By Debra LeClair Psy.D.
Transitioning to a lifestyle that is less busy and less stressful can be a bit disorienting, and frankly stressful in and of itself. However, for those of you that have truly committed to having more peace and quiet in your life, you may have found that it is a struggle to give up the “busy-ness”. Having less to do can feel like you have less importance– and that maybe life has less meaning. These feelings are often part of the process, where we have to undo our current ideas and conditioning to then let another way of being come into our awareness.
During this time, just let yourself observe these feelings. Thoughts and feelings have a tendency to come and go, especially when we no longer feed them. If we remember that they are transient, they lose their power over our perception of ourselves. This includes our thoughts about “not doing enough” as well as “doing too much”. To give an example, if I think about how much I dread my daily routine, then my mind gets stuck thinking that this feeling of dread is not only permanent, but that it may overcome me at some point. From that, my mind springs into thinking of ways to get out of this distressing situation, which may include making it better by getting some sympathy for being in it. Then I dwell on it ( i.e. feed it) becoming upset that maybe I won’t solve this dilemma after all and it will be unbearable. I believe what I am telling myself in this more anxious state. Things feel so much worse than they have to…and the cycle repeats.
Stay committed to greater peace and quiet by being mindful of these thought and emotion patterns. You can be aware of this tendency in yourself but you don’t have to get directly involved. Just keep watching, listening and acknowledging where your mind and emotions go. Developing this internal observer is a powerful way to literally take your life back–and to make it safe for the quiet and accepting of the inner peace.