We’re a few weeks into the new year — how are you doing? Hopefully, you’re keeping your New Year’s resolutions and finding help with stillness. If not, I want to share the power of being still with you.
Stillness is the nirvana that you feel when you’re completely at peace with yourself and the world around you.
After the holidays, it’s easy to get lost while getting back into the grind. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or still figuring things out, you may find yourself back in the same routine as last year. And if you’re in the US, the “workism” mode leaves little room for rest or reflection. But workism isn’t just an obsession with productivity — it’s a loss of identity as we silence our inner voice and the hum of autopilot resumes.
Whether your routine is a constant 9-5 grind or 18-hour workdays in entrepreneurial hustle-mode, stillness helps you make more space for yourself; your health, growth, and true desires!
Believe me; I know what it’s like to feel stuck. As a real estate and wealth advisor, my work falls into two of the most demanding industries. A few years back, I scoffed at the thought of meditating.
But why is stillness important for breaking free of the chains holding you back?
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that if I don’t put myself first, nobody will. That’s why I practice meditation for 20 minutes daily. Stillness helped me regain control of my life and make space for what I valued most. And that’s why I lead my Stillness to Success course: to help people like you learn about the benefits of stillness.
3 Ways to Embrace the Power of Being Still
So, how do you practice stillness? Today, I’ll share three actionable ways you can practice stillness in 2022. Come along for the ride – you’ll learn how to relax, reduce stress, and get to know yourself on a deeper level.
Take a deep breath. Ready? Keep reading.
1. First, Eliminate Distractions
Have you ever started working on a task, only to get caught in the whirlwind of news or Instagram notifications? We so easily let these distractions vacuum us away from the present.
What does it mean to practice stillness? You might assume that you need to be in a lotus position with Buddhist chants playing in the background. But the truth is, you can practice meditation and stillness even outside of your meditation practice. In your day-to-day life, that starts with being present.
When spending time with friends or loved ones, indulge your time, thoughts, and attention to those moments. When they speak, practice active listening instead of making to-do lists in your head about something unrelated.
If you’re working on a professional task, minimize distractions by rewarding yourself with breaks, turning off your phone notifications, and working in intervals.
Fun fact: some people even posit that subconsciously, we like distractions. It strays our thoughts away from something daunting or the fear of being alone with our thoughts. And it doesn’t help that some distractions like phone notifications release dopamine, a happy hormone.
I can think of something you’ll like even more than distractions: stillness. It takes practice, but once you find it, you’ll experience heightened mental clarity and peace.
So, from today on, when you want to focus on the moment:
- Turn off or silence your phone
- Practice active listening
- Set a timer for focused time and reward yourself with breaks
How else can you experience the power of being still?
2. Be More Playful and Embrace Your Inner Child
If you have the pleasure of being around children, you might notice a couple of things.
First, they don’t have as many opinions about how things should be; instead, they deal with what’s in front of them. Second, they’re more likely to immerse themselves in creativity and imagination, whether through art, conversation, or play, than we do as adults.
You could say that children exemplify stillness through their presence in every experience.
Here’s some news: that presence doesn’t have to die when you grow up. We adults all have an inner child that craves attention and nurturing and making time for playful activities helps us embrace our inner child.
What happened to going on a bike ride for the sake of enjoying it, spending an hour running in the backyard with your dog, or playing monopoly without worrying about tomorrow’s tasks?
I embrace my inner child when sailing across the Pacific Ocean. When I leave the marina and the misty breeze hits my face, I experience utter stillness and joy. The feeling is reminiscent of how I felt when I would play hide and seek or visit the playground as a child.
We’re never too old to embrace the present moment. Here’s how you can, too:
- Schedule time for things you enjoy but don’t prioritize as much as you’d like to.
- Brainstorm fun activities like coloring or crafts, a play session with your pet, a board game, roller skating, you name it.
- Be present and enjoy the activity the same way a child would – playfully, without any care in the world.
It’s amazing what happens when you release the pressure of adulthood and give yourself entirely to the joy of doing something you love. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!
3. Come Back to Your Breath
Through thick and thin, your breath is always there. It’s one of the only constants we experience in this world. Think about some of your most challenging times; your breath has helped you through them, even if you didn’t realize it at the moment.
You can practice stillness with your breath throughout any situation to reduce stress.
This year, come back to your breath when you feel overwhelmed. Instead of giving into your thoughts, practice one of the following breathing exercises.
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Pranayama is a controlled breathing technique from ancient India that’s proven to reduce stress and promote stillness; just practice the steps below.
- Inhale deeply for four seconds
- Hold it for seven seconds, then release it slowly for eight seconds.
- Repeat the cycle 4-5 times
Deep Belly Breathing
- Put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly
- As you breathe in, let your hand rise with the gentle force of your expanding belly
- Release your breath and let your belly deflate
- Repeat this a few times and deepen your breath with each inhale
Ready to Find Peace with Stillness?
Stillness is attainable even outside of meditation, and you can experience the power of being still with the tips I shared in this article. Whether it’s through embracing your inner child, eliminating distractions, or coming back to your breath – stillness awaits you every day, in any situation.
You might need a bit of practice to reap the benefits of stillness, but I promise you, the rewards are plenty.
If you want a head start on your stillness journey, my Stillness to Success course is your best next step. You can also sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page to learn more about how practicing stillness can transform your life from the inside out.
As you go about your week, remember this time-honored wisdom from Buddha: