When I was a student in Prague, it took me good four hours to get home on Friday night and the same amount of time back on Sunday afternoon. Most of the time I carried a big backpack full of text books that I meant to read during those long hours. After every journey I swore to myself that I would not drag all the heavy text books with me anymore. I always ended up staring from a window, listening to music and getting lost in my thoughts rather than those of big economic gurus.
I was such a daydreamer! I dreamt about far off places, about what I will become when I grow up, about love. These dreams were like fuel for my inner engine, they gave me energy to push through every day.
Then I grew up. I landed in a nice job that made my mom being proud of me. I felt empowered, could do anything I wanted. I became fully in charge of my life. It happened that I stopped dreaming and started planning instead. There’s nothing like being able to turn dreams into reality with relative ease.
Yet, one day I woke up slightly tired of my bright, eventful life. I had many plans but no higher goal to strive for; something much bigger was missing, something that cannot be simply planned. I was sad, longed for having my dreams back. I feared never having dreams again.
Last month I went backpacking in those far off places I had dreamt about as a student. I spent 72 hours on flights and airports, 24 hours on a bus journey and countless more on trains, vans, motorbikes and tuk-tuks. After a very long period of busy adult/working life I finally had plenty of time to stare out from a window, listen to music and get lost in thoughts.
I realized that my dreams are still there. They were just tucked away at the very bottom of mind, waiting for me to stop for a moment, take a deep breath and realize that growing up does not have to mean we become perfectly rational human…machines.
What is the last time we gave ourselves the luxury of taking a break and dreaming big?
Learning to stop and let thoughts flow and dreams be dreamt keeps us sane. Those moments help us realize where we are in life and what we really want. Help us understand, if we are on the right track.
If taking a few weeks off and discovering roads less travelled is not an option for you, try taking little mind holidays here and there in the comfort of your home. For inspiration check out the below list of mind relaxing activities, but it is important to make it ours. No master plan will work here unless we do what works for us and us only.
Feel free to pick, match, adjust and add from/to this lis
- Go for a long solo walk in woods or a day hike in nature
- Spend a weekend in the countryside or mountains alone or with someone you are comfortable being silent with
- If meditation is not your think, try simple few minutes of sitting in silence every day.
(I totally enjoy lying on my back on the floor with legs up on a couch for 15 minutes to unwind after returning from work usually in quite a regrettable state. Both body and mind relax without falling asleep. At least not for much longer than planned.)
- Immerse in a new activity. Opening our mind to something we’ve never done will stimulate our creativity and give us a new perspective to our daily routine.
- Run. Running clears mind and provides time and space for thinking and daydreaming. From physical health perspective I wouldn’t recommend more than 30-45 minutes, though.
- Exercise has a similar effect as running. After a while of concentration purely on technique and movement, we find ourselves in a new state of mind, immersed in our thoughts without noticing. In my opinion (and upon personal observation) physical pain and sudden cortisol increase can help to perceive our thoughts with new perspective.
(Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for starting the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in case of danger. It is also released through exercise, and has a positive effect, if triggered wisely.)
- Travel, travel, travel. Change of environment, new stimuli, adventure, it is far my most favourite way of taking a break. If a few week journey is not possible, plan a few weekend trips and get lost in unknown streets, villages places.
- Helping others and focusing on them and their issues can also be an interesting alternative. Just make sure there is time to reflect here and there.
I dream again – of new far off places, true love and what I will become when I grow up. It gets me going through stressful time, gives me drive to face challenges and energy to wake up every day. All I plan now are the steps to get closer to those dreams.
Enjoy your sweet dreams, everybody. They are part of living loud.
P.S. If you don’t know where to start, just listen to the classic. 🙂 Aerosmith – Dream On