Do You Need More Stillness in Your Life?

rusty_blackbird

Rusty Blackbird
Observer: Josh Simons
Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Do you sometimes feel that your life is not your own? That you are caught up in a whirlwind of activities, spinning so fast that you can’t even slow down?

You need more stillness in your life.

Try these simple suggestions:

Focus

Focus

Photo courtesy of Cambodia4kids.org Beth Kanter.

“He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.” ―  Charles Dickens

Give up multi-tasking! You may have noticed that it’s emotionally draining, but do you know this … it’s not effective! Several studies have found that multitasking can actually result in us wasting around 20-40 percent of our time, depending on what we’re trying to do. The simple reason that multitasking doesn’t work is because we can’t actually focus on more than one task at a time.

Resolve instead to live a single-tasking life. “This is a life lived fully
in the moment, with a dedication to doing the best you can in anything you
do — whether that’s a work project or making green tea.” ―  Leo Babauta

Need some help with this one? See Susan Weinschenk‘s blog post 7 Strategies to Replace Multi-Tasking.

Five Senses

Five Senses

People have five senses. The five senses are hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching. Enjoy this tutorial from KIDCYBER: My Five Senses. [Sydenham, Shirley. & Thomas, Ron. My five senses [Online], Available:www.kidcyber.com.au (2001)]

How well do you use your five senses? If you slow down and focus, using all five senses to their full advantage, you will have a much greater appreciation of every single thing in your life.

One of the first things I must do each morning is to take my two doggies outside. This is a great start to my day, because it’s an opportunity to wake up my senses. I hear the birds chirping, smell the fresh air, feel the breeze. If I’m lucky, I might catch a whiff of some flowers, smell freshly mown grass, or perhaps experience that delicious scent after a rain shower. I usually will close my eyes for a few moments, in order to better focus on the other senses. Then, with eyes wide open and all senses on alert, I take in whatever is before me: birds gathering at a feeder, a squirrel or bunny, the laughter of children playing next door.

If you have a dog, you know what good examples they set for us humans. And, when it comes to making the best use of the senses, no other species does it better!

Mindfulness Matters

Tillie Misses Nothing!
Photo by Michele O’Connor.

Silence

Silence

Silence is healing. I know that there are is a lot of ‘meditation music’ around, but nothing beats simple silence. Otherwise the music or sounds on the tape just drown out the chatter in your mind. When we sit in silence we actually get to experience what our mind is doing. There is steadiness and calmness that comes from sitting in silence. In time outer and inner silence meet and you come to rest in the moment. ―  Mary Jaksch

 

There is a point where in the mystery of existence contradictions meet; where movement is not all movement and stillness is not all stillness; where the idea and the form, the within and the without, are united; where infinite becomes finite, yet not. ―  Rabindranath Tagore

 

Nature

stillness

Stillness

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.” ―   Anne Frank

Why does interacting with nature work? According to Attention Restoration Theory (ART), as theorized by Professor Stephen Kaplan, environments that are rich with inherently fascinating stimuli (e.g., sunsets) invoke attention modestly, allowing focused-attention mechanisms a chance to replenish. That is, the requirement for focused-attention in such environments is minimized, and attention is typically captured automatically by features of the environment itself. So, the logic is that after an interaction with natural environments, one is able to perform better on tasks that depend on focused-attention abilities. ― Communing with nature can recharge your creativity, study finds

I suggest that you spend as much time outdoors as possible. Take a walk in natural surroundings every chance you get. What a wonderful way to experience stillness!

The Breath

Be aware of your breath. Be aware of the way you breathe. Learn and practice controlled breathing.

Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders. Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. ―   Andrew Weil, M.D.

Dr. Weil recommends three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels:  Three Breathing Exercises.

Digital Technology Detox

Okay, I admit it … I’ve now wasted several hours of a perfectly gorgeous day! It started with checking my personal email for a particular response; the response I was looking for was not there, but there was an email from my friend Joan. Joan’s email includes a link to Sharon Friends of Conservation, so I went there next. While there, I discovered the perfect photo for this post.  Now, a good hour later, I have not only inserted the photo, but I am continuing to work on this post! Now, I love blogging, and hope that this post will be of value to our readers, but meanwhile, the day is kind of getting away from me (again!).

I just finished reading  7 Tips for a Technology Detox by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., published on Psycholgy Today. I am zeroing in on number 3:

3. Don’t Just Reduce or Remove. Replace, Too.

When you decide to stop doing something you enjoy, you create a void. Whatever you were doing filled some sort of need, and ceasing that activity will cause that need to resurface. If you don’t fill that need, that void, with something else, it’s going to feel like an enormous black hole. Be proactive; as you decide what you’re going to reduce, determine something positive, healthy, and uplifting you’re going to replace it with.

I am, right now, going to stop blogging. I’ll resist the impulse to finish up this post. I’ll replace blogging with walking.M two sweet doggies will love me for it.

Solitude

Hovering Around The Sun is an excellent article on the subject of solitude.The author explains why it can be uncomfortable to “sit with ourselves,” why we should do it anyway, and how to do it. The first paragraph is below.

It’s funny to imagine our lives as something we spend a lot of time avoiding, because it seems like that would be impossible to do. Our lives consist of everything we engage in, from showering to sleeping, but also a lot of busy work that distracts us and keeps us from looking at our lives. Experiencing our life from the inside means taking time each day to simply be alone and quiet in the presence of our soul. Many of us are so out of practice that it’s almost unnerving to have a moment to ourselves. As a result, we may have stopped trying to carve out that time to take a seat at the center of our lives.

Read the full article here: Hovering Around The Sun.

For Further Exploration

focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction by Leo Babauta

Poems About Stillness

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann
Read excerpts here: Moving Into Stillness, The Book.

Your Turn

I sincerely hope that this post will be of some help to you.

I am always delighted to hear your ideas. Have you found ways to bring more stillness into your life? Please do share with me and all who visit this post on Ahh The Simple Life!

5 thoughts on “Do You Need More Stillness in Your Life?

  1. I’ve been thinking lately that I eat too much while too much of the world eats too little. Thank you, Carol, for the reminder about eating less as a way to help the world. I also plan to shop farmers’ markets as much as possible this year.

  2. Pingback: Simple Sunday – 12 | The Joy Of Simple

  3. Pingback: Simple Sunday – 12 | The Joy Of Simple

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