You have probably been around people who always seem to be in a rush. In fact, you may have been one of them at some point. But being busy all the time eventually takes its toll on you. You may increasingly feel frazzled, swamped, and likely stressed out. Knowing when to pause and soothe yourself can help you get through busy days without stressing yourself out. You can cultivate the Zen habit of stillness to regain your balance and equanimity amidst the busyness of life.
Two Ways of Cultivating Stillness
Stillness and the art of doing nothing are often perceived negatively. They are often associated with idleness or laziness. But nothing can be farther from the truth. Learning how to be still in a fast-pace environment is a form of self-care. It helps in maintaining your inner calm and balance so you can anything that life throws at you more effectively. You attain stillness by quieting your mind and body.
Meditation – Meditation is a cornerstone of many Zen habits. It is a powerful way of silencing the “monkey mind” as how Zen practitioners call the seemingly endless mental chatter. It is difficult to relax or fall asleep when your mind is busy thinking of so many things. Practicing how to still your mind allows you to get rid of unhelpful thoughts and enables you to achieve clarity in making decisions.
Keeping still – Your energy is not a limitless resource. You have to use it wisely and replenish it as quickly as you can. Being caught in the loop of busyness can be exhausting. Taking a pause from whatever it is that you are busy with is one way of stilling your body. Use the brief time not just to quiet yourself physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
Developing the Stillness Habit
Cultivating the stillness habit is not easy. You have to consistently practice it and make it part of your daily routines. The following are some strategies to help you develop the Zen habit of stillness and use it even while in the midst of stressful situations:
Begin the day by being still – Devote a few minutes to stillness before you officially start your day. Meditate, do breathing exercises, or simply be mindful while doing your normal activities.
Take a break – Pause or stop. Literally and figuratively. Schedule regular breaks for you to practice the stillness habit. It does not matter if you are neck-deep with responsibilities. Just stop, breathe, and be still. It is a great way to recharge instead of getting another strong dose of caffeine.
Be in the moment – Another great Zen life stress management technique is to be completely present in the moment. When you are in the now, you tend to focus on what is happening instead of the past or future. It helps in quieting down your “mind monkey”.
Mastering the Art of Silence
Many are uncomfortable with silence so much so that they fill the gaps with needless, empty chatter. But silence is a wonderful commodity, especially once you learn how to optimize it. It may seem difficult to find silence in the middle of chaos. But you do not have to add more noise to an already chaotic environment. Speak sparingly or if you only have something useful and meaningful to say. Otherwise, it is best to listen or step back to attain stillness.