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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Wanting Relief? Find Quiet a Few Minutes a Day

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 22nd 2011

 

treeFor many of us, this continues to be a very noisy world. Even if you live in remote suburbs or on a field in Kansas, the blaring interruptions of television, phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages are just a reality nowadays. If you have a family, you may wake up in the morning to crying kids, rush out to work, work all day, come home to play with the kids, ask your partner about the day, put the kids to bed, watch a little tube and go to sleep. Where’s the space to just be? If we want any sense of a peaceful state of mind, we’re going to need a bit of a paradigm shift.

Every person I know who has some sense of peace in their lives seems to make space for a little quiet time every day. For me, that is sometimes giving myself permission in between seeing clients to just pause and be quiet or allowing for a little space to sit or lie down before bed and just be still.

There’s something that happens to our minds when we just allow for quiet. It’s as if space itself expands and the thoughts and feelings that are there can roam without restriction. The tension begins to dissipate and the nervous system calms down.

So many of us feel trapped on a daily basis like we’re spinning around on this hamster wheel with no sign of slowing down or any upcoming exit. The pressure of this can lead to increased anxiety, a barrage of automatic negative thoughts, and a compulsion to reach for that next addictive behavior to find relief.

Maybe one thing we can do to weave into our lifestyle is carve out a bit of quiet time each day. Sounds simple, but try it out, the mind is a master at trying to pull us away from just being still.

In 2006 I put out a national research study that said just taking 5 minutes a day for 5 days a week for 3 weeks to practice mindfulness has statistically significant effects on stress reduction.

I wonder if just being quiet for a few minutes a day can have a similar effect and it’s worth trying out.

So here’s my challenge to you, where can you find a few minutes a day, each day? In your car while pulling up to work? The first few minutes of work? a few minutes before bed? A few minutes in the morning, or even a few minutes in the bathroom?

Take this challenge for even a single day, what do you notice?

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

 

 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Relax - Kevin - Sep 24th 2011

I do practice a self relax routine perhaps once a day and it works! Just set aside some time and try to shut down. Breath and relax and try to calm yourself, soon you will be able to do this at will.

It sounds easy, but you need to practice.

 

Noise Is The Escape - Cathy - Sep 23rd 2011

Noise is the escape for most people, not many, I mean most.  Try to find someone that doesn't have the tv, music on or on a phone constantly.  It will be a chore.  The noise is the escape because they don't have to be with themselves or to do any soul searching.  They will have a very hard time.  I have seen people struggle with this.  With the television, they must have it on but they often, they are not even watching it.  Quiet requires you to be face-to-face with your conscious and a lot of people have no desire to do that.  I always seek out quiet when possible because I am not hiding from myself.  I also think that just taking the quiet time would not have the same result for everyone.  It is like that commercial where they say that kids do so much better when the family has meals together and actually what it is, families that chose to have meals together have better relationships because of the kind of people they are, not just because they sit down to eat together.  Have you ever watched someone struggle with the quiet like an addict that needs their fix?

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