Look at your calendar; what did you do last week? Now think about all the other things that you did that are not on there, mommy/daddy/husband/wife stuff, errands, shopping, traffic, subway, TV, Facebook, TV, Facebook, a little sleep, TV, Facebook.
Chronically overscheduled is something I’m often guilty of too (although I’m getting better). But I’ve gotta tell you, when I look back over my life, my highest stress times, my times of utter mental/emotional chaos, are the times when I am missing one thing.
A moment of stillness.
And I don’t really mean a quiet moment with a cup of tea or coffee just sitting there thinking. A moment of stillness goes beyond that, it means mental quiet. For me and my always on always connected life, mental quiet is the hardest type of quiet to get.
Here’s what I do:
- Decide to do it, it never happens by accident.
- Pick my spot. There’s 2 spots that usually work well for me, a hot shower or a comfortable coffee shop.
- Focus. This is the hard work for me. I focus on one thing (for me it’s usually a scripture) and clear my mind, but when I do, it’s like my mind just gets noisier, with one idea or problem or solution after another jumping up and down for attention. So I beat them down with a mental 2×4 until they’re quiet.
- Nothing else. I don’t try to solve a problem, if I was praying about something, I don’t try to force an answer out of God, I purposefully think about nothing. The second I’m thinking about something the still moment is over.
It’s hard for me, because I’m usually going from thing to thing mentally, but it’s always worth it. Whether I can hold that state for 10 minutes or the kids bang on the door after 2, the benefits are awesome. Ideas come more freely, organization is (slightly) less painful, stress is greatly reduced, solutions come to me more quickly and I’m generally a much nicer guy.
If you’ve never just been still, try it and let me know how it goes. If you’re really good at being still on a regular basis, then please share your tips.