By Elyse Nissim, LCSW-C
Most of us do not encounter quiet spaces in our everyday lives. Ruled by the clock, cell phones, voice mails, emails, meetings, and other such stimulation, we’re incessantly followed and driven by our devices and schedules. There is no escaping the noise, even if we work alone remotely without kids or pets in the house.
Our nervous systems, however, were not designed to function optimally with constant information overload. It’s up to us to find our inner calm place when we need it.
We can get some ideas from watching small children at play. Smiling, laughing, and making noise in imaginary worlds of their own creation, they make it look easy to filter the outside world and be present in the moment.
Here are some other simple techniques you can use to create quiet spaces for ourselves:
- Shift attention to the inner workings of your body. Sit back or lie down, close your eyes. Focus on slow breathing, “feeling” your abdomen rise while breathing in and fall while passively exhaling. If possible, breathe through your nose and “see” the air moving in and out of your nostrils.
- Use visualization techniques. Create your own image of a favorite place you feel comfortable and peaceful. Listen to the imaginary sounds, picture yourself doing what you love in that setting. Or use a recording of guided imagery or a body scan (many are available for streaming free or at nominal cost).
- Keep a journal. Set aside time to write about your thoughts, feelings, or activities daily.
- Take physical breaks. Walk, stretch, do yoga, or other light exercises for 5-15 minutes during the workday.
No matter how loud the noise and chaos around you, find your quiet place and stay awhile.
Elyse Nissim, LCSW-C, is a Clinical Therapist at Jewish Community Services
JCS is a comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.