Humans have a long history of needing to find a quiet time in order to decompress. Parents would often do this after putting their children to bed. Children would be afforded "down time" in order to settle and quiet themselves. I've often thought two of the most telling events in modern history were the advent of the 24-hour convenience store and the launch of 24-hour cable news channels. There was a time when our society did not operate at a 24/7 pace and therefore quieting the brain was a much easier endeavor. Today, our society goes non-stop from morning to morning 365 days a year. Even our sacred holidays have succumbed to the pressure to be "on" rather than closed. All of this isn't bad, of course. It just means we have to be more calculated with greater intention to take better care of ourselves, and of our minds. Even the thought of taking care of our minds doesn't roll off the tongue in the same way as taking care of our bodies. We know our bodies require certain things in order to thrive - water, exercise, healthy diets and plenty of sleep. We may not be optimal at providing the basics, but we certainly give it a try. Our mind requires certain things in order for it to thrive. Some of the most important things for a healthy mind is a knowing detachment and a willingness to practice quite contemplation. I would like to suggest that we stop what we are doing several times a day and just focus on our breathing, our thoughts, and our being. No worries. No judgments. No fear. Just being at one with ourselves. 5 minutes. 3 minutes. 1 minute. Whatever we can spare. If we work an 8-hour day, we could build this into our schedule every two hours. Next, we should try not to jump into bed right after powering down our electronics. Take a minute to breathe, to be aware, to let go. Likewise, we should try not to jump out of bed in the morning and power on our electronics. Take a minute to breathe, to be aware, to prepare. Ease the mind into and out of our busy, busy lives.
Our brain is one of the most important organs in our body. It deserves our care, our respect and our love. The kindest thing we can to is to de-clutter it, nurture it, and allow it the quiet time it needs in order to function at peak capacity. There's a reason our computers have a "sleep" mode. This is different than shutting them down. It is our way of giving our computer permission to do nothing - to just be. Surely our brains and mind deserve the same.
Be kind to each other and to yourself (especially your mind).
© Copyright 2014 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC