Rest is underrated

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When faced with indecision, boredom, stress, worry or major life choices, the last thing we do is to run for the meditation cushion and seek stillness. Instead we google, weigh up our options, talk to friends and research ad nauseam about what may be the right next step. Often the future concerns us – will my children do well, will I get that job, where is the money going to come from, where should I live, is there a better life somewhere else, am I liked? In the end we are sick and tired of our own ongoing inner dialogue but we don’t know where the off button is.

Another option is to do nothing, actively. Really. Try to sit in stillness, meditate, sleep a bit more, spend a day doing nothing productive or let someone else still you, like a yoga teacher in a class where you are forced to concentrate on postures and breathing instead of your inner radio. This may seem like the last thing you need or even want to, but it is quite the opposite. If you are new to meditation and don’t know how to begin, try a guided session. There are plenty of free online sources to suit all. Click here for guided meditations from Oxford University’s mindfulness project.

In our jazzy world, resting and tuning out is a sign of laziness and under achievement. If we are chilling out at home and log onto Facebook we see how busy and effective everyone else is. And how much fun they are having! Don’t buy it. Everyone has got their own route to go and only you can work out what works for you.

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Make it your mission to quiet your mind at least once a day. If that seems impossible to fit in then do it at the weekends. Set the timer, get up 30 min earlier and enjoy a quiet house. Or put on a good set of headphones and some relaxing nature sounds, a guided meditation or music that you don’t want to engage with. The music is not the thing, you not thinking is the thing. And why should you not think? Because our thinking is what stops us from actually listening to our intuition. And without intuition we lose our inner roadmap of what suits just us. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, a sort of childlike excitement when something feels just right?

But tapping into this resource is tricky when we are so busy worrying and sorting stuff out the conventional way. Travelling (buses, trains, planes – and not just to work) can help us disconnect with our everyday humdrum and feel life from a different perspective. Not faced with everyday minutiae we can see clearer what matters and where we may go next. It is almost like a meditation, you take a step out of your daily chatter to experience the gaps between the thoughts.

Whatever you have got going on for the next few weeks, try to fit in some quiet time, meditation or just plain resting. See if you can count to a minute without having a thought entering your mind. It’s harder than you think. Good luck and let me know where and how you get your stillness. Have a great week. x

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