Be Still–The Personal Side

Ever heard of fight or flight? If you have ever experienced trauma you know that when people are in highly stressful situations they tend to fight, flight or freeze. I don’t have time to go into all of the science behind why some people fight and others run away or freeze, but “fight or flight” is a real phenomenon. When a person goes into fight, flight or freeze in a traumatizing situation the higher level reasoning part of their brain shuts off. The brain focuses on survival and nothing else. Even though for most of us daily life is not traumatizing per se, the stress and busyness of it can “dumb us down” to a certain degree. Daily life can be so consuming we don’t often have the time, luxury or ability to reflect, think creatively or explore new ways of thinking. We are “in the grind.”

I would like to suggest that when we take time to slow down, be still, quiet our minds and change our pace by resisting the urge to always be productive we invite creativity in and open the pathway to new ways of thinking. If we are going to be dynamic and evolve into the best versions of ourselves we must learn and hone our ability to be still, reflect and even relax.

Having said that I realize that people slow down, reflect and relax in different ways. They even practice mindfulness in different ways. That is what the author I spoke of in the practical piece on this blog was getting at. The author, like my friend I mentioned, has a very energetic, imaginative and somewhat disorganized mind. She herself said her mind is like a computer with a dozen tabs open she moves through constantly in no particular order. Yoga does not center her or help her reflect because she enjoys the flow of thoughts and does not like “emptying her mind.” She also does not like being physically still. Running clears her mind. When she runs she reflects on what is going well in her life and what can be better. And when she is finished running she jots her thoughts in a journal which helps her feel relaxed because she knows she has a plan. She is then able to open her mind to new ideas while resisting the urge to immediately produce.

I encourage you to think about your preferences. Were you born with what I call a “chill personality”? Are you naturally peaceful, introspective and reflective? How do you quiet your thoughts and slow down as that kind of person? Maybe you are the opposite of chill—always going, thinking, creating and imagining. How can you ground yourself? What can you do that you enjoy that will promote calm and help you empty or clear your mind?

Whatever you do “be still”, be true to yourself. If taking yoga is your favorite thing, do that. If it isn’t, don’t. And don’t feel bad about it. We are all unique personalities and the world would be boring if we were the same. At the same time, our planet needs all of its people to use their gifts and creativity so that the world and the people in it can flourish. So, slow down, be still, relax and resist the urge to be “on” all of the time so that creativity will blossom and you will discover new things. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

If you are facing a challenging life season and cannot figure out how to slow down, relax or take care of yourself a licensed therapist can help. She can help you take inventory of your life, explore your unique personality and create a plan to help you begin living your most fulfilling life now. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orlando mental health counselors.


Yolanda Brailey