Every now and again, emphasis on the again, I get lost. It happens when the noises on the outside become too frequent and get too loud, before I know it the noise is all I can hear. I start to think of all these problems and all the things that are wrong and I get overwhelmed because I feel like I have to do something about them. I lose myself.
Luckily, it’s happen often enough that I have a way to handle it. Self care is a very important thing. Life is full of disappointments, stress and heartache, not that these things are necessarily bad, they are necessary but they still take a toll on the mind, body and spirit. So when I feel like I’ve lost myself in all the noise I find a way to get quiet again.
The fastest and easiest way to get rid of everything is to breathe. The power of the breath is very much underestimated. How could something so simple and basic have such a profound impact on you? Well, try not breathing.
There are many pranayama techniques, I know very few but instead of forcing anything I just listen. I listen without trying to change it. When you focus on your breathing it changes. It changes because your thoughts change, you are no longer thinking whatever you were thinking, you are just listening. You can hear your thoughts in the breath. So I sit and listen. Eventually, my breathing becomes steady and deeper. My mind gets quiet, even if only for the moment. Sometimes, that moment is all you need.
Yoga is another thing that helps me. When you focus on your body and the pose you become more present and aware of the moment. After an hour or so of this we get rewarded with shavasana, corpse pose, where you just lie on your back, close your eyes and breathe. You only notice it when you are coming out of it but if you are lucky you get to a point where you think and become nothing. The noise stops and you have only silence. It is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. I akin it to a mental reset.
All your problems are still there when you come back but they aren’t as loud and heavy anymore. You gain distance and space.
Next to those two things is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s hard to think of anything when you are rolling with someone else. All your attention has to be focused on what you are doing. By the time you are done you are physically exhausted and all the tension in your body has had a chance to work its way out. The extra cortisol caused by any anxiety or stress has been put to good use and the body can relax again.
And finally, I find it relaxing to spend time in nature, either walking through a trail in the woods or going to the beach. My current residence grants me access to the trees and I love it but sometimes only the beach will do and when that’s the case I make the drive back home, pick up tacos from my favorite place and go eat them on the beach. I stare at the waves while I eat then usually soak up the sun for a while before going into the water and walking down the shore to dry off. It’s the perfect solo date. Nothing cleanses quite like the ocean, the warmth of the sun is soothing, and the ocean breeze refreshing. Doing it all in silence is nurturing.
Most of our worries are caused by ruminating over the past or the future. If you can find a way to be present then you can find the silence that is always there. If you can find the silence you can experience the peace that it holds. Maybe yoga or BJJ isn’t for you but there is something out there that is, find it and keep it close.