The art of just being ~ a route to peace
Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Just think for a moment …… are you a human ‘being’ or a human ‘doing’?
In todays busy world we are bombarded every waking moment; Traffic noise, TV, radio, social media, emails, phone calls, other people on their phones!! We travel, work and shop in close contact with other people and as a consequence in close proximity to their energy, good and bad! All of this can make us feel disconnected from ourselves.
When was the last time you just sat in silence? It can be very difficult to ‘escape’ the hubub and busyness of everyday life, we can feel selfish for giving ourselves time out or even keep busy on purpose because we are uncomfortable spending time with just our thoughts and feelings.
We can become addicted to the stress hormone adrenalin, referred to as the fight or flight hormone, the busier and often more stressed we become, the more adrenalin we release, this increases our anxiety levels (fight) and our need to be busy (flight) which releases more adrenalin – and it can quickly become a vicious circle. Eventually our bodies reach overload, our sleep patterns may become erratic and our immune system so depleted that we start to break down, Physically, Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually, we become ‘Dis-eased’. How many of us work like crazy only to be ill the moment we have a break!
Luckily at this time more than ever there are a plethora of wellbeing groups,activities and treatments that can help get us back in balance so we can be at ‘ease’. And it is great to have the support and guidance of others to help us on our journey to peace, and I urge you to go out and find the group or person that nurtures you and your soul. But it is even more important to develop our own ways of switching off and tuning out, that we can use and benefit from every day.
So here are just a few suggestions of ways to start ‘being’ rather then ‘doing’!
Bring some silence into your life: Has it become a habit to switch on the TV or radio when you aren’t really watching or listening to it? Your brain is still ‘listening’ and trying to process and react to the information it is receiving, be kind and give your brain a rest by turning the TV or radio off.
Take up a creative pastime: When we are doing something that requires us to focus totally on what we are doing we can only be in the present (mindfullness), we can’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. I used to do lots of dressmaking and remember how relaxing it was, like a form of meditation, there was no space for any other thoughts to cross my mind. Anything like sewing, painting, knitting, model making even doing jigsaws can quickly and easily take you into that mindful space.
Get out in nature: Whether its in a local park, woodland, the countryside, beach or our own garden, being outside in natural daylight is good for us, it boosts our bodies production of seratonin, the happy hormone, this helps lower our stress levels and if we combine being outside with exercise this benefits us even more by reducing adrenalin.
If you can go barefoot this is even better as it helps us connect to the earths energy, grounding us and helping us feel present.
Take the time to look around you: How often do really notice what we are seeing as we go about our daily lives? There is a saying I love “Notice what you notice…...then notice the details of what you notice”. If you travel the same route to work everyday start to notice whats around you, perhaps a particular tree, really look at it, its shape & size, become aware of how it changes daily. Or perhaps look for something different everyday, again by focusing we are being present in the now. If you have ever been to the beach and just watched the waves you will know how quickly you feel relaxed and the mental chatter slows down or even stops completley.
Breathe: Breathing is something we do automatically thousands of times a day, but the way we breath can have a dramatic effect on our body and emotions. When we get anxious about something thats actually happening or some imagined scenario we start to breathe with short rapid breaths, this triggers our brain to go into fight or flight and release adrenalin, this adrenalin quickens our heart rate and our breathing, it’s that viscious circle again! Conciously become aware of how you are breathing in different situations and when you feel yourself getting stressed or agitated by a situation, even one in your own imagination start taking some slow deep breaths; if you watch how a new baby breathes as they breathe in their belly will expand and as they exhale the belly flattens, they are actually using their diaphragm to pull air into their lungs, a lot of us have forgotten how to breathe like this and only take shallow breaths into our lungs by expanding our rib cage. So practice now, perhaps putting your hand on your belly and with every in breath in slowly getting a nice fat ‘Buddha’ belly, holding for a few seconds and as you breathe out slowly using your diaphragm and tummy muscles to push the air out of your lungs. It will feel strange at first, but notice whilst you’ve been practicing you haven’t been able to think about anything else! Slow deep breaths tell your brain and body that everything is ok, they can relax and become calm so very quickly produces this state, with the increased oxygen in our sytem from the deep breathing we are also able to think more clearly and make more rational decisions. The great thing about this techique is you can do it absolutley anywhere at any time and you’ve always got it with you! And if you combine it with a smile you can’t help but feel more peaceful.
Smile & laugh: The brain and body does not differeniate between real and pretend (or imagined), pretending to smile and laugh triggers our brain and body to release oxytocin, this produces feelings of wellbeing, relaxation, pain relief and actively reduces the adrenalin on our system so reducing stress. Either pretending or actually doing something also creates new nueral pathways in our brains, rewiring them to act in the new way we want, so the more we smile and laugh the easier we will find it to laugh and smile and the more we will feel the benefits! How cool is that? Also it not only does us good, if we smile at someone else it makes them feel good too and they will then pass on the feeling!
Enjoy the ‘enforced’ time out: Stuck in a traffic jam, long queue at the shop, having to wait for the next train or an appointment….how do you normally react? If you feel yourself getting agitated, take some slow deep breaths, straight away you will feel calmer, if there’s nothing you can do to change the situation decide to make the most of it, look around and ‘notice what you notice’, smile at someone and brighten their day. Appreciate how lucky you are to have these few moments to slow down during your busy day!
Peace, like happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey, some days will be better than others, but whatever happens enjoy it and be open to every new experience that presents itself. The more you align your energy to that of peace the more peace you will attract into your life, no longer a vicious circle of negative energy but a postive, empowering circle of energy.
At a recent retreat day we were invited to spend time outside in silence just observing what was around us, as I stood looking at a pond I felt inspired to jot down a few lines;
Like a pond
The raindrops of life;
sometimes soft, often hard,
creating ripples across the surface,
later mingling and dispersing.
The deluge reaching deeper, lasting longer -
stopping as quickly as it started.
The winds of change making waves,
moving the stagnant flow of flotsam from the surface.
But deep ………..deep within,
a solid stillness, steadfast, holding space,
bringing us back to the centre of being.
Learn to be like the pond.
We all have that stillness deep within us at our soul level, that place where we can find peace. I challenge you to find that peace, you won’t regret it!
Tracey Harley ~ Therapist
Passionate about re-connecting you to your infinite self.
Hypnosis & Regression Therapy, Inner Child Healing
Meditation, Energy Healing and Balancing
Laughter Yoga Leader