Healthy habits – daydreaming
Have you noticed yourself being drawn to spend time gazing out the window?
If you’re anything like me, you probably do this all the time. It’s our unconscious way of calming our nervous system.
However, often we might be doing it whilst worrying about a thousand things which then makes it less effective as an easy way to feel calm.
Learning to switch off
Taking in our surroundings is a natural way to feel safe. A lot of animals do it, we’re checking for threats and when no threats are detected we feel calmer in our body and mind.
Modern life often results in us never quite switching off, our biology is receiving constant signals that we need to be alert. Whether it’s as simple as ticking things off the to-do list or making a major decision, it’s rare that we feel in a complete state of calm.
Being constantly on the go, in this ready-to-respond state causes higher baseline anxiety levels. Most of the time, the things we’re worrying about are generally low-level stresses, but they never go away. Our body rarely gets signals that everything is fine, and we can relax and rest.
Make time to stop and stare
Paying attention to your environment is a really simple way to remind our body and mind that we are fine and help bring down our baseline anxiety level. It’s daydreaming whilst being present.
Rather than daydreaming whilst worrying about what’s happened in the past or might happen in the future.
7 simple steps
So next time you find yourself looking around your environment, follow these 7 steps:-
- Notice when you’re doing it, being aware of it happening naturally and spontaneously.
- Notice what you’re thinking
- Experiment with shifting your thoughts, start to pay more attention to what you see.
- Take in as much detail as possible, notice what you see, and hear. Try using as many senses as you can.
- You may like to label what you see in your mind verbally. This can be particularly helpful if your thoughts are ‘loud’ and hard to shift your attention away from.
- Notice if there’s any shift in the physical state of your body.
- Try to stay with that feeling for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Noticing the small details
To improve this skill, keep practising it regularly.
If you’re able to practise this often when you’re not feeling stressed, your body and mind will begin to remember the calm state that you experience when everything is fine. Your alertness level will start to decrease.
It’s a bit like stepping off the hamster wheel and looking around to realise we don’t have to keep running all the time.
Our body and mind do know how to rest when they’re given the chance to.
It is one of the simple mindfulness tools that we practise on the self-care retreat day.
It’s a healthy habit that doesn’t take any time to do. You’re doing it already. Try the 7 steps above to make it more of an effective technique and a way to allow your system to rest.
Practice v’s application
If you try it when you’re feeling really anxious, you’re asking a lot from your system. Not only are you learning the skill, but you’re also trying to apply it at the same time.
It’s always easier to learn the skill first and then when you’ve practised it a lot, try applying it when you’re feel slightly stressed.
I love to hear how these techniques land for you. Let me know if you try this and how you get on.
Stay connected. Beth x