Confession time. One of my most peaceful periods of life came immediately after March 2020. (I know…that’s not typically how conversations regarding that year start off). It was the first time I ever really felt the ongoing, constant expectations of the world come to a slight halt. The to-do list dwindled. The constant need to be in multiple places at once dwindled. And most important for me, the circling feelings of overwhelm dwindled.
However, I saw a noticeable struggle with many people who felt forced to sit in stillness for the first time. It was almost painful to watch. People were deterred from autopilot and sitting face-to-face with realities that were less than desired. There was an acknowledgement they hated their jobs (Great Resignation in full force), they didn’t like their romantic partners, and there was a noticeable lack of passion for the daily activities that consumed them.
Mental health providers struggled to meet demand as people sought support for challenges they could not ignore. There are a few commonalities to point out.
- People finally felt it was acceptable to seek support for mindset and mental health (honestly, it was the new norm).
- People were enduring significant distress from acknowledging their unfulfillment with their lives.
- People recognized a disconnect between the lives they lived and their authenticity.
- People began to prioritize themselves and no longer feared consequences of doing so.
- People were experiencing mindset challenges that exacerbated mental health challenges
What’s most important to note is that these pain points weren’t caused by the pandemic. They were highlighted from the stillness in the aftermath….and for many, there was struggle in this area. There was no running from the man in the mirror (cue MJ)!
However, the stillness of 2020 also provided opportunity for deeper personal connection and reflection. It created time to learn and prioritize values, better understand decision making
All of a sudden there was time for interest, hobbies, and personal development! The parking lot at Lowes looked like a Black Friday sale everyday of the week from the amount of people engaging in home renovation projects. People began surprising themselves with their levels of creativity and what they were capable of learning. And dare I say it? People began to feel free.
The benefits of practicing stillness are invaluable and include:
– Improved mental health
– More productive workdays
– Greater mindfulness
– Decreased stress
– A more spiritual life
– Deeper self exploration
There have been ongoing jokes about the dread of returning to “office culture” for many. However, work is only a portion of our lives. What about everyone who went back to engaging in everyday activities they hated again based on expectations. The people who still feel forced to look, think, present, and act in certain ways that often feel unsettling? What about the people who struggle with boundary setting and feel relief from not having to interact with family? The disconnect between lifestyle and mindset continues to be present.
Stillness is the ability to tune out the noise of life and connect with oneself. It’s a way to remove oneself from distractions, find focus, and be present. It’s a way to disconnect from the constant stream of thoughts running through our brain. It’s a way to reconnect with the self by removing ourselves from all external factors in order to connect with our true selves.
Learning how to be still is the most important thing because it helps us connect to ourselves. We need to find that stillness within ourselves and find it by stopping the day-to-day noise, just for a minute.
Oftentimes, we go through our days on auto pilot, never really stopping to appreciate what we’re doing or where we are. We constantly work on autopilot and never stop to smell the roses. It’s too easy to let life pass us by without living it in each moment and this is really sad.
I encourage you to make time for stillness and watch it change your life. If you would like support in this area, connect with me at Liberated Vision.