I’m writing this on a rainy Friday in New York city, early afternoon – the perfect time for a nap. Some of you may not readily relate to the nap idea. You may find naps unproductive, a waste of time, an inherent impediment to leading a meaningful and fruitful life. Others of you may feel that your lifestyle or circumstances simply cannot afford such indulgence.
For those of you who finds naps unappealing and maybe even incompatible with your daily existence, please consider otherwise and read on. In this post, I’ll be explaining how resting (which could include napping), and actually doing less, not more, can optimize your health and well-being.
Many of us live our days and lives as if on a treadmill, keeping up the pace to a pre-set rate. We rarely get off to exhale, to rest, until the very end of the day. (I’m a recovering “doer” myself.)
Fact is, neither the mind nor the body was designed for non-stop activity. We’re more apt to function at our best like the local train, slowing down and stopping, pausing briefly, in between the stations of our day.
This pausing can have profound and transformative effects on our health. This pausing allows our bodymind to enter the state needed for relaxation, rejuvenation, and healing. It calms our nervous system. It turns on our physiologic toggle switches for getting well and staying well.
In fact, it affects all areas of our lives. This pausing releases our attachments to any thoughts and/or emotions that may be hindering us. It allows us to experience other states of consciousness that can offer us insights, inspiration, and answers. And this pausing cultivates being, more than doing. Doing less. Being more. And we can reap the fruits of doing less, allowing for more.
How to pause. How to cultivate the power of doing less. Cultivating stillness and mindfulness are ways to enable this pausing, this being more and doing less.
Mindfulness is simply about being here, now. Being in the moment with whatever you are doing, whatever is going on. Doing one thing at a time. Not multitasking.
Meditation is a practice in mindfulness. It you don’t have a daily practice, take a class, join a group, explore online resources for guided meditations.
And, speaking of online resources, going off-line can be helpful too. The speediness of our daily lives, the pace and immediacy of our connections to one another, with computers, the internet and cell phones, can challenge our experience of mindfulness….Of changing from the express train to the local. Of this stopping to pause.
If you’re like me, and you’re surrounded by quite a few of these communications devices, try experimenting with taking mini-breaks from them.
Pause before engaging. Turn your devices off when they’re usually on. Or don’t leave them “usually on” at all. Don’t always pick up the phone when it rings, or read the email when it appears in your inbox. Don’t reply right away. And even experiment with what a colleague of mine calls “electronic sundowns.” At the end of the day, when dusk arrives, and our planetary cycles offer us time for rest, turn off your electronic devices.
And see what happens….I guarantee you’ll find at least a little more peace of mind, and peace in body. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s available to you now, in this very moment. And you don’t even need to make time for a nap. It’s literally, only a pause and breath away.
A version of this post was published in The Planetary Gazette, published by TRS: www.trsincprofessionalsuite.com.