By Quinn Nystrom, MS

Our brains, no matter what age we are, can sometimes be like an over-active toddler. We respond immediately to “shiny objects,” noises, and colorful stimulants so our attention is constantly being shifted from one thing to another.

If you’re five, that is completely normal behavior. If you are an adult trying to hold down a job or even complete tasks at home, these constant distractions make it a challenge to get anything done.

As much as we want our ducks in a row, our lives are often more like squirrels at a rave.

The sad fact is that we allow so much to crowd into our every waking moment, we’ve become immune to the beauty and guidance of subtle nudges, signs, and revelations.

We all need to slow down and just be for a few minutes. Sit outside, sip coffee and just soak up the sun and fresh air. Just hold a quiet space for 15-20 minutes and let our brain rest. Like that rambunctious toddler, we all need to learn to be still.

So what does being still look and feel like? Unlike what the phrase implies being still is not like playing a game of Freeze Tag where everyone goes into statue-mode when a teammate yells “freeze!”

To be still does mean to stop moving, but it also means to start observing. It means taking a break from the headlong rush of a day to just breathe and appreciate.

Here are a handful of ways we can all create some quiet space in our lives…even if it’s only for a few minutes:

  • Go with your heart: Find a quiet place to chill for a moment and put your hand over your heart. For a few minutes, listen and feel…really feel. Do you feel the comforting rhythm of your heartbeat? Take some time to feel that reassuring thump, thump, thump in your chest and in your hands. Knowing that your heart is beating means you’re still fighting and you’ve made it another day.
  • Snuggle with a Fur Child: Pets are one of the most appreciated means of slowing down and lowering our blood pressure. The act of stroking a four-legged friend can yield significant benefits including an increase in a brain hormone known to lower stress hormone levels, bringing about feelings of calm, trust and relaxation.
  • Create a Secret Garden-ish Place: Backyards and gardens can be a forgotten sanctuary that many take for granted. Since lavish vacations aren’t in most people’s budgets, create a happy place within your outdoor spaces that encourage the excuse to bird watch and feel the sun on your skin.
  • Learn the ways of Hygge: Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish word that means something along the lines of enjoying cozy intimacy and feeling content in the moment. It’s about celebrating daily habits that help us reconnect in a mindful way. Hygge is about “snuggling in” with a soft blanket, a cup of tea and your favorite music. All of which are amazing ways to find stillness for an hour…or two.

So today, I challenge you to just “Be Still” for a while.

I promise that if you do, you will notice and receive things you would have otherwise missed. And even if you step away from distractions, noise, and technology for a bit…I promise everything is still going to okay when you get back.

Go and take a break now. And enjoy!