While writing this post, I was reminded of a conversation recently where a friend was telling us about how they sent their 9-year-old son to his room for a few hours for some “quiet time.” Quiet time is the childhood version of being mindful. He wasn’t in trouble or anything, but apparently, the little guy was having himself a field day as he frenetically ran around the house and seemingly got into everything imaginable.
Kids — gotta love em! Anyway, mom and dad clearly needed a quiet moment to themselves, and so did their son.
I bring this up because this family clearly has the right idea. One of the things I’m talking to clients about all the time is how busy we all are. Work, kids, responsibilities, etc., tie up both our days and our brains. Yet, we don’t utilize quiet time/mindfulness enough.
We recognize that we’re going too fast and that we need to slow down.
It’s important to quiet down the noise and the chaos.
We even know we should spend more time in God’s word and prayer.
But we rarely do it. Why? Because we’re too caught up in being busy! Susan and I are just as guilty!
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” — Luke 5:16
The purpose of this blog post is simple, really: Like the little boy sent off to his room for quiet time, we want to encourage you to take time to do the same for yourself. Quiet time has long been a regular individual session of Christian spiritual activities, whether it be prayer, private meditation, contemplation, worship, or studying the Bible. It is specific time we set aside in a certain place where we can get away, be alone, and bring ourselves closer to the Lord. Time to be mindful
Why is quiet time healthy for the body and the mind?
- It gives us time to turn down the inner noise
- Increase awareness of what matters most
- It cultivates mindfulness
- Opens our eyes to what we should be grateful for
Jesus routinely removed Himself from the busyness of life and spent time in intimate communion with His Father.
Why is mindfulness important?
Mindfulness is a natural byproduct of what happens when we allow ourselves to experience quiet time — even if for only 30 minutes during a lunch break or an hour each weekend. It’s a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Simply put, it’s a therapeutic technique.
There are generally three characteristics of mindfulness:
- The intention to cultivate awareness
- Focusing our attention on what is occurring in the present moment
- Creating an attitude that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind
Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination, stress, anxiety, and emotional reactivity. It also affects our ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Naturally, this helps improve relationship satisfaction.
A quick word about gratitude
When we allow ourselves to have quiet time, and we are more mindful about the present moment we are in, our heart and mind recognize what we should be most grateful for. We wrote a blog about gratitude last year, and the big reason why was that we all need more of it in our lives. Instead of focusing on all the bad things, we should be scanning our world for what is going good and make a habit of being a little more grateful than we usually are.
- You have a roof over your head right now.
- You have a bed to sleep in tonight.
- When you get up to go to work, you have clothes in your closet.
- You have supportive people in your life.
- God willing, you have your health and food to eat.
- You can smile, and someone can smile at you.
- You were able to make coffee this morning (maybe that should be No. 1 on this list).
The easiest way to know if your levels of gratitude are where they need to be is to keep a gratitude journal. Grab a notebook, mobile device, or index card and write down 1-3 things each day that you are grateful for. Even if you are only grateful for one thing that day, write it down. You’d be amazed how much this helps your mindset shift into a better place.
The next step in this exercise is to share your gratitude with others, then ask someone else what they are grateful for. Let yourself be open to the deeper ideas that grow out of this mutual discussion to finding meaning in life.
Write a gratitude letter to someone who has done something helpful, kind, caring, impactful, or compassionate for you. Then, after doing this, share this letter with that individual — in person or by merely giving them the letter.
Share the story behind one of the things you are grateful for with another person.
All we are trying to say with this post is that while life gets busy, there are always opportunities to slow down, rid yourself of the noise, and have some quiet time. Doing so opens up a world of positivity for yourself as an individual and how you approach both your marriage and your relationship with God.
We care about You and Your marriage!
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Did we leave anything out? How are you trying to incorporate more quiet time into your life? And how is that benefiting your marital journey together? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.