Like many people, I’ve certainly missed holidays this last year. A time to relax and just ‘be’. But how much time ordinarily do we actually spend ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’?
I’ve noticed, during the pandemic, a number of people coming to me with a particular problem which they have had for years but which has become more ‘apparent’ during lockdown. As they’ve been ‘doing’ less, they are distracting themselves less and therefore can’t ignore the problem any more.
Why is it so few of us can sit and just be with no distractions? If we could, we’d stand a better chance of dealing with our challenges or emotions when they arise. But we distract ourselves. We push the emotions down and keep busy.
We all say we’re so busy and don’t have time just to ‘be’. But how much time do you spend watching tv, scrolling through your phone, looking at social media, reliving conversations in your head...?
Learning not to distract ourselves and to be present more and more often can help prevent that build up of ‘simmering below the surface’ emotions that may burst out at any moment!
How to just be
For some people 'just being' can feel alien. We are so used to keeping busy and when we have time to 'relax' we fill it with more things - watching the TV, doing the gardening and so on. But in these situations we are still 'doing'.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to sit and do nothing, perhaps try to build the 'just being' muscle slowly. Start with three minutes. Just sit somewhere quiet, set a timer and just be still. You can give your attention to what is going on externally - sounds you can hear or aromas you can smell. Or you can focus on the sensation of your breath - just noticing your chest rising and falling and the air coming in and out of your nostrils.
And then build up over time to going a little further within - notice how your body feels - notice any areas of tension or any emotions. The key here is just to observe without judging or trying to change whatever you notice.
The more regularly you practice this, the easier it gets.
By just 'sitting' with our physical or emotional sensations we give them a bit of space. We're no longer resisting them. And as the old saying goes; "what you resist persists".
By becoming aware of what we notice within ourselves we are allowing any sensations to be there and therefore we're no longer 'stuffing them down'. After all, we can stuff things down as much as we like but they are still there and will come out sooner or later!
So get comfy, settle down and spend three minutes today just 'being'. And.......relax!
Lindsay Heath is a hypnotherapist, coach and healer. Find out more.