In the fast pace of our modern lives, it’s easy to get swept into a “busy, busy” mindset and lose touch with the present moment. Caught up in a swirl of work deadlines, family demands, and the “race” to produce more…better…faster, we quickly lose sight of what is meaningful in life and suffer physical, mental and emotional repercussions. When the pace begins to take a toll, Lily Tomlin has wise words for us: “For fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
Multi-tasking is now recognized to be counterproductive. Doing multiple things at the same time, attempting to be more efficient and productive, ends up having the opposite effect. When we slow down and focus on one task at a time, we are more focused and make less mistakes. Our relationships, as well as our work, also benefit when we are present in the moment with another person.
Slowing ourselves down in the rush of daily life takes a simple intention to break out of old patterns. While simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy, it is very possible to create a slower, more mindful approach to life by building basic practices into your day.
Here are a few simple ideas to get you started with choosing a slower, more aware approach to life. Practicing them each day can yield wonderful results!
- Take a mindful moment: While waiting in line or for a software application to open, close your eyes and feel your feet on the floor. Let your hands rest comfortably by your side or in your lap, and notice your breathing for several breaths. Rather than focusing on the wait or the work to be done, invite yourself to feel fully present in this moment, before the the next moment unfolds. This can bring greater ease and prepare you to handle any situation or task with greater calm.
- Is your mind spinning and racing out of control? Take three long, deep and full breaths, noticing the gentle expansion of your body. Leave the busyness of your mind for a few moments, as you drop into your breathing body, letting that be the focus of your attention.
- Walking from your desk to a meeting or the copy room: Notice each foot making contact with the floor as you walk more slowly. Bring your attention to the movement of your legs, your balance, the swinging or stillness of your arms. Challenge yourself to take a few moments longer, bringing your attention to your body and its movement as you are on your way.
What other ideas come to mind? How might you build a slower pace into your day?
And if you think, “But I’m too busy to slow down!”– give yourself the opportunity to experiment anyway for a few moments, and see what happens.
To what one breath can do,