those days when you just can't get off the sofa
21st-century life can be pretty fast-paced and pressured. If your default mode is constant busyness then it can be a wonderful thing to take some days at a slower pace. You might need this downtime to think about what lifestyle changes to make, so you can focus more energy on whatever is most important.
When is slowing down a problem?
But maybe there are days when you have real difficulty motivating yourself to get outside or maybe even to get out of bed. This tendency to let the day slip by without taking any action other than mindless scrolling through the internet can be particularly powerful in times of stress. It can almost feel as though anxiety is making us want to hibernate.
It’s nothing new for humans to react to stressful situations by going into a state of freeze or flop. These are learned evolutionary coping mechanisms which might have served our cave-dwelling ancestors well in times of extreme danger. There might have been times in our own lives when retreating under a comfy blanket really was the best thing to do.
Noticing how you feel
But it becomes problematic when the inclination to sit doing very little leads to a sense of emptiness and gets in the way of leading the life you want to lead. If this sounds like you, then, first of all, well done for noticing. This is the first step towards making positive changes in your life. You then have a choice on how to move forward.
You might decide to introduce some new interests or activities. But be realistic. Deciding that you’re going to walk outside for ten minutes every morning might be a better starting point than signing up for a Half Marathon. It’s amazing how making the tiniest of changes can make a significant difference to the way we are feeling.
There’s no doubt that regular mindfulness practices can help to unblock feelings of anxiety which might otherwise drag us into listlessness. When feeling overwhelmed by anxious thoughts, grounding exercises as simple as saying the alphabet backward can be surprisingly helpful.
For long-term changes, it’s best to start practicing when times are good. If you can only manage three minutes a day, that’s a start. If you are able to incorporate a little time for mindfulness into your daily routine you will be building up resilience to help see you through those challenging times. And yes, the sofa can be the best place to start meditating.