Next time your mind is full of noise...

Try this:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. Have a piece of paper and a pen nearby.
  2. Take 10 deep, long breaths.
  3. Grab your pen and paper. Without editing yourself, write down every thought you think of. These thoughts can be solutions, feelings, ideas, anything. Write it all out, get it all out of your system. It doesn't have to make sense!
  4. Take 10 deep, slow breaths.
  5. Sit still. Keep breathing. Remain aware of where you are. Pay attention to your inner voice, who may whisper a few words to you. If what you hear sounds absurd, don't dismiss it. Take note anyway.

The point of this isn't to come up with a list of solutions to your problem. It's a simple "brain dump" exercise to help you get out of your head so that you can reconnect with your intuition. 

Think of your intuition as your personal guide. Your guide knows you best and only wants what's best for you.

Your intuition will always have an answer for you — you may not like some of these answers, but trust that it's for your own good.

If you make the effort to pause amidst the noise, you'll be able to reconnect with your intuition, which can ultimately help you make better decisions moving forward.

Taking action is the easy part

With a quick Google search, you'll find hundreds/thousands/millions of articles with How-To advice. You can learn how to do something step-by-step.

We live in a world that rewards us for doing as much as we can in the shortest amount of time. 

We live in world where you gotta hustle, hustle, hustle!

The opposite of the action, the noise, the hustle, the frenzy... that's the hard part.

Standing still, being aware and conscious of what's happening within and around you... that's the hard part.

Facing the truth, being honest with yourself and acknowledging personal responsibility... that's the hard part.

Taking time to pause, the stillness, the silence... it's not easy. 

How do you turn off those millions of thoughts running in your mind? What do you do with those voices of criticism, fear, and shame?

Self-awareness is a powerful tool. But most of us refuse to use it, relying instead on external sources for all of our answers.

When you're stressed, you'll do just about anything to escape — alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sugar, junk food, blame, pick a fight, play the victim.

You run away, thinking you'll eventually find the answers as you sprint through all the options.

You don't need to keep running. You need to get off the road and sit your ass down. And be still.

Instead of running around to find the answers, let the answers come to you.

Mindless action — doing things on autopilot, for the sake of doing things, or because you "should" —  will never give you the answers you're looking for.

Mindful action — doing things with intention, a clear purpose and a strong desire — is what you're really after.

Knowing why you're taking action and wanting to take action will get you much further than taking action just for the sake of it.

So how do you start taking mindful action?

You start with this question: What do you really want?

Showing up. Every. Day.

Earlier this year, I created a daily challenge for myself on Instagram: #2016YearofYoga

I began posting a photo each day of how I would practice yoga that day. I made it clear in my first post that yoga was not just asanas (physical poses), despite what mainstream media tells us. 

This challenge to me was more than just bending like a pretzel. The inner work was just as important.

By Day 70, I wrote how I would no longer post my daily yoga photos. I loved that this challenge gave me accountability (I was able to practice yoga daily and created a new habit for myself) but having to post "proof" that I was doing the challenge no longer felt right. 

I showed up each day to practice yoga - the last thing I wanted to do was to take photos after feeling highly meditated. 

Fast forward to the last month of the year. Have I been practicing yoga every day since then? No. But I practice a lot more than I did before this challenge – it no longer takes a lot out of me to get off my butt to meditate or show up on my yoga mat.

This challenge started out as developing a yoga practice, but it evolved into something more than that.

It taught me the value of showing up, every single day, in everything we do.

There's a big difference when we choose to show up and do work that matters versus checking out and running our day on autopilot (which isn't so hard to do nowadays).

When we show up, we feel that connection with others as well as ourselves. We don't feel as lost, anxious, depressed, or confused. 

And when we don't show up? We ask ourselves how time flew by so fast and how little time we had to do what we really wanted.

The secret isn't to find more time to show up for the things we want or love – it's to make the time for what's important. 

We might not be able to accomplish this every single day... but I'm willing to bet we'd be a lot better off by simply trying.