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Busyness and Stillness: How to Adjust to a New Pace of Life for Health & Healing - By Tad Lusk, LPC

“When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world…Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and listen. No more is needed.”

Eckhart Tolle

Adjusting to a New Pace

Now, more than ever, we are being pushed to adjust to a new pace of life. Circumstances are calling us to slow down and embrace stillness. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced quarantine, physical distance, and staying at home many people are now adjusting to a slower, quieter pace of life. 

Of course the amazingly giving and hardworking front-line healthcare workers and essential industry personal are as busy as ever. 

But for a vast number of people around the world who are now spending more time at home, reality has temporarily shifted. The rhythms of daily life have changed dramatically.

You can choose to see either obstacles or opportunities in life. And personally, I believe this is a tremendous opportunity for inner exploration and growth. And as a very introverted person, I am all too happy to be spending lots of quiet time alone at home.

But if you’re more extroverted, or used to a more frantic pace of life full of activity, busyness and “doing,” this is probably a difficult adjustment.

In this blog, I’m going to help you with some strategies you can use every day to adjust to a slower pace and embrace stillness for your own health and healing.

Feeling Lost

As author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle eloquently points out in the quote above, it’s all too easy to become lost in the busyness of the world. And when this happens, you lose touch with yourself. I believe this is one factor that causes so many people to feel lost, empty, lacking, unhappy and dissatisfied.  

Maybe you’ve heard the popular phrase that you are a “human being, not a human doing.” The problem is, many people grew up (and still do) with the expectation that in order to be acceptable, you must achieve a certain amount and hit certain benchmarks.

When children get this message consistently, they develop the unhealthy belief that they must do and achieve in order to be loved. This can lead to a deep lack of self-worth, and hence, constant striving and seeking to gain approval in order to fill that sense of lack. 

Likewise, American culture tends to place a premium emphasis on external achievements and as a result, people become obsessed with busy activity to try achieve as much as possible. You “lose yourself in the world.” 

While there’s nothing “wrong” with being busy or having a lot to do, the problems arise if you are:

  • seeking your identity or self-worth through activities, acquisitions, accomplishments, status, etc.
  • damaging your health due to how much you’re doing
  • neglecting your quality of life because you never allow yourself the simple enjoyment of just being.

Do any of these points ring true for you? 

Finding Balance 

Busyness and stillness balance each other out. There are times for activity and effort, and times for stillness and rest. If you’re used to primarily being busy and active all the time, it’s likely a large source of unnecessary stress in your life. 

I once saw Elon Musk interviewed on a podcast. The interviewer was asking him about how his mind works, how he manages to accomplish everything that he does, and what it’s like to be inside his head. I thought Musk’s answer was striking: “I’m not sure you’d want to be me,” he said. “It’s very hard to turn it off.” He expressed how his mind seems to be always active, always working, and how draining that can be. 

It’s essential to seek balance between busyness and stillness in life because there are times when busy activity is called for, and times when stillness is needed to rest, heal, and get in touch with the deeper timeless aspects of yourself.

Now is a chance to learn how to “just be” and actually enjoy stillness. This can help you enjoy moments of peace and calm, and allow your body, mind, and spirit essential time for healing and regrowth.

So what does it look like to embrace stillness in your daily life? How do you adjust to a new pace of life?

I’ve included several suggestions below that will help you adjust to a new pace of life and embrace the many benefits of stillness. Try these practices consistently every day and notice any improvements in how you feel—physically, mentally and emotionally.

Try This… 

  • Go to a quiet place outside like a park and see what it’s like to simply sit and observe everything around you, as a calm, witnessing presence. Notice the sense of peace, spaciousness, and equanimity that starts to grow within you. 
  • Try sitting completely still for two minutes. Same as above, if your mind starts thinking ahead to all of the things you “should” be doing, just notice those thoughts, let them pass, and allow yourself to sit and do nothing for two minutes. It might feel unnatural at first. But it’s important to have these moments of pause to balance out all your activity, in order for stress not to build up. You can even set a timer if it helps you. 
  • Make sure to enjoy at least one moment of beauty each day this week. Notice something beautiful, even something simple. When you set an intention to do this, you might just be surprised at how much beauty is all around you, that you otherwise missed at times when you were rushing or distracted. It need only take a few minutes, but be there fully and take it all in. Appreciate and admire it. Notice the positive effect this has on your mood, outlook, and enjoyment of everyday life. 

If you missed it, check out my blog from last week, 4 Ways to Experience the Benefits of Mindfulness Right Now for even more practical tips to enjoy the benefits of mindful awareness in your every day life—a great way to adjust to a slower pace of life. 

Additionally, check out Quality vs. Quantity: How Slowing Down Can Transform Your Life for even more helpful tips on making this adjustment! 

How are you adjusting to spending time at home and slowing down? What do you like about it? What are the biggest challenges about it?

Please share your insights in the comments below! 

Finally, if you found this helpful, you will absolutely love my ebook The Stress Solution which will help you eliminate stress and clam your mind, no matter what’s happening in your life

Be Well, friends!

~ Tad

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