[EXPERIMENT] Stillness

Stillness is the absence of movement or sound.

Can you remember a time when you stayed still for a moment, tuning into the present moment, aside from trying to go to sleep? How did it feel? Was your mind and body relaxed? Or was your mind buzzing with to dos, planning details, or ruminating over what happened throughout the day?

The idea of surrendering to stillness is counter-cultural to our fast paced, always on the go society. Multi-tasking is often the norm and we may feel that every second of the day is scheduled with an activity that needs to get done. In the midst of such busyness, many of us secretly long for a simpler life. One that reflects a slower pace, where we are able to relax and enjoy some peace of mind. We may fantasize about getting away from it all or leaving our responsibilities behind. But rather than retreating to a cabin in the woods or catching the next plane to a beachside villa, the real solution is to learn how to maintain a sense of inner peace while still living and participating in our busy world focused on achievement and success.

Shawn Achor, a Harvard research has demystified the notion that happiness comes after success… you know, thinking that, “The harder I work, the more successful I will be and the more successful I become, the happier I will be.” He encourages people to find simple practices that increase positivity because his research has proven that happiness is what creates long-term success. He states, “Your brain at positive is 31% more productive that negative, neutral, or stressed”.

You may be wondering what one of the simple practices that his research has proven to increase happiness? You guessed it, a stillness practice: meditation. Anchor says, “Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once. It allows our brains to focus on the task at hand.” This is why many companies and schools are now engaging in mindfulness, meditation, and other self-care practices that promote stillness. Some schools and companies even have Wellness Rooms with yoga mats, essential oils, and calming music to encourage people to take time to relax, reflect, and recharge throughout the day.

Have you heard the quote, “Stillness is a point of nothingness, yet is also everything.” or  “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” It turns out, science proves these quotes to be true:

Here’s what the research says:

  • Stillness gives you the ability to let things go more easily. The key to being in stillness is to not engage with any thoughts that come into your mind. This practice of letting go of thoughts carries over into your life in general. You learn the value of letting go of the things that aren’t working so you can create space for what will work.
  • Stillness enables you to hear your own intuition. When you practice stillness, you learn to silence external noises, which allows you to tap into your what is true for you.
  • Stillness increases listening skills. As you learn to listen and be more present, a natural by-product is you get better at listening to others, which leads to richer more rewarding relationships.
  • Stillness helps you sleep better. The general relaxed state achieved as a result of practicing stillness can help you fall asleep more easily and experience a more restful night’s sleep. 

In a busy world that is constantly changing, external peace is not always achievable, but you always have the option to achieve inner calm by creating pause. 

Your experiment is to practice stillness daily. Pick a time where you are able to sit or lie down for 10 minutes without any interruptions. You may want to schedule this time early in the morning before you start your day or at night when you return home.

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