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An Invitation to Quiet the Mind

In the US alone, billions are spent on stress related illnesses. People are running on empty without an end in sight.

I write this for my colleagues who have expressed how stressed and distracted they are these days. Work and life are pulling us in many different directions. The “to do” list seems to be endless. The mind and body race to keep up. You finish the day exhausted and spent.

As children, we learned how to take breaks. I can remember in Kindergarten, we’d spread our mats on the floor, and the teacher would lower the lights. After a fair amount of wiggling, the quiet finally came.

As we grew older, quiet-time was abandoned and replaced with days crammed with activities.

Maybe what we learned in Kindergarten is right — a quiet break in our busy day may be just what we need to stay energized and focused.

It may be just what we need to stop the addictive, head spinning, activity junky, electronic buzz behaviors that make us feel productive but probably aren’t.

Here’s a quick sequence to recharge, and find your moment of quiet. Use this sequence to transition from one activity to another so you can make better, conscious choices.

Settle into the Moment

Find a quiet place where you will be comfortable and not be disturbed. Consider setting a timer for 5-10 minutes so you don’t have to keep wondering what time it is. Either sit in a chair or on the floor; whichever is more comfortable.

Create an Even Rhythm with Your Breath

Breathe naturally in and out through your nostrils. To relieve tension, it sometimes helps to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

If it feels good, give your eyes a little rest, by softening your gaze or closing your eyes, turning your attention inward. See if you can relax your eye balls in the eye sockets.

Start to lengthen your inhalation inviting the breath down into the lower abdomen letting your belly expand. As you exhale, relax and release any tension.

Explore the Gap Between Your Thoughts

You may start to notice the mind chatter. It’s natural. Instead of talking back to yourself, to be quiet, invite the mind to quiet. Let the thoughts come without the need to address them, or stop them. See if you can put them in the background and continue to focus on your breath.

See if you can notice the transition between your inhalation and exhalation.

What happens if you pay attention more to the space between your thoughts versus the thoughts themselves?

Notice the Sweet Sensations of Awareness

As you breathe in, feel the earth ground and stabilize you. Notice the connection from the bottom of the spine up to the crown of your head.

A few more deep breaths. Let go, let it be.

You may notice that the oxygen you take in on the inhalation starts to feel clearer, fresher, and sweeter.

Transition Back into Your Day

When the timer goes off, slowly flutter your eyes open. Maybe a nice big stretch would feel good at this moment. Before jumping abruptly back into your day, take a moment to notice how you feel.

Before you get moving again identify the one or two key actions, those most important things you need to accomplish. Step back into your day with awareness and presence.

In just a few minutes of shifting your breath, you can shift your attitude and perception. By slowing down the breath, there is more opportunity to see the opportunities and solutions.