Do you feel busy and overwhelmed ALL the time? You're not alone.
With our increasing global connectedness and the fast-pace of technology, we are never really able to fully shut ourselves off. Looking back over the past hundred years, things used to move a lot more slowly. Seeds were planted, nuts and berries were gathered, the sun rose and set, and we were outside more often to marvel in its beauty.
So how can we find the time to shut down, tune out and turn in, amidst the chaos and constant barrage of information? How can we slow down, remember who we used to be, and reconnect to what matters most?
Here are three tips to help you find a quiet moment whenever you're feeling busy and overwhelmed:
1. Reconnect with nature.
Did you know that looking at a tree can instantly calm you down? The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems.
A recent study at the University of Oregon put employees from all levels in three different types of offices; some had a view of trees and a landscape, others looked at a building and parking lot, and a third group had no outside view at all. They found employees who were looking at trees and landscape took significantly LESS sick leave per year, when compared with employees with no view. They also found the quality of a person's view was the main predictor of absenteeism.
Even more fascinating, dynamic nature elicits the most positive physiological responses. This means if you look at a tree swaying in the wind, or watch water moving in a fountain, you will generate an even more positive response in your body.
So take a stroll outside and reconnect with nature if you're feeling overwhelmed at work, and you'll be sure to notice a quiet improvement!
2. Meditate for just five minutes a day.
Meditation can actually expand the grey matter in your brain, and allow you to become still and quiet. It also enhances creativity, increases your ability to focus and improves memory. Many people feel daunted by meditation because they either don’t like sitting in silence or can’t commit to finding twenty minutes a day to meditate.
If you’re new to meditation, you may find it easier to get started using guided meditations and committing to a practice for a shorter length of time. You could try a 30-Day meditation challenge for a 5 minute guided meditation, each morning for 30 days.
Creating a small change in one daily habit actually boosts self-esteem and gives you the confidence to keep creating more change. It takes at least twenty-one days to change a habit, and if you want to shift from feeling busy and overwhelmed to creating stillness and quiet, meditation is one of the most effective tools out there.
Committing to a meditation practice is a great way to encourage yourself to find a quiet moment every day, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time.
3. Practice feeling present with yourself.
A great way to find a quiet moment is to practice "presence" throughout your busy day. This is like a moving meditation that you can do with your eyes wide open. It involves becoming present to your current physical experience.
Try it right now by taking a moment, noticing the support of the chair underneath you. Feel the surface your hands are currently touching. Listen for any sounds in your environment and try to hear them as merely sounds rather than putting a judgment on them. Look around and appreciate the light, shadows and colors of the room you're in. Notice the rise and fall of your chest or belly as you are breathing right now. Tuning in to your senses — whether it's by looking, feeling, seeing or smelling — is a great tool for becoming present in the moment.
Doing this off and on throughout the day will lower your stress and anxiety and help you feel a deeper sense of calm.
I promise you that if you reconnect with nature, meditate and find quiet moments to become present throughout your day, you will feel more grounded and calm in the midst of the chaos that is modern life. Give it a try today!