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A bit of peace and quiet

Written by Richard Docwra

We live in a fast-paced, pressurised world and our lives can be rushed and busy. In this sort of environment, we can make our lives much more enjoyable if we can find some periods of peace and quiet when we need them.

This Life Squared guide gives 10 ideas on how to find more peace and quiet within the rush of modern life.

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A bit of peace and quiet

1. Have some daily reflection time - no matter how busy your life is, you can afford to give yourself at least ten minutes each day to sit quietly without disturbance, close your eyes, relax and remove yourself from the rush.  Activities such as meditation, yoga or walking in the countryside can help this process, but choose the way that suits you best.

2. Visit the countryside – get away from cars, buildings and other people and get into the countryside.  Spending some time walking or simply sitting in nature can give us a sense of calm and perspective, and therefore contributes to our well-being.

3. Close your eyes and breathe – in the middle of a busy day it can be difficult to find quiet places to go to – so wherever you are, if you need to get some peace or head space, close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths.  Whilst you’re doing this, remind yourself that you’re comfortable and calm in your own head.  Use this trick as often as you like.

4. Visit a church – it doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not – churches are spacious, peaceful places designed to take us away from the routine of daily life and find some space and peace.  Just visit one and enjoy the silence!

5. Say no - many of us find it difficult to refuse requests for our time, whether at work or socially. As a consequence, we become busier and busier.  But we should learn to say no when we want to, as your own time is precious and it is your choice as to how you use it.  You don’t have to exist as a machine that must agree to every demand others make of you!

6. Watch less TV – the average person in the UK watches 3.5 hours of TV every day.  Not only does this take up a lot of our time when we could be doing something peaceful and restful, but it can also be a noisy presence in any room.   So, if you are looking for peace and quiet, turn it off!

7. Live life at your own pace - choose for yourself the pace at which you want to live, and whether you want to be busy or not. This may mean standing back from the rush of modern life and experiencing what it is like to live more slowly, then deciding whether you like it. If not, you can resume your fast life, but at least you will have made an informed choice.

8. Don’t be a slave to time - although we may all sometimes have to follow certain rules about time (for example, arriving at meetings at an agreed hour), we do not always have to be slaves to time, or conform to the modern view that time is a resource that we must use as efficiently as possible.  Whatever goals you decide to seek in life, try to ‘enjoy the journey’ as well, and take in the experience of living.

9. Do an activity that gives you ‘flow’ – we all know what it’s like to be in a state of ‘flow’ – where we’re so immersed in the activity we’re doing that we lose track of time.  These experiences can give us a great sense of relaxation, calm and peace.  We can find flow in a range of activities and they will differ for each of us, but some common ones include creativity (from painting to gardening), listening to music and meditating.

10. Keep a sense of perspective – within all the madness of daily life remind yourself that, when it comes down to it, you’re just a creature living as part of the natural world - and that all the human-made complexity around you (including buildings, work and advertising) is just garnish and ultimately inconsequential.

Life Squared 2009

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