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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Rakel

Lessons to 30: Practicing Being Still

Updated: Apr 16

Being mindful
Photo from Wired

Category: Mental Well-being

I’m guilty of being terrible at taking a moment to slow down. Recently I was at the osteopath and he asked me if I ever take the time to breathe. I told him earlier in the week, while I was driving, I turned off the music and did breath work. Other than that, then no, I don’t really take the time to breathe properly. I usually get there through meditation, but that too is an act I’ve become disconnected from.

Seeing as I’m so useless at using breathing as a technique to be still, I’ve found other methods to slow down. One of the most effective ones, is observing my dogs playing. My two French bulldogs (aka the gremlins/clowns) get spurts of immense energy during the day where they have very intense play fights. Instead of filming them on their escapades, I use their shenanigans as entertainment and as a moment to disconnect from worries and to-do lists.

Other tasks that I find useful in centring me/being still are

1. My morning and evening skin care routines. I take my time washing my face and applying serums.

2. Applying make up – no one gets to interrupt this ritual.

3. When I take public transport, I’ve stopped listening to music and looking on my phone as much as I used to. Instead, I look out the window and pay attention to passing scenery.

4. Post workout, I take off the headphones and focus on stretching and the breath. I find that after 40 minutes to an hour of listening to upbeat music, the “silence”/lack of bass blaring into my ears, is quite peaceful.

5. Sitting outside and simply looking at the view – I think many of us feel that to be productive, we must keep ourselves busy. Sitting outside and admiring the view then, doesn’t feel very productive. But I think it’s important to find these moments of peace where you can center yourself through stillness.

6. Going on long brisk walks. Never fails to put me in a better mood.

7. When I find myself in a waiting room, I try and take it as an opportunity to practice calmness. Instead of flicking through my phone to pass the time until my appointment starts or being annoyed if it’s running late, I try and just be calm and still...I’m not saying it always works, but sometimes, just staring at the wall in a waiting room does wonders for your mental capacity.

These are just my top ones, but there are of course many other methods. Drop a comment below and tell me what you like to do to centre yourself!

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