The importance of taking 10 minutes out

In Positivity, Productivity, spirit on April 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

The last two weeks or so, I’ve been reminded how hectic life can be and how easy it is to get wrapped up in day-to-day activities to the point where you don’t leave enough time for respite and recuperation. Eventually this takes its toll, whether its feeling poorly, making erratic decisions or just not having energy left to do anything productive or creative. Feeling my own energy levels dipping quickly in the last few days, and noticing I was becoming even more impatient and moody, I took 10 minutes on a self-enforced lunch-break this week to ponder why.

The act of just taking 10 minutes, out of my so-called essential schedule, helped me to forget everything I assumed was important and just do nothing (something, my friends would tell you I am crap at doing). I just sat, in a café, and decided to think of nothing much, let people walk by, let all my agendas, plans and hopes just take a back seat for a few minutes.

Bit by bit little things begun to get clearer, as if the mind had a chance to just breath, and I had the time to listen to my instinct and intuition, which had been drowned out by me for a couple of weeks. No great drama really.  Taking 10 minutes reminded me that I had not been eating properly for a few days (a snatched meal here or there) whilst training hard in the gym, for once, working out with a proper routine. I was reminded that I hadn’t meditated for a couple of weeks and that I always feel on top-form when I do this consistently. I was reminded I had been going to bed a bit too late, even though I had said to myself I was going to enforce a strict rule of going to bed on time in 2012 and not lose out on sleep. I was reminded I was probably drinking a bit too much,  indulging in my love of red wine, mojitos and capihinias (not at the same time!) even though I know alcohol, tasty as it is, tends to tire me out the next day (sign of age perhaps!). I was reminded I had been thinking about some bits of the past a bit too much, like a bad habit, which was properly siphoning off my mental, emotional and  ‘psychic’ energy, rather than staying present. There were a few other practical and emotional things, but I won’t bore you with the details. But, just after ten minutes I felt very peaceful, recharged, more optimistic and felt like I was beginning to stock up on my reserves of energy again.

Whether you’ve a hectic or slower paced lifestyle doesn’t matter, I’d encourage you to start taking 10 minutes of your life, every day, to just empty the chitter-chatter in your mind. Let silence intrude. Sit back and experience yourself, free of plans, worries, and even hopes.

We spend the vast majority of our time in our life thinking about things to come, things past and things we are going through.

Things we haven’t done, things we want to do, things that we should have done, but never did.

Things done to us, things we’ve done to others, things we absorb in the media, on TV and online that we think are going to happen to us.

Ain’t it all so exhausting at times?

Taking 10 minutes can help you to:

  • Take pressure off your overactive mind and give it a chance to ‘breath’;
  • Help recharge yourself mentally and emotionally and physically;
  • Introduce some perspective into particular situations in life that might be vexing you
  • Help you to learn the art of reflection and contemplation, which is also handy to say the least in all sorts of practical and philosophical ways!
  • Make better and less erratic decisions, because the more perspective you can draw on mentally, the more you can weigh up the pros and cons, and also make sure decisions are taking you forward, not backwards
  • Lead to less stress because you start getting into the habit of identifying and hopefully eliminating sources of stress.

How can you find the time to take 10 minutes?

Well, each person will have their own ideas, and I’d love to hear of any suggestions. For me, it is normally one or all of the following:

  1. Best time: decide on a time of day that really suits you best – for me, I try the mornings before I leave the house. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll do the evenings when I get home, but before I do chores and before I got to bed (since with the latter, I am normally gone in 3 mins flat).
  2. Music: use music to stimulate you. It is a great shifter of moods. You don’t have to use classical music to get in the mood. Soundtracks are a great stimulator for me, as is Kelis, Sam Cooke and the occasionally Kings of Leon track. Go figure – but it works! So, get your own tracks ready on your ipod in a playlist, ready for your daily ritual.
  3. Sacred spaces: find a religious building. Apart from the fact that a lot of religious buildings are beautiful, you don’t have to a believer to utilise the benefits of the space. Don’t worry, just because you enter a church, you are not going to be converted. One great thing is that a lot of religious buildings will be quiet and places of silence, which is a great atmosphere for you to practice taking 10 minutes. Depending what part of the world you are reading this from, if you are in a city, there is probably a church, a mosque, a temple or a synagogue near you or your place of work. Find out when it opens, and make it your own little hideaway for 10 minutes of reflection every day.
  4. Finally, water yourself!: take a long, long shower/bath: shut the bathroom door, and turn those taps. Apart from the regenerating qualities of water (don’t you just feel happier when you’re by the sea?!) a nice long shower will help you feel relaxed, and the more relaxed you are, the more you can begin to let go of the strains and demands of life for a short while.

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