In our hyper-connected world, it’s easy to push our human need for peace to the back-burner. But a well-being practice isn’t just about active mindfulness; it’s also about embracing stillness.
It seems like 2023 began with a burst of energy. There are taxes to be filed, programs to be assessed, momentum and lift achieved. In the hustle and bustle of what has become an exhilarating and exhausting year, we have the opportunity to find power and purpose in stillness.
The health benefits of being still and resting are indisputable. Studies and books have shown the power of the pause can increase memory function, relieve stress and regulate core body metrics like blood pressure. For teams, stillness can create the opportunity for ideation, better problem solving and reduction of burnout.
Knowing that there are significant benefits to be achieved through stillness, here are some ways to begin incorporating the power of the pause into your life:
Find internal stillness and breathe
Being a source of calm has automatic impacts on your surroundings and the people who are reacting around you. Taking slow, deep breaths can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and slow your heart rate. Stillness can be infectious as you change the tone and tempo in your life.
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Slow down purposefully
Reducing the rate at which a meeting is paced can impact the effectiveness of the meeting and the ability of those present to think and meaningfully contribute. Even something as minor as reducing the speed of your speech has positive effects on overall health and productivity.
Make stillness part of the plan
We all know that there is a greater chance of success by planning for it. Setting your schedule to incorporate stillness as part of the routine in your calendar means you are more likely to have the time and capacity to regularly incorporate a practice. Keep the time for stillness sacred and don’t overbook yourself or let the time go as if it is not a priority.
Listen to music to help open creative pathways
Music feeds the soul and changes the mood. In the same way that you might choose an extra-peppy song for the gym or something joyful to dance to when you are happy, plan for songs of stillness. This may be some calming music that makes you feel relaxed or some sounds of nature. Whatever gets you in the mood to be still also can help to promote success.
Repeating calming mantras
In general, we know that mantras of any sort have psychological benefits, such as improving attention and changing your mood. Mantras focus the mind on the topic at hand, and repetition leads to a higher likelihood of positive outcome. Ancient mantras were often repeated in cycles 108 times. That predictability and focus can help to incorporate the stillness into your life.
Reject chaos and distraction
The world can be full of uncertainty and chaos. While this is a fact of modern life, it doesn’t need to be the ruling force of every day. We know that change is inevitable in compliance and risk. What doesn’t have to be inevitable is our reaction to the changes in the world and in our profession. Radical acceptance of change means that there will be less chaos associated with it and fewer distractions and misspent energy to cloud the stillness.
While stillness isn’t a new concept, it is harder and harder to come by in our media-rich, always-on lifestyle. Getting back to basics and incorporating some stillness for yourself and your team will pay back dividends in great resilience and happiness.