The Art of Being Still: How to Find Quiet in Modern Life

Christoffer Kaltenbrunner
By ยท

In today’s society, everyone seems to be on the go.

We’re always busy, always connected, always planning ahead.

Push, push, push.

But, there’s a way out of this madness: the lost art of being still.

Imagine a society where we find time for being still, prioritizing our mental well-being, and leisure time isn’t considered a luxury or laziness.

In this article, I’ll share my best tips for practicing stillness and taking your focus back.

Why Stillness is Important

Being still is the opposite of being busy. Here’s why it’s good for you:

  1. It helps you center yourself.
  2. It shifts your focus to the present instead of worrying about the past or the future.
  3. It reduces stress.
  4. It calms your mind down.
  5. It helps you find perspective.

To cure the business of modern society, we have to practice stillness.

How to Be Still

Stop what you’re doing just for a moment.

Become aware of the world around you. See the details of your surrounding. Listen to the different layers of sound. Feel the rhythm of your breathing.

Just be in the moment.

If you’re used to rushing around, being still might feel uncomfortable. However, as with anything in life, you get better at what you practice. To master the art of being still, you should spend at least 10 minutes every day in complete stillness.

Here are some ways to do it…

Practice Meditation

Meditating is one of the best ways to practice stillness. It’s not complicated either.

Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t try to control your breathing; just observe it.

This is the hard part: When your mind wanders, notice it and gently bring your attention back to your breathing.

If you’ve never practiced meditation before, you’ll discover that your mind starts to wander almost immediately. Whenever that happens, just notice it without judging and bring it back to the present moment. With some practice, your mind will wander less frequently.

However, losing focus is part of the practice. Meditation is about bringing your attention back whenever you lose focus, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you lose focus often. Just notice it and bring your attention back to the present.

I encourage you to check out my comprehensive meditation guide for beginners if you want to learn more about meditation.

Sit in Silence

When people think about being still, they often think about meditation, but you don’t have to if you don’t like it. Sitting in silence is a great way to be still, too.

Find a quiet place where you will not get disturbed and remove distractions (this includes your phone!).

Be mindful of your surroundings, your breathing, and the thoughts in your head. Follow your mind when it wanders around. Eventually, you’ll find that your mind calms down and closes on something.

This can also be practiced in nature. I like to hike, and when I do, I usually bring a thermos of tea to enjoy in silence somewhere along the way, preferably by a beautiful lake. I enjoy the tea while I sit in silence and listen to all the different sounds around me.

Slow Yoga

Another way to practice stillness is by doing slow yoga.

Sitting poses are great for centering yourself, and lying poses are great for deep relaxation.

When practicing yoga for stillness, you should hold every pose for two to five minutes to relax your body and calm your mind. Savasana (Corpse Pose), where you lie on your back on the floor, can be held for up to 10-20 minutes.

Mindful Journaling

Mindful writing helps you get your thoughts out of your head and put on paper. It’s a meditative practice that can cultivate a deep state of calmness. Research shows that journaling reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.1

When practicing mindful journaling, it’s important to not be afraid to mess up. Just write what comes to your mind. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to practice mindful writing. Do it your way. It’s a practice to connect to your inner self: your values, deepest feelings and thoughts.

(In that sense, it’s kinda therapeutic.)

If you get stuck and don’t know what to write about, you can write that you don’t know what to write about. Otherwise, you can use a journaling prompt for setting an intention. For example:

  • What are my values?
  • I’m grateful for…
  • Today I’m going to…

Mindful journaling is a wonderful ritual for bringing more stillness into your life.

Closing Thoughts

Even though modern life is fast-paced for many people, stillness is not far away. All we have to do is to slow down and enjoy every moment.

I write about living a life of focus, purpose and mindfulness in my newsletter. If you want to quiet your mind and live better, you should give it a try.

  1. K.M. Chan, K. Horneffer, Emotional expression and psychological symptoms: A comparison of writing and drawing, The Arts in Psychotherapy, Volume 33, Issue 1, 2006, Pages 26-36, ISSN 0197-4556. DOI: 10.1016/j.aip.2005.06.001

Focus on What Really Matters
Get one monthly email with insights for creating a life of focus, curiosity, and purposeful learning.