How to Find Moments of Stillness
Our modern lives don’t leave us much time to find stillness. Almost as soon as we wake up in the morning, we have places to be and things to do. Unfortunately, this busy lifestyle can take its toll.
It’s easy to dismiss stillness and quiet as a “luxury” that you don’t have time for. However, stillness is incredibly important for our mental and physical health. It can help you think clearly, de-stress, and take a breather before carrying on your day.
In this article, we’ll talk about exercises, stretches, and techniques to promote stillness, as well as why you should start creating moments of stillness for yourself.
Why Do You Need Calm Moments?
Try and think of a moment in your day when you’re not doing something. Even when you’re not working or caring for responsibilities, you’re probably watching TV, listening to music, playing games, exercising, and more.
Let’s be clear: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with filling your time with activities you enjoy. However, if every moment of your day is occupied with doing something or even several things at once, then you’re not taking time to be alone with yourself.
Does that sound scary? Good!
Stillness and calm meditation aren’t as jarring as you might expect. Also, the keyword here is “moment.” You don’t need to set aside long periods of time every day to be still. A moment or two will work just fine.
Stretches & Exercises That Promote Calm
Stretches and exercises help to promote calm and focus. Also, some of these stretches can help loosen up the muscles in your hands, wrists, and arms, which can be handy if you work at a desk.
Finding still moments in a workplace is always going to be difficult. However, if you set aside five minutes or so to do some stretches, chances are, your coworkers will leave you alone.
Of course, it goes without saying that vigorous, high-intensity exercise won’t promote calmness. This kind of exercise is certainly good for you and your body, but not during your stillness periods.
These exercises are light and easy, and you can incorporate some breathing exercises into your routine as well.
1. Fist Clenches
While sitting, place both hands loosely on your thighs, palms up. Make sure your hands, wrists, and forearms are relaxed.
Slowly clench your hands into fists, not too tightly. Lift your fists off your thighs, keeping your forearms on your legs. Your wrists should bend.
Hold this stretch for 5-15 seconds, then slowly relax and open your fist. You should feel a stretch while you’re doing this exercise, but you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort.
2. Prayer Stretches
It would be best if you did this exercise while standing. Put your palms together as if you were praying, with your hands in front of your face. Make sure your forearms are touching, all the way down to your elbow.
When you’re ready, gently move your elbows apart. Lower your hands as you do so, keeping your palms together.
Your wrists should bend, and you’ll feel a stretch. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds, then gently release and repeat.
3. Tennis Ball Squeeze
This exercise is good for building hand and wrist strength.
Take a tennis ball or any suitable ball, and squeeze firmly for 5-10 seconds. Stress balls are also good for this exercise. Keep in mind that you should feel pressure but no pain.
While you’re doing these exercises, try not to let your mind go crazy. Don’t think about chores, responsibilities, or work you need to get done afterward. Focus on your breathing and the exercise itself.
Paying close attention to our movements is a surefire way of getting our brain - and ourselves - to slow down and live in the moment.
You can also try out: A Meditation for Stress Relief
Tips for How to Practice A Stillness Meditation
Sitting still and being quiet doesn’t come naturally to all of us. It might take some practice. Try to see your meditation time as “me” time. Set aside time to be still.
1. Set a Timer
Setting an alarm is a good way to make sure you’re focused on the moment. Most of us don’t have hours to spend on meditation and stillness. So, it’s a good idea to decide exactly how much time you want to spend in stillness and set an alarm.
That way, you won’t need to check the time and worry about losing track of time. If you’ve planned to spend five minutes meditating, then you can relax and focus on the moment until your alarm goes off.
2. Eat Mindfully
We’ve all done it. Deadlines are looming, so we grab some junk food and eat it as we’re working. Or worse, we come home hungry and tired and eat our dinner (and dessert, and a snack) mindlessly in front of the TV.
If this becomes a habit, it can throw out our digestion and lead to overeating and anxiety. Set aside scheduled time for mealtimes and snacks. Don’t do anything else while you’re eating– not even watching TV.
Focus on your meal. Enjoy the flavors, and savor each bite. This can take a lot of practice, but it’s better for you in the long run.
3. Put Down Your Phone
You can absolutely use your phone and other technology to aid your meditation and to practice stillness. Apps, timers, and more can all be useful. However, our phones are also huge distractions.
Set aside time every day where you won’t check your phone. This could only be fifteen minutes or half an hour, depending on your schedule. Set your phone to a do-not-disturb setting, and go somewhere peaceful or focus on mindfulness.
How to Make Your Mind Still: Perfecting Your Skills
Practicing stillness is an art.
Like any skill, it takes time to learn how to be still and get the most of your quiet time. However, you’ll start to notice improvement very quickly. You can experience greater clarity of thought after some quiet time, as well as renewed energy and a newfound sense of peace.
Remember, nobody is going to make you take time to be still. This is something you need to do for yourself.
In fact, taking a few minutes to be still every day can help you in ways that you’d never imagined.
How will you take the time to practice stillness today?
Read next: Practice Being Calm All Day By Slowing Down