Guide to Being vs Doing

by Pippa King -

Are you always busy? 

Does life seem to be full of lists of things to do? Do you find it hard to find time just for you? When you do find time for you to DO a relaxing practise, do you find the peaceful, centred effects disappearing at a rate of knots when faced with the school run, a relationship drama or a pile of work deadlines?

With the demands of modern life and the technology that allows us to be accessible all the time sometimes it can seem as if we are always doing and frazzled, but never seem to get a moment to just BE.

The Modern World of Doing

We currently live in a world where doing and achieving are valued higher than who we are or how we are being?

 With every area of life being more changeable than ever before the pressures to do, do, do are higher than ever before.

Employment, homes and relationships once offered a form of long term guaranteed security, but with modern relationships and the current housing and work climate many find themselves living in more uncertainty than previous years.

Even the younger generation are facing more uncertainty than before at the beginning of their working lives. 

This added pressure combined with longer working hours, technology and higher living costs cause people to strive to do and achieve more and more, whilst creating more mental pressures as the brain and body race to keep up with all the pressures, decisions and uncertainties that need dealing with.

Doing can also be quite an addictive feeling as the rush of constantly living on adrenalin can be a real buzz for some, however eventually this can lead to health problems and burn out if the body’s messages to slow down are constantly over-ridden and ignored.

The State of Pure Being

In total contrast to this busy doing energy that leaves the mind racing, the breath shallow and the body feeling energised and/or drained is the deep sense of peace, calm and stillness that come from being fully present through just being.

Whether it is through walking, yoga, music, art, meditation or any other practise, the feeling of blissful relaxation and inner stillness that is gained from any of these activities seems to pervade every cell of your being and all the stress and pressure seems to disappear.

You feel centred, balanced and in touch with your body and yourself. Your breathing is deeper, your thoughts are slower and calmer and you feel as if nothing could interrupt this feeling.

When the mind is focused and the body is relaxed there is a harmony that occurs in that connection that has very real physical and psychological effects on the mind and body.

Effects on the Mind and Body:
  • Quietens the mind
  • Increases serotonin which influences moods and behaviour
  • Reduces adrenal activity
  • Enhances energy
  • Helps regulates blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Creates a state of deep relaxation
  • Helps reduce symptoms of P.M.T.
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Helps reduce heart disease
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Increased immunity
  • Emotional balance
  • Increases problem solving abilities
Bringing the Calm Being into Daily Life

This blissful state of inner calm and balance is all very beneficial, but when the bills need paying, emails need answering and the kids need picking up from school, how can you possibly maintain this state of connection and serenity?

The harder you try to hold on to the feeling of calm, the ever more distant and elusive it appears to become.
“Meditation teaches us the value of being, but we need to bring this being quality into the doing world.” -- Anna Douglas
BEING is much more immediate than that, it is the stillness and connection that underlies all activity.

BEING is the awareness of BEING PRESENT in whatever we are doing.

Ironically all the stressful pressures and deadlines seem easier to deal with when you are calm and focused, in fact usually allowing you to achieve more.

 In fact, you make clearer and better decisions when you are feeling calmer and more focused.

Here are some suggestions for bringing the state of BEING centred and calm into your daily life that only take 1-3 minutes each.



Mindfulness is the practise of being fully present and aware of whatever you are doing without racing ahead in your mind and calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations in each moment without judgement.

CBT, which has its roots in the practise of mindfulness, is stated as having the strongest research base for effectiveness for psychological disorders within department of health.


Staying consciously aware of your breath allows you to stay connected to your body and therefore the present moment.

When you focus your attention on your breathing and take approximately ten deep breaths into your stomach, you take your attention away from your busy mind and into your body and centre, this allows your thoughts to calm and the power of your parasympathetic system to activate relaxation within the body.

Try spending one minute an hour focussed on your breath, say to yourself “I know I am breathing in” with your in breath and “I know I am breathing out on your out breath.

For very busy people this technique is very useful, it certainly helped me to feel calmer and more centred when I was studying for my degree, college lecturing full-time and self-employed the rest.


The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re DOING list is too much, stop for a moment and put all your attention onto your feet and the connection they have with the ground beneath you, become aware of that solidness and support beneath your feet.

Let it go

Breathe out stress and worry knowing that this will clear your mind to make better decisions.

Imagine breathing in calm with a soft colour and breathing out stress, busyness or whatever it is that you wish to release.

Throw away anger

If something or someone is causing you to feel frustrated, irritated or angry then write down how you feel, what you would like to say to them, don’t hold back, go for it!

Then tear it up and throw it away. I bet you will feel calmer and more centred.

Body Scan

Take a moment to tune into your body and scan down through it, noticing any areas of tension as you do so. As you notice any tense areas, imagine breathing into that area until it is more relaxed.

All these techniques only take a few moments each and can be repeated as often as is necessary throughout your day. They take attention away from the stress and refocus for a few moments on becoming calmer inside.

These few moments practised often can have profound effects on your stress levels and bring that sense of BEING into your daily life of DOING.

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