Silencing the noise in your head is more important the muting the noise in life. Seize Silence and Solitude for Emotional and Physical Health. The must do and never do again, remembrance and remorse, could’ve, would’ve, should’ve; gonna, betcha, wanna,are more ear-piercing and mind numbing than a New York City express train.
I made a decision recently that will have negative reverberations for years to come. Thankfully, it was not life threatening or even life-defining, but it will cause financial hardship for some time. I made the decision in an futile attempt to quiet one part of the chaos in my head. Tellingly, when I stilled my mind and body for a 20-minute sit down lunch (free from devices and companions), I reached a better conclusion. Unfortunately, I didn’t allow myself to stay in the place of self-assured, solitude, I head “head-first” back to the clamor and calamity. And, instead of the thoughtful, proactive decision; I reacted to outside stimuli and will suffer the consequences. Literally, an hour after all was said and done, I wondered what just happened and how did I allow it. All I had to do was act on the decision made in silence and not react to noise. Sound familiar???
!I would like to say this is the first time I reacted poorly, but it is not. My hope is that these impetuous decisions subside with better understanding of when and why I make them and how to reprogram approach to daily living.
I have to admit, grudgingly, that I have come to define myself by the amount of stress I can endure every day. If stress is the yardstick of my success, it stands to reason that some of the stressful situations are self-imposed – whew I stung. The need for speed is cultural, as modern women we are expected to do it all while maintaining a youthful glow. If you are not over-worked and wrought, you are judged and not too kindly. I have a friend who would start every conversation exacerbated: “I only have 5 minutes” was her regular greeting. I felt the need to express I too was time-strapped. I would reply” “I only have two.” Why the need to impress with stress??? If you ask someone about her day and she does not launch into a litany about how overwhelming it was, you think she is a slacker – and it may rub off on you.
Doing fewer better and with greater quality of life sounds pretty phenomenal to me.
Take a Time Out
There are apps for you to schedule cardio workout in your work day, which I use. Again, the doing of something. I want to schedule 5-minute intervals for solitude: shutdown and reboot. To actively disengage from talking, thinking, doing, even external listening. Just 5 minutes every hour or so, to silence my mind, body, and soul. Peace be Still. Call it meditation if you want. Meditation, for me, is still active at least until my mind quiets down – if ever. Assigning a label to something brings it own energy. Just press stop. Go “Ghost” for a few minutes to ground yourself.
I will be energized, focused, and deliberate afterwards. You may even find an elusive humor for the horrendous situation of the hour.
Don’t Sleep on Sleep
The long term effects of fewer than 7 hours of sleep on a consistent basis are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at risk. Science has linked poor slumber with all kinds of health problems, in the central nervous, digestive, and immune systems – to name a few.
A recent Washington State University study showed that sleep loss affects critical aspects of decision-making in high-stakes situations, When the study participants had been deprived of sleep, their brains were simply unable to process feedback from their actions and changing circumstances.
It’s pretty difficult to focus your attention on the task at hand — and therefore to get anything done at all — when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. A study published in December in the journal Trends in Neurosciences found that sleep and attention regulate each other “like yin and yang,” as they both come from a common brain function that allows us to selectively process some information, while ignoring most other sensory information in the environment.
My family history is such that we never valued sleep. I’ll sleep when I’m dead or no one ever died from a lack of sleep. You may not die from it, but you sure will not truly live without it.
Now, let’s have a moment of Silence.