Finding stillness starts within a simple question: When was the last time you totally unplugged?
I don’t mean secretly checking text messages under the table. I mean no email, no voicemail, no Facebook, no tweeting, no LinkedIn, no Wikipedia, no streaming Netflix, no Google, no YouTube, no nothing.
Technology is awesome and communication has never been so easily available and instantaneous. Yet this constant barrage of communication wears on us more than we know. It creates stress, worry, and anxiety. It can jumble our thoughts to the point there are more stimuli surrounding us than we can possibly respond to. Our brain begins to feel so overloaded that we are unable to think contemplatively or take action on anything at all, so we simply shut down.
“Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible,” Nicholas Carr told The New York Times. “But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.”
What does the word “stillness” mean in today’s environment of hyper-connectivity? I recently heard someone mention that stillness was one of her core values, and it really made me think.
For me, stillness means waking up early every morning before the hustle and bustle of my day begins and spending some quiet time doing the things that give me peace. I find stillness in prayer, gratitude, exercise, affirmations, meditation, hugging and kissing my wife, yoga, being in nature, and music.
These “stillness” activities are the antidote to stress, anxiety, and worry. When you make a conscious decision to start your day with these things, you will be pleased to find that your mindset is more positive. Your energy and enthusiasm will increase. You will be ready to tackle any and all challenges that surface during your day.
Here’s a challenge: Begin your day tomorrow in stillness. Wake up early, turn off your cell phone and remove all potential distractions. Be intentional about creating 15 to 30 minutes of stillness for yourself. If you can’t do this tomorrow, do it the next day.
You will be grateful that you did — and then keep doing it.
By Caleb Knecht