Creating Pockets of Stillness Every Day


Many people seem to be in a constant state of busyness. If you stop long enough to observe closely, chances are you will find a lot of the people around you rushing or multitasking at any given day. And you may even be one of them. Busy may not be a bad thing. But taken to extremes it could take its toll on your wellbeing. Chronic stress and burn out are just some of the end results that those who get trapped in the cycle of busyness often have to deal with. Learning the Zen habit of stillness is a great way to mindfully deal with being busy and avoid getting overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of life.

The Stillness Habit

Staying still and doing nothing is not laziness as how some people perceive it to be. It can be a soothing and therapeutic practice. It is about mindfully taking time to stop, step back, breathe, and immerse in the present moment. Stillness is about disconnecting from the physical, mental, and emotional noise. It is a time to quiet the mind and body. Creating daily pockets of stillness can help in coping with stress more effectively.


Meditation is a cornerstone of Zen. It is a way to silence the “monkey mind” or the constant mental activity. Meditating is one way to keep the mind and body still in a short time. It can help purge unnecessary thoughts and ideas that serve as mental clutter. Stillness likewise calms and soothes the body. It can be a time to rest and replenish much-needed energy to accomplish the things you set out to do.

Stillness as a Habit

All habits take time to build. But doing the simple things every day can go a long way in making it stick.

  • Devote a few minutes to stillness before you officially start your day. Meditate, do breathing exercises, or simply be mindful while doing your normal activities.
  • Take breaks and use the time to stay still regardless of how busy things get. Do not let the amount of work you need to do get in the way of stopping briefly to breathe and do nothing.
  • Focus on the present. Another great Zen life stress management technique is to be completely present in the moment. When you are in the now, you tend to focus on what is happening instead of the past or future. It helps in quieting down your mind.