What if you just did nothing for a day?

2017-08-01T07:08:15+00:00 Anxiety tips, Research, Work & money|
mindfulness anxiety

“Look at that seagull doing stuff. He needs to chill out.”

 

Monday was a BIG day. I’m talking ‘UGE!’ (said in Trump voice).

GLAMOUR UK magazine published my feature on anxiety. And the response was phenomenal. So many beautiful souls shared their stories with me, and how they’re taking steps to make friends with their worried mind.

It’s why I started this blog. It’s what keeps me writing. And it’s what keeps me on track with my mental health, too.

Because, as I shared in the article:

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a community to manage mental health – and challenge misunderstandings. When we open up, share our struggles, and support others who are suffering, that’s when we get a grip on our anxiety, and accept it as another important part of ourselves. That’s how we make the beast bearable.

But because it was a big day, I was going at hyper-speed. Trying to keep up with all the tweets and likes and comments and shares and calls from mum and congratulations from friends. It was incredible. Amazing. Uplifting.

But it also brought me crashing down to Earth in the evening. And I developed a cold. I know right, poor me. *Cue eye roll*.

So yesterday, I did something I’ve never done before in my life.

I did nothing.

Actually nothing.

I switched off my phone.

I lay in bed watching Broadchurch and eating salted caramel ice cream.

When the sun came out, I walked to the park. But I didn’t do my usual march, headphones in listening to a podcast, ignoring my surroundings and on a mission to get to the park as quickly and efficiently as humanly possible.

Nope. I savoured every step. I listened as a leaf crunched under my shoe. Felt the soft breeze brush my cheek. Heard the bumble bee buzz by my ear. Felt the bushes scrape my fingers.

Then I sat in the sun, under a tree, for what felt like hours.

I drank in every sound, every scent, every sense in full colour. Sharp focus.

I was alert, present, still.

And I wasn’t anxious. Not one bit.

This is what they call mindfulness.

What happens when we do nothing?

When we do nothing, we’re not actually doing nothing.

Sometimes it seems that way. Especially to people who see us sitting in stillness under a tree.

But when we stop ‘doing’ and thinking, we actually gain a LOT.

We tune in to our consciousness.

We become completely, wholly, in sync with our surroundings. With the universe.

We realise this moment is all we have. The worries about the future and the regrets about the past don’t exist. Only this moment, right now, in stillness.

Time sort of slips away. It lengthens, stretches, to infinity.

With an idle mind, we’re free to see things for how they really are.

To see ourselves for who we really are.

To create.

To dream.

And science says we improve our heart health, our digestion, our mood and mental health, our immunity, and our nervous system.

We help our body heal. And protect itself against illness and disease. And dis-ease.

Those are some pretty incredible effects from doing ‘nothing’. Right?

Your turn!

I know not everyone has a whole day to devote to doing nothing.

But you can still get the same effects from taking just 5 to 10 minutes out of your day.

So here’s my challenge to you:

When you wake up — before you have a shower or turn on the kettle, or yell at your partner for leaving his towel on the floor — just do nothing.

Find a quiet spot. Sit comfortably in a chair. Rest your palms on your knees. Close your eyes (or keep them open if you have a nice view to look at). Take a few deep breaths. And then do nothing.

No guided meditation. No breathing exercise. No mantra.

Just sit in stillness and tune in to your surroundings. Feel yourself in space. Enjoy this moment.

You can even do this throughout your day. Just take a break from your work, go outside into nature or stay in your chair. And just. Do. Nothing.

Let me know how you go!

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