October 07, 2020
How Less Information & More Wonder Can Reduce Overwhelm
Feeling overwhelmed? Berni Kozlowski isn’t your typical meditation coach, and here she shares modern meditation tips for adding calm and wonder to everyday life.
Berni-K is an ex-biology teacher who was skeptical about meditation. Then she came across a kind of meditation that’s not about sitting cross-legged on a cushion. In this post, we hand over our pen (well, keyboard) for her to share some simple, intuitive, and modern meditation techniques to de-stress and deal with overwhelm.
Is constant stress and worry impacting your health? Feeling helpless at all the challenges our world’s facing? Overwhelm disrupting your sleep?
A century ago, radio’s rise started a flood of information that’s now, with the internet and social media age, developed into a tsunami.
Two steps to less stress
Fred Rogers, in his wisdom, mentions a straightforward two-step process for reducing overwhelm. His timeless advice also hints strongly at two meditation skills you can use to achieve more calm:
1. Less Information
2. More Wonder
Centuries ago, everything we knew about the world was in our immediate surroundings; your nomadic tribe or small village, and the immediate physical environment.
Our senses told us what was going on around us and what stimuli needed our attention — a shift in the weather, a noise in the woods, the sight of predator or prey.
Today, our attention is grabbed by the entire world. We’re constantly scanning our environment and responding to stimuli. That’s normal. But, when our scanning is more digital than real-world, it becomes problematic. We see and hear dangers and want to respond. When we’re in this constant state of high alert, it wears us down – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Meditation can help.
Meditation is resting in awareness of something that inspires awe and wonder. And it starts with pattern interruption.
Practicing pattern interruption
Start living a calmer life by taking breaks from social media, using a technique called pattern interruption. For example, the next time you mindlessly pick up an electronic device, pause, and instead, connect with your surroundings by asking a simple question: what are my senses telling me about my immediate surroundings?
You might notice a fragrant smell. Perhaps you catch a glimpse of the autumn leaves on the trees moving gently in the breeze, just outside the window.
Maybe your eye catches your wrappable weighted blanket, and you exchange scrolling on your screen for cocooning on the couch for just a few minutes.
Open your senses and rest in something tangible – linger there for a few moments. That’s the start of a natural meditative experience.
If you let this become a habit, you’ll interrupt the overwhelm and start finding more ease in your day. You’ll gain real-world connections and free-up your senses: less information, more wonder.
Tight schedule? How to make time for meditation
- Practice at a set time, especially between activities. Transitioning time between video calls? Signal your senses and notice something in your surroundings – and stay there for a while.
- Keep it short. Set an amount of time that works for you – start with even just a minute.
- To practice opening your senses, look for spontaneity in routine tasks: while walking the dog, going to the mailbox, or simply sitting on the couch. Try parking your car a little farther away from the grocery store entrance and do a sensory walk.
Meditation and less overwhelm starts with a mindset of being with your senses. Live less in the virtual and more in the natural.
As a parent, living with less information and more wonder can be hugely helpful.
How parents benefit from less information and more wonder
Parenting is a mixed bag of overwhelm and awesome. A child mimics a parent’s energy, be it calm or stress. Here’s how being with your senses can quell the overwhelm and help you nurture healthy connections with your kids.
- You’ll experience more real-world connection, so your world will feel more manageable. This will mean you’re less reactive and more responsive to your children.
- You’ll likely sleep better, have more energy and mental clarity.
- You’ll be modeling healthy behavior for your children.
So, what are you waiting for? Pause, and ask: what are my senses telling me about my immediate surroundings? Let your awareness move and if you come across something delightful, linger there for a little longer.
Complement this calming ritual with a knitted weighted blanket that looks just as good as it feels – to treat your senses and help improve your sleep.
About our guest writer
Berni Kozlowski isn’t your typical meditation coach. Based in Asheville, Berni-K’s Rest Revolution helps people ditch the overwhelm and profoundly shift their lives, to bring more joy and wonder into their days. Connect with Berni on Instagram.
• Are you waking up at night with anxiety and racing thoughts? Hours slipping away doom-scrolling feeds and binge-watching Hulu?
• Berni Kozlowski is a modern meditation coach who offers practical tips for ditching overwhelm and adding wonder to daily life.
• In this article, she guides us to linger a little longer in life’s sensory delights, simplifies making time for natural meditative moments, and sheds light on how “less information and more wonder” helps the whole family.
Did you know?
Meditation can spark significant brain benefits, including improving your memory and increasing neuroplasticity.