How to Relax When You Have a Tight Schedule

“Be still – Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity”
~ Lao Tzu

Life is described as many things, but rarely is it referred to as peaceful, calm, or tranquil. Our lives are a busy juggle of work, chores, responsibilities to ourselves and to others as well as many unexpected things that creep up day to day. Sometimes meditation, quiet reflection and even time alone seem like a distant dream within our hectic lives.

So what can we do? Apart from feel helpless and put it in the “I’ll worry about that quiet-time-for-myself-stuff later” basket? The good news is that stillness is within us. We do not need a quiet garden, secluded beach or a zen den with candles flickering before us in order to find it. You don’t need to book vacation or even take a day off work. The amazing thing about our consciousness and personal power is that we can find stillness, wherever we are and whatever we are doing, in any moment we wish to. It’s a deliberate and very empowering choice.

Here are my top five tips for creating stillness within your everyday life:

1. Breathe.
Whether you are on the subway, on a conference call, in the line at Starbucks, be aware of your breath. Take a few deep, slow breaths and notice how your body and mind feel as you tune into them and slow down for even 60 seconds. Everyone has one minute a day to just breathe. I try to remember to do this 2-3 times per day.
2. Disconnect for 30.
It is surprising how many people go through all of their waking hours with a phone, TV or laptop constantly present, including as we fall asleep at night. I like what’s referred to as the “electronic sundown” with no devices active in the hour leading up to bed. Better sleep is guaranteed this way, too! Today I will take my 30 mins device free when I walk my dog in the New York sunshine!
3. Wake up 10 minutes earlier.
This is a trick many successful people take advantage of. They wake before the rest of the world does, before the wheels start turning on all of life’s demands. The first 10 minutes after you wake up are the most important in setting the tone for the whole day.  Don’t reach for your phone, tap straight into your to do list and awaken any dormant anxiety the second you open your eyes . Take ten minutes for yourself and set an intention for the next 24 hours – how do you want to feel? This has the power to impact your mindset for the entire day. 
4. Be aware that you create your own energy.
External conditions do not. Marianne Williamson said in her book A Return to Love, “Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful.” It begins and ends with you. What energy will you bring to your day, your week, your summer?
5. Learn from the greatest spiritual teachers – choose peace within the chaos.
You can apply Deepak Chopra’s wisdom by making stillness a daily mantra. Last year Dr. Chopra was a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. When she commented how extremely busy he is (and how tricky it was to get him on the show) he answered, “My body may be busy but my mind is still.”

Remember, you create your life experience. We experience our lives from the inside out.  Peace begins with you.

What do you do when you need to chill despite your crazy calendar?
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