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A Lifestyle Lesson for Being More Calm

On my journey living in an SUV, I’ve met many people who seem to know something I don’t. It’s as if they walk this world knowing they are safe, cared for, and at home in everything they do.

My guess is this is because those same people spend most of their time in nature, where it’s quiet and compatible with human cells and the human spirit.

I admire these people immensely and have learned many lessons from them in my brief time on the road – mainly that relaxation and remaining calm isn’t something you control, regulate, or do.

It’s something you receive.

To receive anything, we need to make space for it. We need to allow the clutter of the rest of life fade away to create a home in which relaxation and calm can settle into our lives. And once it arrives, it needs to be protected like anything else we hold dear.

Just like falling asleep or falling in love, you can’t control calm. It only comes when you’ve made it evident it will be at home in your arms.

The world is continually buzzing with things to do. Thanks to the internet, there’s never a shortage of work, we never run out of things to read, and there’s always an opportunity to admire others’ lives through the lens of social media.

Personally, I find it very challenging to create quiet within myself when I expose myself to the worries of the world. I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way), that if I’m going to create relaxation and rest, I need to first create a sanctuary for it.

Here are three lifestyle practices that can help you sink into your cells and make space for the relaxation so many of us crave.

SEE: Notice how jacked up you are most of the time.

I was listening to a recent podcast from Goop where Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Brad Falchuk, talked about turning fifty. As an admirer of Paltrow, I always perceived her as relatively calm and confident. However, she was brave and vulnerable in this podcast and revealed that she is actually quite stressed – sobbing in the tub because she is often overwhelmed.

I think many of us can empathize with this overwhelm, though I’m not sure many of us slow down long enough to feel it.

The first step to creating sanctuary for relaxation is to notice just how NOT relaxed we really are. Being stressed out and busy all the time isn’t normal. Pay attention to when you are.

STOP: Create little pauses in your day.

When we pause, we stop our mental and physical processes long enough to create a little breathing room. It’s in these breaths that rest sees a way into our lives.

If you’re not used to sitting in silence and don’t yet have a seated meditation practice, using the STOP method throughout the day is a good introduction.

Stop what you’re doing.

Take a breath.

Observe your body.

Proceed mindfully.

START: Protect your quiet time like your life depends on it.

Because it does.

Most disease and disorder that kills humans nowadays stems from overwhelm and unresolved stress. Just as we go grocery shopping, make dinner, sleep, and spend time with loved ones, we must create time and routine around rest.

Try taking at least 30 minutes to do NOTHING every single day.

That’s right… absolutely nothing.

You can do nothing while you’re in the tub, staring out a window, sitting in your car, or staring at the ceiling before you go to sleep.

In this scheduled nothingness, rest finds its sanctuary.

Schedule it every day and protect this time.

The more you do it, the easier it will become. And the easier it will become, the more you will crave it.

And once we’re hooked on quiet time, rest will be our best friend.

MAGIC MANTRA: Resting is as important as breathing.

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