Build Your Capacity for Stillness

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One helpful skill for coping with stress and overwhelm is learning how to be still so you can be attuned to the needs of your body. By tuning in to your physical and emotional needs, you are better able to figure out what you need in order to feel more calm and at peace. Do you need to take a walk? Do you need to take a deep breath? Do you need to talk with someone so you can relieve the pressure of the thoughts?

Sitting with stillness is a skill that requires practice and for some, requires gradually building capacity to tolerate stillness. Your capacity to sit with stillness may depend on a few things: your level of tolerance for discomfort, your life experiences, the messages you received in childhood about stillness, and your willingness to be vulnerable. Your capacity to sit with stillness may also depend on whether you have experienced a traumatic event at any point in your life.

Here are a few tips for building your capacity for stillness:

  • think in minutes not hours: consider how you might incorporate small moments of stillness in your day. You can start with setting a timer for 1 minute and work your way up to more minutes of stillness
  • think of comfort vs discomfort:” consider how you can be as comfortable as possible as you learn to be still. Find a comfortable place where you also feel safe to be still
  • think of what works for you as opposed to the latest trend: it’s easy to get lost in social media and compare yourself to what others are doing. Consider what will work for you as you practice being with stillness as opposed to what others are doing on social media
  • think of making this practice your own vs comparison: it’s not helpful to always compare yourself with someone who has more experience with stillness. Consider how you might make this a personal practice that meets your needs as opposed to overstretching yourself to embrace everything about someone else’s practice.

Here are a few journal prompts for you to consider as you build your capacity for stillness:

Take note of your experiences with stillness this week

~ Karisse C

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