By Nicole Phillips
When’s the last time you just sat alone, relaxed, and listened to your inner thoughts?
Between school, friends, parents, boys, tv, music, the internet, and our phones constantly ringing with texts, most of us know a lot about what’s going on with everybody else, but not what’s going on inside of ourselves. In order to be well-balanced, it’s just as important to care for your own spirit as it is to spend time with others.
Being alone and doing nothing active might sound kind of boring and maybe even a little uncomfortable, but once you get into a practice of taking time to pray, find peace, or just listen to your inner thoughts, you’ll be surprised by the benefits of this ancient practice.
Take these simple steps to give it a try:
- Remove all distractions - Turn off your phone, get away from your computer, tell your family you need some peace and quiet for a little bit. Set a timer if you’re worried about losing track of time, but once you find your quiet spot, try to relax and think about only what’s going on within your spirit.
- Concentrate on your breathing - Sometimes it helps to open your mouth a little, breathe gently: in for four counts and out for four counts. Doing this helps relieve stress and remove unwanted thoughts.
- Contemplate - Lots of people go into their quiet times with a thought they want to ponder. So bring a Scripture verse, an inspirational quote, or simply an event or topic you’ve been dealing with that you want to spend time thinking about. Sometimes during this time you can pray and ask God for wisdom to guide you in a difficult situation, or you can simply meditate on the words/thoughts that you’ve chosen.
Whatever you choose, this time is to be used for thinking positively and for improvement, never travel down the path of self-criticism. If you find you are becoming negative about yourself, stop relax, reflect, and reevaluate your thoughts so that they are used positively.
- Write down your thoughts - Have you been dealing with a lot of drama lately? Or maybe you just need help focusing during contemplation? Writing down your thoughts in a journal during your alone time is a great way to process and figure out your innermost needs and feelings.
- Take a moment to think about some good things about yourself - Even if it’s just one thing, think about something your really like about yourself and be thankful for it. Are you really nice to your little brother? Did you stand up to a bully? Those are awesome things and you should reflect on the good things you do.
- Figure out a “takeaway” - Think about one thing you though about during your quiet time that you want to put into practice (even if it’s just relaxation) when you’re done and back in the busyness of the world.
And you’re done! Just ten minutes a day of relaxation and reflection can help you manage stress, deal with difficult issues, realign your priorities, and even improve your physical health.