5 Ways To Make Quiet Time, Your Time Your day is filled with distractions and chaos. Use these five tips to slow it down and hear the voice that matters most. BY SHARON M. RIVKIN, M.A., M.F.T.
Find some quiet time to reflect and gather your thoughts and feelings.
“ …internally driven resolutions come from a quiet, feeling state, where important messages come out of the stillness.”
As I was having my coffee one morning, with the fire blazing and Celine Dion playing in the background, I took a big sigh, a big breath, and thought to myself… "I need more moments like this."
Then I thought that if more of us, including myself, paid closer attention to those particular moments in our lives, we might hear the quiet message that those moments bring.
What did I conclude from what I felt on that morning? I needed to slow down and take more time for myself. This was a powerful moment because it made me realize that if I did slow down and take more time for myself, not only would I be a more balanced and less stressed person, but those around me would also benefit from this change.
This then made me reflect on the whole concept of creating resolutions—in particular the ones we half-heartedly make on New Years—and how most resolutions are task-oriented, rather than internally driven.
For example, most resolutions include losing weight, lowering blood pressure, exercising more, quitting smoking, stop drinking too much, etc. These are all tasks that don’t cause you to think or reflect… just do.
On the flip side, internally driven resolutions come from a quiet, feeling state, where important messages come out of the stillness. These are the messages that are full of information about you, and quite possibly what you should be doing to have a better life. And, if you think about it, having a better life will create more peace within yourself, a more healthy marriage, and a happier family.
Here are five ways to create stillness among the madness and busyness of our daily lives, in order to hear that little voice with a big message:
1. Walking to reflect. Most of us walk to lose weight and get our heart rate up, but have you ever thought to walk mindfully? This means noticing the flowers, the trees, the sound of water, the beautiful architecture, nature, birds, etc. By experiencing the beauty and feeling of the outdoors, it glides you into a more reflective state where your problems take a back seat and out-of-the-blue thoughts come to the forefront.
2. Journaling. The purpose of journaling is to write about your feelings and inner thoughts, uncensored, which help you uncover and release feelings that you may have not let surface because you’ve been so busy. Once you write down what you’re feeling, you may acknowledge what might really be going on under the surface, which grabs your attention leading you to make changes in your life, whatever they might be.
3. Meditating. The point of meditation is to quiet your mind from its constant chatter. The chatter makes things bigger and insurmountable, which causes more stress, more anxiety, and overwhelm. By quieting your mind on a consistent basis, it creates a cumulative calming effect in your daily life, which in turn, gives you more opportunities to reflect. It’s in those moments of reflection where you gain clarity and perspective.
4. Beautiful music. Music that touches the heart instantaneously calms you and smoothes out the daily turmoil. In fact, you almost forget that you have any problems when beautiful music touches your soul. We’ve all experienced the power of music, so we need to make listening to it more of a priority in our daily lives.
5. Share with your spouse. Sharing is different than talking—it’s part of that reflective process where you feel safe to reveal your thoughts, dreams, and feelings to your spouse. By doing so, communication gets more intimate and you feel closer with one another. In contrast to quieting your mind, this sharing and mutual feedback reflects back to you the information in a different way.
Just like the stillness of my morning experience showed me that I needed to slow down for myself, by using these five ways to create calm and quiet within, you too will be able to hear your inner voice above the daily noise and make significant changes in your life.
Also known as the "last ditch effort therapist," Sharon M. Rivkin, therapist and conflict resolution/affairs expert, is the author of "Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy" and developer of the First Argument Technique, a 3-step system that helps couples fix their relationships and understand why they fight. Her work has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Reader's Digest, Time.com, Yahoo!News.com, WebMD.com, and DrLaura.com. Sharon has appeared on TV, was quoted on The Insider TV show, and makes regular radio appearances nationwide. She has also appeared on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio and is the "Resident Shrink" on Coach Ron Tunick's radio show, The Business of Life, on KKZZ 1400AM. For more information, please visit her website at www.sharonrivkin.com.