STRESS – 5 STEPS TO STILLNESS by Nicky Clinch, writer at Counselling Directory
We live in a world that is moving at 150 miles an hour. There just always seems to be big changes occurring, more to process and more to do every day. Plus, with social media, the news, endless programmes to watch and the Internet, we are faced with the constant seduction of endless noise and stimulation. But even if it were to all stop, we then have the noise in our own minds to face, things to worry about, our stresses, what we need to be on top of, buy, sort, fix all playing on loop… it just feels endless right now. So, finding stillness at the heart of the storm is not only important, it is an absolute necessity. For our mental and emotional well-being. Our physical and energetic well-being. Our relationships. And our souls. Here are five steps to take to successfully create more stillness in your lives, in mind, body, heart and soul. Choose a time frame, whether that be two, three, five or seven days, then commit to it (of course, the longer the time frame, the more powerful, but take it one step at a time).
- Social media detox. The constant pull from social media to pick up our phones over and over again is utterly draining on our energy and nervous system. It completely pulls us out of the present moment. Delete all your social media apps and commit to a full detox. The first few days may be tough as you literally go through a withdrawal from all the dopamine hits, but once you get through the other side, you will find an absolute stillness that will be pure medicine.
- Mornings of breath and solitude. Having people around us all the time, even if we love them and get on, is exhausting and draining on our emotional and energetic systems. And the more drained we get, the noisier our minds can be and the easier we get emotionally triggered. Go to bed earlier and set the alarm to get up each morning before everyone else (yes, even the kids) and spend 10 minutes practising deep abdominal breathing. Lying on a yoga mat or sitting up, simply sit and breathe in for eight, and out for eight. Conscious breathing raises your oxygen intake creating a deeper sense of calm and spaciousness. Once you’re done just sit and BE in the stillness for as long as you can.
- Daily conscious walking. Go for a 20-minute walk every single day, with absolutely no stimulation or distraction. Leave your phone at home, with no music either, and if you can, go without a bag or purse. Then simply walk, making sure you are breathing full deep breaths in and out. Walk at a slow, leisurely pace and even allow yourself to not know where you’ll be going. Walking slows you down, grounds you in the present moment and helps you drop out of the mind and more embodied in your body.
- Be unavailable and do nothing. The pressure to please everyone, or even the pressure to not let anyone down, can be so strong. But using up all our precious time, space and energy doing too much for everyone else is a sure and fast way to create chaos both internally and externally for you. So, it’s time to be unavailable. Start saying no to everything that isn’t a 100% heartfelt yes. Only say yes to an invitation that literally makes you want to jump up and down with excitement. Everything else – say no. Say no to so much that your calendar is full of big spacious gaps of time. And then with that time, do nothing. Literally do nothing. Sit on the sofa and just watch the trees out the window or listen to the birds or watch your cat. Do not turn on the TV and read a book instead. You will slowly root more in the present, breathing deeper, and everything will become more still within you.
- Be in nature. This isn’t always possible for everyone, but if you can, get yourself to anywhere where there are trees. Go there every day and sit resting your back against a tree trunk. Close your eyes and simply rest. Trees are incredibly grounding and literally ooze stillness and being. They have such a healing ability to ground us into the present, soothe us somehow and deepen our breath. If all else fails, go sit with the trees.
Nicky Clinch is a maturation coach and facilitator, macrobiotic counsellor, life and health coach, conscious breathwork facilitator, spiritual mentor and author Nicky Clinch