12 February 2021

The benefits of creating moments of stillness in your day

peaceful woman sitting stil

The world can be a loud and stressful place. Sometimes we can truly benefit from carving out moments during the day for silence and stillness, where we can clear our thoughts and return to a more serene state of mind. Stillness can take many forms, from the practice of meditation to simply taking the time to sit outside in silence each day, doing nothing but breathe. Allowing ourselves to be still can also be advantageous for those in later life, just as much as for young people. From battling the stresses of finances to improving our physical health, this article discusses the benefits that stillness can bring. 

Reduce stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can affect us all and if left unresolved, it can have significant impacts on our mental health. So, taking the time to hit the pause button and clear your mind of the things that are causing you stress, can be a big help. Life coach Anissa, from the blog Living Incognito, knows all about the power of stillness to counteract stress:

“One of the most obvious benefits is that stillness helps you to separate the emotion from the thoughts. When you are having negative emotions, your mind defaults to fight/flight mode to try to keep you away from danger. When this kicks in, your body responds, and this can have devastating consequences on your mind AND body. Stillness counteracts this response and allows you to calm your mind and feel peace and less stress.”

Provide health benefits

man being quite and still

As we age, the state of our health becomes more pressing on our minds. While we can’t do anything to prevent the natural ageing process, utilising daily moments of stillness can provide some great health benefits, such as improving sleep, boosting energy levels, and even enhancing cognitive faculties.

Chantal, a meditation and mindfulness teacher from the website Unfold Your Freedom, has talked about how stillness has benefitted her own health since she started practising it: “Sitting in silence soothes your nervous system. I find I am less on edge, fidgety, and distracted. My moods have improved as have my bodily functions. And I sleep so well now which, of course, affects my decision making, memory, concentration, and retention of information. I feel rested and clear.”

So beyond getting your regular check-up with the doctor, daily exercise, and technology like installing stairlifts, consider finding a way to schedule moments each day where you take a break from the world and bask in your own stillness.

Refocus on what’s important

During the busy nature of everyday life, it can be easy to get bogged down in the little things, which in the moment, can seem very important, but in reality, do not matter all that much. But by implementing moments of stillness into your day, you can refocus on what truly matters, gain perspective, and put events in the past.

Speaking to us about the calming nature of stillness and how it can liberate us from a hectic life, psychologist Dr Gail Brenner said: “Taking time to be still and silent helps us to take a break from the busyness of our day. It's a form of self-care, where we stop the momentum of moving forward to get things done, and we let ourselves have the experience of resting in the present moment.”

After a frustrating situation, stressful morning, or upsetting interaction, retreat to a quiet place, close the door, and leave what happened in the past. Enjoy the calm that penetrates your body and soul and then come out of the experience with a peace that you can take into the rest of your day.  

Helps you to let things go

older woman meditating

The ultimate goal is to not need time outs in the day but to be able to let go of frustrations as and when they occur. This is something that stillness can help you with, training your mind to react to the stresses and annoyance of daily life. Part of being still is choosing not to engage with every thought that presents itself and this can ultimately transfer over to your everyday life. By letting go of your thoughts during stillness, in life you will become apt at letting go of whatever is holding you back or upsetting you. Learning to let go is a powerful thing, you can simply choose not to let certain things get you down and the negative emotions will disappear as quickly as they arrived.

Things become clearer

By taking regular moments to be still and enjoy silence, you ultimately are drawn into yourself, your own mind, allowing you to focus on your thoughts and how you feel. Many of us struggle to think clearly due to the hectic nature of the modern world, as we are bombarded with stimuli from every which direction, with everyone we come across telling us what to think and how to feel. As a result, it’s hardly a surprise that our thoughts become crowded and our mental state confused. But stillness can bring clarity, diminish confusion, by allowing those insights that are buried deep in your mind to surface.

How to practise stillness each day

As you can see, there are so many wonderful benefits of adding stillness to your day. Life Coach Makeda Pennycooke, knows the value of daily stillness, telling us that she thinks it’s a great idea, listing even more benefits such as the ability to handle adversity, anchoring you to the present, improved listening skills, better sleep, increased creativity, and the ability to hear your own inner wisdom.

Makeda also spoke to us about how to successfully implement stillness into your day: “Most people get overwhelmed at the idea of being in stillness because of the fear they won’t get everything done that needs doing. So, my advice is to start small:

  • Try one or two minutes initially. Set a timer if that would be helpful.
  • Turn off notifications on all devices.
  • Choose somewhere comfortable and then just sit. Eyes open or closed, it doesn’t matter.
  • Notice your thoughts as they come but try not to get attached to them. By that I mean, don’t follow the rabbit trail in your mind.
  • Instead, focus your attention on your breath. Notice as you inhale and exhale. Bringing your attention to your breath will help quiet that inner chatter.
  • When the time is up, take one more deep breath and continue on your day.

“Each time try to increase the time you are in stillness. There is no set number of minutes that is right because each person is different. What matters most is that you are doing the practice.”

Dr Gail Brenner also shared some advice on implementing stillness into your day, advising: “Just stopping and feeling the breath for a few minutes is a powerful way to relax. Take a slow, mindful walk in nature, noticing whatever you are experiencing through your senses. Reflect quietly on what you're grateful for, and feel the sense of gratitude in your body, mind, and heart.”

How can daily moments of stillness benefit us?

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Provide health benefits
  • Refocus on what’s important
  • Helps you to let things go
  • Things become clearer

These are just a handful of the many benefits that creating moments of stillness in each and every day can bring. If you feel like it would help you to take intervals throughout the day to be still, listening to nothing but silence itself, why not give it a go for a few minutes and see what you make of it? You never know, it might bring the change you have been looking for.

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