There’s a solution to any problem out there for you to buy. Phrases such as “retail therapy,” and “there’s an app for that,” encourage us to seek help through purchasing more stuff, adding more events to our calendar, and signing up for more commitments. But what if the solution to reduce stress and anxiety naturally is to subtract rather add. 

  • What if the solution to our stress is removing one commitment? 
  • What if the solution to our anxiety is not checking email and social media when we have break but rather taking a few deep breaths?
  • What if the solution to healing naturally is to actually create more white space?

If you’ve been in my treatment room, you know I often make reference to a time before mobile phones. One of the big distinctions to life prior to mobile devices is we had breaks built into our day: moments to ponder, day dream and problem solve. We had moments like standing in the checkout line at the grocery store to take a deep breath and sigh, moments waiting for a friend at a restaurant to day dream and moments while walking the dog to ponder.  These breaks happened naturally without us even thinking about them. 

These moments are harder and harder to come by. Yet healing, relaxation along with creative thinking and problem solving happen during these moments. These are moments of “non-doing.” If we grab our phones and check email and social media during the natural breaks in our day, we inhibit the natural flow between non-doing and doing, the flow between rest and repair and fight or flight, the flow between the parasympathetic and sympathetic sides of the nervous system.  

I’m not against mobile devices but their pervasiveness in our lives means we need to be intentional about carving out some time every day without them. We all need white space to engage the rest and repair side or our nervous system. When we are constantly engaged with our devices we live in fight or flight. Healing, relaxation, pondering happens when we disengage from fight or flight and engage in rest and repair. By subtracting a few moments of engagement with our devices daily to breath deeply, day dream, ponder we can help to reduce stress and anxiety in our lives and promote our natural healing.

What can you take subtract to create white space in your life?