Taking a moment out of your day to just sit still feels impossible. In most cases I bet it feels like a waste of time in our busy lifestyles. What is the use of standing still when life seems to zip by? My biggest challenge has been feeling that I HAVE TO take care of A, B and C right now. Otherwise, I will only have to work harder later at playing catching up.
We all though need this downtime. It actually could be called a “power” downtime. Apparently our minds are still quite active, even in this state of rest, according to a recent article on Yahoo! Health covering a publication from Perspectives on Psychological Science. It called the brain’s state of rest as its “default mode”. In this mode the brain is working along networks between various regions of the brain is doesn’t access while you are “engaged”.
I believe a lot of people count prayer or meditation time towards this default mode. These practices often push us to disentangle ourselves from our overloaded senses and focus inwards or introspectively. This encourages self-reflection, deeper thought and emotional health & maturity.
Yahoo! Health summarizes the benefits of this downtime this way,
…help you sharpen your thinking skills, make sense of your world, develop compassion and understanding, and protect your mental health…
It may seem impossible to carve out enough time to go offline, but I have found that taking a minute here and there to just get started is key. Consistency with this first step will comfortably guide you to incorporating this practice where it naturally fits within your day.
Keep with this practice of once in a while going on pause. It will do wonders for when you are actively engaged with the world. Some of the benefits I personally noticed very quickly were:
- more patience with others and myself
- less prone to simply react to situations around me
- more likely to remember to look beyond what is happening in front of me and recognize that something deeper may be at play. This is especially important with personal relationships.
Have you always struggle with taking a mental break? What are some of the challenges you face?
For those of you who do this as a regular part of your day, despite a demanding schedule, how have you overcame your challenges? What benefits have you seen?