Don’t be too hard on yourself if you couldn’t do 15 minutes of nothing a day EVERY day. Even life’s most delectable morsels are challenging to do EVERY day (watching 30 Rock while eating maple bacon donuts, for example). If sitting still for 15 minutes feels like you’ve landed yourself on Rikers Island for 15 years, ASK YOURSELF WHY you are avoiding stillness (and wait for the answer).
If you CAN take a 15 minute nothing-cation, try asking yourself these questions during or right after your mental sabbatical and observe what comes back. I like to journal this process instead of doing it all in my head for a few reasons: (1) I find it to be more interactive and thus I get more out of it, (2) it is useful to look back every now and then to see where and when my thought patterns come up.
1. What am I feeling?
2. What hurts?
3. What is the painful story I’m telling?
4. Can I be sure my painful story is true?
5. Can I think of another story that might work better?
6. Of the options open to me, which one brings most joy to me? to the world?
After this process, offer kind and loving words to yourself, even if you determine that your inner self is a lying, cheating, gambling troll!
Useful sidenote: Martha Beck does this EVERY DAY!!
Principles courtesy of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, photo by the talented Leslie Shrewing.