Be Still–The Practical Side

Last week I had the luxury of a few days off. I indulged in a glossy magazine as I often do on vacation and ended up reading a hilarious article on yoga. What I did not know until I reached the end of this fantastic piece is that it was written by a writer for the New York Times—a person who not only writes for the highly esteemed paper but also crafts and edits novels. She is also married and raising two young children. Needless to say she is busy—always working, always producing while at the same time trying to be present in every moment she spends with her family.

The article was mostly about yoga, but also talked about stillness, silence, emptying your mind, slowing down and resisting the urge to be productive. The reason I found the article so funny is that I relate well to the author. I have tried to take yoga a couple times and struggled the entire time. And I don’t mean I just struggled with the movements though that was certainly true. I had a difficult time slowing down, being still, tuning out random thoughts and emptying my mind. I even remember laughing at myself internally because it was so challenging to quiet my thoughts.

As a disclaimer, I must state that I value mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery, yoga, prayer and many other practices that promote feelings of calm, connection (to one’s self) and centeredness. However, I also understand that we are all hard-wired differently—meaning we come here with different levels of anxiety, different personalities, different ways of experiencing the world, etc. And what works for one person may not work for another. For example, I have a friend that tried a yoga class recently and he laughed the whole way through. It was not for him, but I give him credit for trying. I should also mention that he is an EXTREMELY energetic person with an almost frenetic personality. He owns one business, manages another and has his hand in several other projects, all while being a devoted husband and father. Yoga was not for him, but that does not mean there are not other outlets for him to explore slowing down, being still and reflecting.

I will speak more to the idea of mental stillness, silence, emptying your mind, slowing down and resisting the urge to be productive in the personal blog on this piece, but for now take inventory of your life. Are you able to slow down and be still? Can you sit for more than 5 minutes while doing nothing but breathing or reflecting? Are you able to resist the urge to be productive ALL of the time? Do you have regular down time that involves relaxation? Do your thoughts constantly race or are you able to control them?

If you wrestle with slowing down, being still, quieting your mind or managing anxiety an Orlando licensed mental health counselor can help. She can help you identify your needs and the coping skills best suited to your life and personality that will promote calm and quiet reflection leading to greater peace as well as higher levels of productivity. Don’t wait, call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to speak with a seasoned psychotherapist and learn tips to begin living your best life now.


Yolanda Brailey