Credit: Moyan Brenn

As people all move about in the monotony of their day to day lives it becomes exceptionally easy to lose themselves in a sort of checklist of things to do. Wake up, go to school, do homework, eat food – the list goes on and on. 

People get stuck in these loops due to how easy they are to maintain. No real thought goes into routine. The motions become ingrained in their bones from years of training and they are able to operate on a system, merely going through the motions of life. But can anyone really call this lifestyle “living?”

With the start of the school year fast approaching, many will find it increasingly difficult to balance their time with their work, which more often than not leads to some form of anxiety.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a step back and breathe? To pursue a new hobby that they have vested interest in or even develop more of themselves and their identity?

If this is the case, what you have been searching for is stillness. 

Ryan Holliday defines the concept of stillness in his book “Stillness is the Key” as the disciplined skill to “be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude – exterior and interior – on command.” 

This ability of stillness, that many historic figures – Marcus Aurelius, Winston Churchill, and John Kennedy – have utilized to attain victory against their lives, centers around the health of the body, the mind and the soul. It is through strengthening these three aspects of one’s being that can lead to stillness in one’s life. 

The first, and easiest, step towards achieving stillness is through discipline of the body. This can come in all shapes and forms of activity and hobbies, but shouldn’t be seen as merely going to the gym and working out. While that is good for the body, moderation is necessary.

It is important to develop a healthy routine that incorporates plenty of time to get work done, while also providing time to explore hobbies, get some rest and eat good food. 

With some free time, take a hard look at your surroundings and get rid of a few pieces of junk that continue to invade private space as well. This may be anything from hole-y socks to those calculus notebooks that you keep trying to convince yourself you’ll need in the future. Get rid of that junk and you’ll feel better! 

I know that these steps outlined in Holliday’s book really helped me set myself up to take down the harder parts of the mind and soul that follow. I have successfully been able to set up a schedule that allows me to get work done, so I can move on to the fun stuff later. With this extra time I have been able to better structure my archery passion as well as get to the gym and work out. 

While finding ways to maintain this balance of body, mind and soul, I found that taking walks allow myself to decompress. They are also very beneficial for both getting a little cardio as well as finding some time for myself away from school work and social life.

Finding time for oneself is a very good habit to get into as it helps to recenter away from getting drowned in life’s responsibilities. Setting aside personal time also allows for betterment of mental health, and will allow more time for the introspection necessary to keep moving forward with confidence.

This past year has been quite a doozy and many are having some trouble readapting to the responsibility of going back to school. Knowing who you are and having an idea of what you would like to pursue is even more important now and  surrounding yourself with good relationships and purpose will not only strengthen your soul, but body and mind as well.

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