Bija Bennett

Do you think that you are being lazy when you are not doing something? Do you think that you are wasting your time when you are simply just being there?

It's time to wake up.

The challenges of stress, engagement, and recovery are now the same for everyone — and it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from. The constant urgency, endless distractions and temptations of virtual living and always being wired-in are becoming epidemic.

We're all living in an era of mass distraction, and it's undermining our ability to perform at our best, focus on our work, interact with loved ones, or even enjoy uninterrupted time alone. 

It's already become my own personal dilemma, when I find myself rushing around so much, that I don't even notice how stressed I am or how I crave the tiny moments of inactivity and quiet. Because inevitably, these moments are soon filled up with more stimulation and noise. This is the gray zone where we're constantly juggling activities and rarely engaged in any of them.

But I do know that the very act of taking the time to be alone in silence, to be lazy — without doing something — helps us renew and recover our energy so we can fill ourselves back up. 

Setting aside this sacrosanct time is what we must grab and hold on to. 

Because it's the very thing that will save our imagination, our energy, our joy.

I propose that we develop a full-blown recovery system with highly specific routines to help us reduce our stress and manage our energy at every level.

Routine #1: Strategic Breathing

Breathing is a remarkably effective strategy of renewal. 

It is simply the easiest and most powerful stress reduction tool you can use to support, manage, and sustain your health.

Basic Practice: Breathing Awareness

Effects: Settles and soothes your agitated emotional states, such as anger, anxiety, frustration, and fear. Relaxes your body. Calms your mind. Creates a state of "restful alertness."

Sit comfortably, and shift your attention to the flow of your breath and observe how it comes and goes. Ride your breath like a wave. Inhale and pause. Then exhale and pause.

Inhale all the way to the end of your breath and feel the completion of the breath, waiting for the next breath to begin. Exhale all the way to the end, and feel the completion of the breath, waiting for the next breath to begin. Lengthen your breath naturally, following it with awareness.

Notice that as the physical breath ends, a part of it continues on an energetic level. Feel it come to its completion in silence. Wait in that silence.

With every new breath, allow your attention to rest more deeply into the pause. Feel how the breath begins as an energetic pulse, then moves into the physical body and takes you with it into the next inhaling breath.

The breath comes in, and stops. The breath goes out, and stops. It is effortless. You are pouring the inward into the outward breath, and the outward into the inward breath. Then the breath ceases flowing in the silent space between each breath.

Listen to the silence. Surrender to it, and breathe again. Be in that silence. Feel yourself turning back upon yourself as you breathe.

Breathing is always there and it immediately leads you to the knowledge of what is happening right now. This is good to know.


This Fall I've re-launched my website to offer a HUGE TOOLBOX OF STRATEGIES to help you manage the serious dilemma of distraction and stress.

Learn how you and your company can build a personalized system of rituals to re-energize and re-fuel across all dimensions of your life.

Contact me for consultations and keynotes.

Make Work and Life matter.

Visit to find innovative ways to exercise healthfully, breathe more, focus your mind, sleep better, and simply appreciate yourself more.

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Please tell me about your challenges of distraction, overwhelm, and stress.
Do you make the time for silence? 

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Bija Bennett is a Chicago-based author, teacher, and speaker who has turned from the performing arts to the healing arts, and then back again to make unique and inspiring books, talks, music, and films, that impact the way we work and live.