How to Create More Space in Your MindMar 01, 2023
Busyness, time scarcity, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.
We realize that's a strange thing to say. Most of us don't think of our mind is something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.
But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.
What happens in these moments?
First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.
Second, we lose perspective. We can't see the big picture anymore. Instead, it's like we're viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.
Put these two together and you've got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind.
The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space.
So it could be nice for our partner, for our kids, and, mostly, for our ourselves to consider: how can we create more space in the mind?
You've no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.
That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind.
To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you. You can also follow Nate's Instagram page (@Nate-Klemp) for daily tips and reminders.
So maybe you're not the meditating type. That's fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.
The key word here is "undistracted." For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series.
There's nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.
3. Do nothing.
Now for the most advanced practice. It's the advanced practice because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do -- to do nothing.
Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.
Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don't freak out too much.
Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.
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