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Happy National Relaxation Day!

In a world that celebrates busyness, which our society undoubtedly does, it can seem quite counterintuitive to pause and be still. Yet stillness is an important part of a healthy life.

Life is all about balance. If we are constantly on the run, we are putting our bodies out of equilibrium and into a state of stress. Stress on the body actually physically alters our DNA and adds years to our age. To balance the constant motion our society requires, we really must find time to sit still.

In other cultures around the world, finding moments of stillness and peace is encouraged and celebrated (think Spain and their infamous mid-day Siesta). Many even have special words used to denote this special time in one’s day.

The Dutch call it Niksen, which translates to, “Doing very little of anything rather than the things you think you should be doing.” In Italy, it is called Dolce Far Niente, which means, “The Sweetness of doing nothing.” In Sweden, it is referred to as Lagom, which translates to mean, “Not too little, not too much . . . just right.”

In addition to adding years to your life, finding periods to sit and do nothing has multiple other benefits. According to Healthy U, some of these include:

*Improved creativity and problem-solving skills. Do you ever find that you get your best ideas while out walking or in the shower? This is because you are hitting PAUSE on the whirlwind of daily life and allowing your mind to quietly wander amongst new thoughts and ideas. Sitting quietly for a period of time each day offers these same benefits to your imagination.

*A better rested and more fully restored brain as well as a more physically healthy body. Just like our physical bodies, our brains can’t run on all cylinders every minute of the day. Both our physical and mental selves need rest sprinkled throughout the day so that we can replenish our energy levels to be our best selves. Pausing in stillness offers many of the same benefits to our brains that sleep does. Make slowing down a priority.

*Better insight into your own thoughts and feelings. The secret to meditation is learning to sit quietly with your thoughts without feeling the need to judge them or take immediate action. Sitting still in moments of peace—whether or not you consider it meditating—operates on the same precepts. It allows you to hear things in your mind that you cannot normally hear over the noisy din of the outside world. This, in turn, gives you the time and space to get to know yourself on a more intimate level.

*Reduced stress. A certain amount of stress in life is unavoidable as simply living life induces stress. However, some stress can be countered through slowing down, meditating, or simply listening to your breath.

Feeling it is okay to slow down and do nothing isn’t something that most of us are comfortable with. However, it is important for your health and well-being that you find the time to do so every day. To help you in your endeavors, we at Challenge to Change have compiled some quiet activities you can sprinkle throughout your day to aid you in this quest.

We live in a world that celebrates being busy. From technology to entertainment to work and social media, we are constantly being pressured to do, do, do and produce, produce, produce. Be brave enough to stand up for yourself and say, “No,” when you need. And remember, “doing nothing” is absolutely doing something for your physical health and your mental state of mind.

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