Slowing down our rushed, anxious mind
If you are like most people, you probably rush through your day and all of the moments throughout the day. The problem is that we give ourselves a big “to do” list while already being pulled in a lot of different directions with work, social media and just our regular social circles, and family, making it difficult to not feel rushed and be able to devote quality time to the people and things we love most. It feels like we don’t have enough time for anything.
This is something I struggle with and why I wrote this, because I know I am not the only one. I often feel rushed no matter what it is that I am doing. The following example is one I often use because it is so ridiculously silly. There have been times that I was running late for something and had to be in the car for about a half hour drive to get there. I hadn’t eaten yet, so I brought food to eat while I was driving. Because I was late and felt rushed, I felt like I had to eat quickly. So, within the first five minutes of the half hour drive, whatever I was eating was gone because I wolfed it down. My mind tricked me into believing that I didn’t have enough time to eat because I was late, yet I had a full 30 minutes to slowly eat my food. My adrenaline was pumping so everything seemed like it was moving faster, or needed to move faster, than it really was.
If this sounds like you, I bet you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If so, I encourage you to look for opportunities each day to practice slowing down your mind. If you live with a health condition like I do, a neurological movement disorder called dystonia, that requires you slow down, it is even more important. The old saying, take time out to smell the roses, is something that we should apply to our lives as often as we can. For example, when you see a sunrise or a sunset, stop and take notice for a few moments…or many moments. Get lost in the sky. The next time you get caught at a traffic light or stuck in traffic, be grateful that you are going slower. Embrace what it feels like to move more slowly. Instead of getting angry at the driver in front of you who is going below the speed limit, thank that person for helping you slow down.
Unless it is an emergency, don’t answer every text message right away. Let time pass. If it is too hard at first, start by putting your phone in a different room. When you’re watching a television program or listening to the radio and there are commercials, sit through the commercials without changing the station. Browse stores in the mall. Write a handwritten letter. Start journaling. When shopping, look for the longest line and get in it. Make a home cooked meal from a recipe book. And when you see a rose, STOP and smell it. The phrase, “take time to slow down” could not be more literally spot on! It’s okay if you don’t get to everything you feel you need to do.
Above are just a few examples of what we can do to train our racing mind to slooooow dooooown. We have to practice more than most of us probably do. We have become prey to the fast moving, instant message world in which we live. There are studies to show that stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise because of the way society is now, but we don’t need the studies because most of us live it and we feel it every day. We ARE the walking, talking study…
Along with practicing things like meditation, breathing exercises, exercise itself, etc., we should be practicing mindfulness type behavior all day long using the things I mentioned. The more we practice doing this the more it becomes habit and we don’t have to think about it anymore and purposely look for the opportunities to slow down. We simply slow down because it becomes our nature… and when we slow down, we begin to see all that we have been missing in our lives.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey (2015) and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges (2021. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, Patient Worthy, and The Wellness Universe. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his books (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.