How do you stay calm and stress-free when your life is non-stop?
When it feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done, taking a moment to drop in and check in with yourself is one of the last things on your mind.
But taking the time to slow down and turn your attention inward is the trick to staying calm in the middle of a hectic day.
Skeptical? Let's talk about the benefits of slowing down.
Checking in with yourself helps to recharge your battery when you’re feeling drained. The act of self-connection is a deeply nourishing practice that helps you recenter when you’re feeling scattered. This reset ends up giving you a much-needed boost.
When you go through your day at max capacity without taking a break, your mind and body might not get the rest you need to perform at your peak. If you want to be at your best, make sure you get your rest.
Deep down, you already know this. You know that children need naps. You know that to stop a car every 8 hours on long-distance drives. You know to restart your phone if it’s glitching. But humans are notoriously bad at recognizing our own patterns of behavior. Maybe it’s time to really look at how you’re living your life and see if you can sustain the pace at which you’re going.
If you are constantly rushing through life, you’re probably running on an empty tank and chances are you’re seeing the effects. For example, do you catch yourself making small mistakes, or forgetting things? Do you snap at people too easily? Do you have a lower than usual tolerance for irritation?
If you don’t make the time to slow down, reset, and recharge, you may drive yourself into a frenzy of nervous system tension and work yourself to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Be proactive and make time to reset before you get to the point of crisis.
Even though you know the benefits of slowing down, you may still have still resistance to making the change. Maybe you don’t think you have the time. Maybe you feel guilty about taking a break. Maybe you think slowing down is only going to set you further back.
But believe us, that’s not the case.
If you keep pushing yourself without a break, you are living in fight or flight mode. Your physical, emotional, and mental faculties are bound to rapidly drain. You will soon become less productive, less efficient, and more likely to make costly mistakes. You’re following a path headed toward iminent burnout and a mental breakdown.
So what's the best way to avoid these unwanted outcomes? That's right... slowing down.
Not only will you feel better internally -- you will even be able to get everything done more efficiently!
Isn’t it funny how that works?
By now you might be thinking, Sounds great, but I’ve been having a really hard time slowing down at all. How am I supposed to make this happen?
Some words of advice: Do whatever works for you.
You can create a relaxing environment for yourself anywhere you like as well -- the park, the beach, your bedroom, your car... even a bench outside your office building. Use music, temperature, scents, or whatever else you like (or have on hand) to make it as restful as possible for yourself.
When you’re feeling comfortable and safe, wherever that may be, take a moment to pause and come back to yourself. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you want to. And allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling.
Feel your feet on the ground. Your legs on your chair. The wind on your face.
Let your attention land on yourself and whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.
Try it right now. What are you feeling? Take a break from reading to really check in with yourself.
You might find that the hardest part of slowing down is actually making the time to do it, rather than the actual practice - especially when you’re busy and constantly rushing from one place to another. Taking a break is probably the last thing on your (very long and detailed) list of priorities.
But that’s exactly why you should take this break! If your world this is what your world is like, that’s exactly when you need to prioritize these breaks the most! After you've taken those few moments to pause and reset, you should be able to face whatever you have ahead of you with a little bit more clarity and ease.
The good news is that you don’t have to drastically change your schedule or drop half of your responsibilities to get that restorative break in. You can learn to work in those moments of self-connection throughout your day.
You can practice coming back into being with yourself where you are right here, right now. Come back to your center so you don’t feel like you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions at once. Slow down and self-connect in spare moments as you’re transitioning from one thing to another, like you’re in transit from one job to another.
If it’s not realistic for you to take a short break, you can still find other ways to work in self-connection. You don’t have to block out a large chunk of time to drop in and meditate. But you can actually learn to slow down and come into the present moment to be fully self-connected with yourself as you do little things throughout your busy day.
For example, when you wash your hands, be fully present with yourself. Feel the water on your skin. Notice the smell of the soap. Take in the sensation of drying your hands. You can pay attention to your inner experience to slow down and sync up with the present moment as you do practically anything: drinking water, taking the stairs, typing at your computer… the list goes on. Shift your mindset and ground into the present moment.
Eventually, you can learn how to maintain self-connection all the time, even as you’re busy and faced with multiples stressors.
So slow your mind down to stop running ahead of when and where you are. Let it settle back into your physical self, as you exist right here and right now. That small moment of self-connection will work wonders for your mind and body.
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