Being and Time: Cultivating Being States

What Makes Being So Difficult?

When we think of the word "Being," what comes to mind? What is a "Being" state? Being conjures up an image of a sense of self, our identity, and how we inhabit our bodies and relate to the world through the many roles and hats we wear, such as daughter, sister, friend, partner, colleague, and mother. Essentially, as long as we live and breathe, we are "Being." However, the quality of "how we be" can be considered a "Being State."

The Challenge of Doing

Our natural disposition in contemporary society is to adopt a state of "Doing." Our Beingness spends most of its time navigating life by planning, organising, analysing, perfecting, and making provisions for future events. This is a necessary and important skill that enables us to advance and succeed in the world.

We all have our own unique "Doing State Signature." What motivates us to get up and out the door in the morning? What do we tell ourselves about who we are, what we are for, and how we see the world? What expectations do we set for ourselves and others?

Cultivating a Being State

What hurts, disappoints, shames, and makes us retreat from the world? Our answers to these questions reveal, in part, our Doing State signature, which is mainly found in our internal dialogue—the voice of our inner shoulds: "I must do this," "I have to do that," "If I don’t do this, then I’ll be this," or "she or they will think that." Our inner mind chatter is very convincing and powerful.

Cultivating a Being State may not be as easy as you think, especially if it becomes another "should." This is often the case during fertility treatment when we are told to "relax" and "don't stress," even though it is widely documented that fertility treatment is a stressful experience. While we can't eliminate this reality, we can cultivate a Being State to spend less time in a stress-oriented, future-based doing state. Cultivating being states can be integral to achieving this balance. Psychotherapy support for well-being can guide you in this journey.

Vital Ingredients that Cultivate a Being State

How do we cultivate a Being State? What are the vital ingredients that invoke a Being State?

  • Presence
  • Regulation
  • Meaningfulness
  • Creativity
  • Contentment

Activities That Invoke a Being State

A "Being Activity" may sound like a misnomer, as it seems contradictory. You might think "being" is passive and "activity" is active. However, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, during an optimal experience, individuals are completely absorbed in an activity, especially one that involves their creative abilities. They feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Therefore, a Being State is deeply engaging, regenerative, and stimulating. Cultivating being states can enhance these experiences. Psychotherapy support for well-being can be crucial in this process.

Like our Doing State signature, the activities that bring us into a Being State are unique to us. Only we can determine what they are.

Reflect on Being Activities

Reflect on what moments, activities, habits, or hobbies connect you to a Being State. What activities or ways of being can you incorporate into your daily life to feel present, regulated, meaningful, creative, and content? Cultivating being states can provide the guidance needed to identify and integrate these activities. Psychotherapy support for well-being can assist in this reflection.

Activity Reflection

  • Activity:
  • How it makes me feel:
  • How can I bring more of this into my day-to-day?

Take a Moment...

Think of the past few days and how you spent your time. Visualise particular moments and list them in your journal, categorising them as either Being or Doing states. What did you discover? We often find that we spend much more time in Doing states. While Doing states aren't inherently "bad," we could benefit from bringing more balance into our lived experience. Cultivating being states can help achieve this balance. Psychotherapy support for well-being can make this process more effective.

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Your Guide to Being

Step One: Create a Time Map

Break down your day into segments (morning, afternoon, evening) or whatever way makes sense to you. Imagine with a felt sense going through the motions of that day ahead. Feel its rhythm both in your mind and body. Does it feel chaotic, busy, and top-heavy with planning and doing tasks? Does it involve a lot of running around? If you could open a window for yourself that cultivated a being state in each part of the day—morning, afternoon, evening—what would that look like? Could it be that you need some fresh air? A walk in nature, socialising with friends, or simply to rest? Be realistic and make it manageable without adding extra pressure or expectation to your day. Cultivating being states can support you in this process. Psychotherapy support for well-being can provide the structure needed.

Why Write it Down?

  • Creates structure
  • Gives us permission
  • Alleviates potential guilt
  • Allows us to step into our day with grace

Step Two: Write in Your Journal Daily

  • Allows you to actively witness yourself, gaining a deeper understanding of what works for you.
  • Projecting into the future using your imagination supports you in making healthy, regenerative choices in advance.
  • Habit forming and helps to cultivate a Being State. Practice daily, preferably at the same time every day, morning or evening. Cultivating being states can enhance the effectiveness of this practice. Psychotherapy support for well-being can assist in maintaining this habit.

Step Three: Cultivating a Being State

  • Increases moments of presence, regulation, meaningfulness, creativity, and contentment in your lived experience. Psychotherapy support for well-being can play a significant role in this process.

Sample Journal Entry Template

At the top of the journal page, consider a word to represent the Being State that you wish to cultivate for the day ahead. Keep this word in mind to ground you throughout the day.

  • DATE:

Draw a circle on a blank page and divide your day into three segments: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening.


Repeat the journal entry template for each day to track your progress in cultivating a Being State.

By using this structured approach, you can bring more balance into your life, ensuring that you are cultivating a Being State amidst the demands of everyday life. Cultivating being states will help you feel more present, regulated, and content, leading to a more fulfilling and harmonious existence. Support in cultivating being states by providing tools, insights, and a safe space to process your experiences, making it an invaluable resource in your journey towards a balanced life. Psychotherapy support for well-being can guide you in cultivating being states effectively.

For more information or to book an appointment, visit Stephanie Quinn's website or email her at

Stephanie Quinn of Suantraí Psychotherapy ©