When was the last time you hit pause? Like, really hit pause? If you can’t remember, or answered that the last moment of mental stillness was maybe the five minute wait for the train… Then you would sadly be in the majority. Mental stillness is a luxury that can be enjoyed by all, no matter your schedule or commitments. You will see the benefits of mental stillness in all aspects of your life, and here is how you can start experiencing the joy.
Check-in with yourself
For many of us, checking in with ourselves might not be familiar territory, which is a sign you do not have the right tools. Gifting yourself a 2019 diary that will specifically call out your personal goals and self-care rituals will allow you to check in with yourself in a meaningful way. It’s incredible how much clearer things are when you put pen to paper. Suddenly, a lofty plan becomes a measurable checklist. Commit to the direction of the diary and make room for moments of mental stillness by scheduling it in. Capturing your self-care intentions in a diary will allow you to see when you have honoured these commitments, when you haven’t, and how you can change your daily pattern to facilitate these experiences.
Ok, you don’t need to be a yogi to meditate. Guided meditation can be enjoyed by everyone, whether it’s in your home or even behind a closed door in your office. Guided meditation is one of the more recognised ways to achieve mental stillness with participants seeking relief from anxiety and stress. There are several guided meditation apps and YouTube channels to get you started, so clear some time, whether it’s ten minutes or half an hour and find yourself in a comfortable position sitting or lying. It’s important that this time doesn’t become a time for you to run through all the things you have to do later, but instead try and concentrate on your breathing.
Too often we arrive home after a long or short walk, and we can’t quite recall passing those landmarks or crossing those bridges. Distractions have become too common in our lives, and the simple act of walking has us checking out and switching to autopilot. Incorporate mindful walking into your week by purposefully going for a walk in the morning or evening, or you can simply practise this on your routine route while getting from one point to another. Concentrate on the movement of your legs and how they make contact with the ground, your mind will wander but just acknowledge it and bring yourself back to being in that moment. When you are happy with your pace, start to take in the sounds around you, and then the smells, and finally hone in on the things you see around you. You might feel silly at first or like you are not achieving a mental stillness, but keep at it and before long your mind will make the transition into stillness as you commence your walking.
Social media detox
These three words may be hard to hear, and I assure you that they are even harder to do. Therein lies the reason to participate. The world will not end if you don’t look at the notification or see who is brunching where. Set yourself a timeframe and some preliminary rules and start your detox. Start with Monday to Thursday, no social media on your devices or computer. Delete the apps from your phone (your login details will be remembered but familiarize yourself just in case) to remove those unwanted alerts and notifications. You will find that lifting your eyes up about 30cm will open you up to things happening around you, and did we mention all the free time you will have on your hands? Use this recovered time to do something digital and phone-free that promotes mental stillness, like cooking a favourite meal, listening to music or doing a face mask or hair treatment.