1. Do less…not more!
Make a conscious choice to do less. How can you slow down when you are trying to do twenty things? Decide on what is important, what needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Put space between tasks and appointments, so you can move through your days at a more leisurely pace.
2. Be in the present. Be mindful.
It is not enough to just slow down — you need to be mindful of what you are doing, so attempt to be ‘in the moment’. Focus on what is going on right now. That means, when you find yourself thinking about something you need to do, or something that’s already happened, or something that might happen … gently bring yourself back to the present moment. This takes practise but is essential.
3. Disconnect. Have a rest from the ‘race of life’.
Don’t always be connected. You know that button at the top of your iPhone or Blackberry? Turn it to silent or even off! Better yet, learn to leave it behind one day a week. How did we cope before mobiles? Well, we did! Being connected all the time means that you are subject to demands. It is hard to slow down when you’re always checking for new messages.
4. Focus on people. That’s what really counts in life!
A little time spent with your family and friends can go a long way. It means you can really connect with people rather than just being in the same room as them. Again, be in the present. We can spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, but we’re not really there with them. We don’t listen, we’re really thinking about ourselves and what we want to say. Just be present with the person you’re with.
5. Appreciate nature. Go for a walk now!
How often can we be stuck in our home, office, car or train, rarely getting the chance to go outside? Take the time to get out and observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air and enjoy the serenity of water and woodland. Exercise outdoors when you can, or find other outdoor activities to enjoy such as gardening, walking, taking the dog a walk, swimming or even just relaxing! Feel the sensations of water and wind and earth against your skin. Do this daily.
6. Eat slower. Be mindful.
Learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavours and textures. Eating slowly has the double benefit of making you fuller on less food and making the food taste better. Eating can be a social/ family event.
7. Slow down. Stop and look around you. Drive slower.
Avoid living life at 100 mph! Make it a choice to slow down when you drive. Appreciate your surroundings. Make it a peaceful time to live your life, and the things you’re passing. Driving will be more enjoyable, and much safer. You’ll use less fuel too!
8. Find pleasure in anything and everything
Learn to smile and laugh again. This is related to being ‘in the present’, but take it a step farther. Whatever you are doing, be fully present, appreciate every aspect of life, and find the enjoyable aspects.
9. Focus on what you are doing now.
This is the opposite of multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to switch to other tasks, pause, breathe, and pull yourself back.
When you find yourself speeding up and becoming stressed: pause and take a deep breath. Immediately you will experience the benefits. Feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down.
Check with Susan for the dates and times for the monthly relaxation meetings.
Susan Chan Associates