending time alone (without devices or social media), even for a short while, can be tremendously helpful in self-reflection, happiness, and a fair evaluation of our own lives.
Regular quality time spent in solitude can make the biggest life-changing decisions come out of an almost enlightenment-like clarity.
It’s hard in the beginning. But so is any work worth doing. You can, with courage and strength, shut that door and just be with yourself.
4. Still-Time On Your Calendar
Look, I get it. You have a packed day with meetings to attend and errands to run. Who’s got the time to sit and be still?
But you’ve not got to find the time, you got to make the time.
Put it on your calendar, literally. Schedule a 15-minute time slot to just be still. In this time, you can meditate or have tea or do any of the above activities above, whatever you choose. Just block the time and show up for it.
It’s easy to scroll away your coffee or begin your day by replying to emails. But you can use that time to get a pocketful of stillness. Every little slot counts.
If you can’t make it 15-minutes, make it 5. The crucial part is making the time and showing up for that time. Make this time on your calendar is booked and non-negotiable.
Overcome that resistance and show up once every day.
Stillness is a valuable currency in today’s world. Despite working on a screen and despite being resistant to meditation, you can incorporate stillness into your life by the 3 methods mentioned above.
Remember to take your time. Stillness isn’t a 30-day challenge. You will slip and that’s okay. Get back up and begin compounding on your stillness habits again.
Hope this article was helpful for you to get a pocketful of stillness into your everyday life. I am always hunting for more realistic ideas to be still. Tell me your favorite ones in the comments below!
I like the grounding exercise you discuss. It is one of my favorite go-tos to ease anxiety. I like a lot of stillness in my life! Thnks for the suggestions. 🙂
Hi Debbie, there definitely are a lot of good points in this article. Rochi did a great job.
I love stillness. These are great tips! The first one is a great way to calm the nervous system through orienting to the environment.
Still, I think you could learn to meditate if you had the right teacher!
You’re probably right about the right teacher Sandra…whatever it is you would like to learn.
This is a very helpful article, Elle. I especially like your 5-4-3-2-1 method for getting more stillness. I like meditation as well, but I agree that it can be challenging to sit for a long period of time. These are wonderful alternatives.
Rochi certainly has some great ideas for us all Cathy.
Such a lovely post Elle! I think Rochi is an exceptional writer. She has shared some wonderful points in this post. Thank you!
So true Zeenat.