Places to go. Things to do. People to see. All we do is rush about, cramming everything into our day and get stressed about it. But does is really need to be this way?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t.
We have all got impatient in a supermarket checkout queue. We’ll get mad if the driver in front is driving too slow. And we’ll even lose our cool if the person in front is walking too slow.
Why are we in such a rush? What do we actually achieve, apart from heartburn and a headache, by charging about all over the place like a mad person?
The world has become a fast place and we have been caught up in it. We can get information in seconds via the Internet rather than visiting a library or even our own bookshelves. We can have food or products delivered to our home, many within the same day or even the hour! Everything is about speed.
How did this happen? When did we become so impatient, so needy, so desperate? There seems to be no benefit to speeding things up other than the ability to do even more. But isn’t that what is making us stressed out? Isn’t it all one big vicious cycle?
It’s time to banish those frantic, overwhelmed feelings. We need to slow down and calm down. Busy is not better. Busy makes mistakes. Busy misses things. Busy is stressful.
Let’s step out of that fast lane we are in. We are just kidding ourselves that we are more productive in there and it’s not making us any more important than anyone else. Let’s make our lives more enjoyable and remove the unnecessary stress we are putting ourselves under. Let’s slow things down.
Where do we start?
Do Less – Say No
If you have a job and family commitments then life is probably pretty busy. And the more you do, the more you try and do.
Eventually you get to the point where your life is completely saturated with appointments. Somehow you manage to squeeze in chores and what scrapes by as a social life but end up totally exhausted in the process.
Stop. It’s not a bloody competition. Your kids don’t have to join all the clubs and attend all the birthday parties. You don’t need to attend every family event and you certainly don’t need to maintain the family home as if it’s a show house!
It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to do less. And it’s OK to schedule time in your diary to keep free just for you. Doing less is good. Never feel guilty to do less. When was the last time you sat back and just watched clouds drift across a sky?
Remember your life before a mobile phone? We all survived just fine without them, didn’t we? We still had lives, friends, holidays, social events, went to work … nothing more or less than now.
What was special then was our ability to focus on whatever it was we were doing with no interruptions. We did not have to process the constant stream of stuff that we are bombarded with now.
Leave your phone at home or turn it off when you can. You don’t really need it. Unless you are waiting for something that is life changing and absolutely critical, then there is nothing that can’t wait for a bit.
Focus on the Present
While we are busy cramming our days and rushing from one thing to another, we are missing important moments. Our minds are racing as we process our thoughts and distractions to the point where we are not being present, failing to focus on the thing we are doing or maybe not paying attention to who we are with. Stop trying to multi-task – it just creates more stress and prevents you from concentrating fully on the job in hand.
It’s no good meeting with people if we don’t listen to them. The same goes for a situation if we fail to connect. Can you remember all the conversations you had today, or the view from your car window? Learn to cut off the distractions so you can really absorb experiences and listen to what people are saying to you.
We really need to start paying more attention to our food. Stop looking at it as fuel that you need to consume as quickly as possible as you rush through the day. Instead, prepare your meal with care, then switch off the TV, put away your phone and enjoy every morsel.
Chew your food slowly, savour the flavour and textures. You’ll enjoy it far more and will probably eat less as your body will get a chance to tell you when you are full.
We do everything at high speed as we rush around doing all the things we have convinced ourselves we need to do, but probably don’t actually need to do at all. The fast pace we set for ourselves is neither healthy or sustainable.
Slow it all down. Walk slower, drive slower, talk slower, work slower and breath slower. You’ll take in more of your surroundings, feel calmer and have more control. Slower breaths will help you relax, too, as well as feel more present. It’s a win-win.
In the time you have spent reading this blog you have managed to step away from life for a moment. You might even have sat down with a coffee and put your feet up.
Did the world stop spinning without you rushing around? Did your life crash around your ears? No it didn’t. But we bet it felt nice to step away and just chill for a short while.
Do it more often. Catch your breath. Look around you. It really is OK to slow down and so just be.