Finding moments of stillness during a busy or stressful day may seem like a very tall demand, especially when you are feeling very task-driven or time-pressured, as many of us are these days.
There always seems to be so many things to do and most of us feel that there is never, ever enough time to do them all. The list never seems to end.
How can you possibly fit something else in? It feels as if even adding just one more task would result in absolute overload.
But that is exactly the point!
This is the time when you most need to step out of the constant pushing and pulling of the thousand and one things that need to be done or thought about and stressed over in the day.
Give yourself a breather… literally!
Stopping to take a few deep breaths is one of the best and most immediate things you can do to destress and restore balance. Try it now – right here, right at this moment. Just take a few long deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth…. 1….. 2…. 3. The body responds immediately. You will most likely feel a lightening of mood and an instant sense of letting go and relaxation. Just from that one simple act.
Giving yourself a break is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Without some kind of restoration point in your day-to-day life you are much more likely to drive your body into exhaustion. Doing this constantly will most likely, eventually result in some kind of physical, mental or emotional breakdown. Stress is known to be one of the key determinants of ill health and serious diseases, such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes and arthritis, to name just a few.
Relaxation and periods of calm reflection are as important to your health as diet and good exercise.
You wouldn’t drive a car without putting petrol, oil and water into it would you? You wouldn’t run a machine – such as a shredder or a saw – on high drive without giving it a rest, otherwise it would burn out.
In the same way, your body has certain essential requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for it to function properly and to be able to deliver on the tasks you are setting it and to not burn out.
One of the most important of these (after food and water of course) is the need for calm periods of restoration. Meditation provides the perfect opportunity for this. It doesn’t have to take up lots of your time. Even a few minutes spent taking in some slow deep breaths now and again can do absolute wonders for your well being. It can even make it easier to get everything done more smoothly and efficiently than if you continued to batttle on without any of the rest that you so essentially need.
Art of Meditation – Focus
With certain tasks it is even possible to meditate whilst you are doing them. Think of it as a kind of focusing practice.
Even something as simple as washing the dishes or tidying up can be turned into a calming and nurturing mindfulness exercise. All you need to do is bring all of your attention, all of your focus into the present moment of whatever it is that you are doing.
Let all other busy thoughts, about what you are going to do next, what your neighbour or brother, sister or spouse said this morning, what you heard on the news, who you need to phone next, etc etc simply drop, as you bring all of your attention to the present moment.
You are in a place of witnessing what is going on, from a place slightly removed from the actual events that are happening in and around you. So you are not lost in the constant stream of busy thoughts that take you away from your centred self. Instead you are starting to experience life from a place of stillness and calm.
This is very nurturing. You are coming from an inner centredness. You could say that you are in fact coming home to your true self and the good feelings that often comes with it verifies it to be so. You may feel some relief and a drop in feeling overwhelmed by all of the outside pressures. You may even find yourself opening up the pure fun and joy of light playing on water, rainbow reflections in the soap suds, the enjoyment of a sparkling clean plate ….
So, as I see it, you have a choice. You can let yourself be tossed around by the storm of mind chatter, let yourself be taken over by feeling the pressure of a constant stream of demands, feelings of overwhelm, of being unappreciated, stressed, agitated, exhausted ….. the list is endless …
Or you can ….. STOP …….. just enough to reorientate yourself to a different way of being and experiencing … even though the outside circumstances may not change … and START to really live the awesome ‘nowness’ of everything. If you can just ‘catch’ how that feels, even for a moment, you are then very likely to want more of it … and then, after that, it is simply a matter of practice… little by little … until it becomes second nature to you. Believe me, your whole life can turn around just from this one small change that you make to your life.
The biggest hurdle is in overcoming the resistance to making the decision to change from the inside out. We don’t like change and many of us prefer to stay in our old habits than run the risk of stepping into the unknown. We are happy with familiarity …. but at what cost?
The key to a life of vitality, joy and happiness is in the stillness. From the stillness arises a feeling of peace, acceptance and well-being that nothing on the outside can change. When you learn to cultivate this deep, infinite calm, to awaken to your true vibrant inner being, all stress dissolves, your body is nurtured, you begin to see and think more clearly and tasks become opportunities for play. You stop having any heavy emotional attachment to them, see things in a more balanced way and as a result you do not feel so drained. Life becomes much more like a game.
So lets go play!
Here are a few suggestions on how to get more joy in your life
Starting Right Now:
- Make the decision to be willing to start living your life with more joy and happiness.
- Take in 4, 5 or more deep breaths … in through the nose and sigh them out with the mouth.
- Take a moment to reflect on all of the things that bring joy in your life, that you are grateful for (let anything that comes up while you are doing this that you are not grateful for, just fall away, at least for the duration of this exercise)
- Spend more appreciative time with the people, pets and anything else that you love.
- Look for chances to breathe in fresh air and to connect with grass, plants, trees (or images of them)