‘Slow down you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last…’
So say the words of Simon and Garfunkel in their ‘59th Street Bridge’ song. How can it be, we say to each other that this year of 2016 is no longer a new year but has already devoured the months of January and February and is hungrily nibbling at March. Hot cross buns appeared in the supermarket just after Christmas! Before we know it we will be enjoying our Easter break but that of course, will require planning and with that comes stress and time pressure.
The inventions of this modern era have come at a cost. We are all users of some form of technology whether it is our mobile phones, our computers, our televisions or music, which seems to need a visual input for a more complete experience. These forms of technology are seductive in their demands as we constantly need to clear our emails, answer our phones and send texts, keeping ourselves in communication as never before. Is all this communication really necessary? Do we really need to know about all the events going on in the whole world or to answer that call from an unknown number only to find that it is some unsolicited person trying to sell us printer ink!! Yikes don’t they know how precious my time is? I don’t have time to chat about ink!
All of this constant attention to a screen of some sort builds anxiety. Humans are tribal creatures who have a need to belong to some group with similar interests and beliefs. Reliance on the Internet and social media has led to the social angst of FOMO, which Wikipedia defines as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This requires one to constantly check social media to know what is going on and so the need to hold the phone at all times.
Parents know only too well the pressures that go with ferrying children to after school activities whether it is sport, music or extra coaching so that they can keep up or be ahead in class. Stuck in traffic, drumming fingers impatiently on the steering wheel, children learn that it is normal to be rushing and constantly being worried about being late. The idea that time is limited and always running out brings a constant state of stress. Whatever happened to time for looking at the pictures in the clouds, or making a hut or other such childhood activities which enhance creativity as the mind has time to wander.
There is nothing new in all of this as each era has had its own stresses but what is new is the speed that everything appears to move at. We have lost the ability to stretch time and so it has become the enemy for so many. So what can we do about it? Here are some ideas that will help you to slow down time and therefore yourself.
No time: Taking off your watch for a day and not looking at a clock is a wonderful way to get back into your natural rhythm. I did this once for a year and learned to estimate time by a couple of minutes and yes I did do this while I was working and needing to be at meetings. What I learned was to pay attention and to begin to feel time. Trusting your intuition is a skill that can be learned and practiced. Unfortunately in today’s Western society, a cold, logical, analytical, left brained response frequently overrides the gut and heart-centred response of the right brain. Trusting your intuition requires one to be fully present.
Being present: How many of us have more than one conversation going on in our heads at the same time? We become so used to the mind chatter that paying attention fully is something that we are not used to. So how do we get to be present with ourselves? Centering or meditation will help us get there. Both of these activities have great health benefits as they slow down the breathing and therefore the heart rate. Meditation has been shown to increase the production of ‘feel good’ hormones in the brain. The aim of both meditation and centering is to park that chattering mind and allow all those circling thoughts to become quiet. Taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling repeatedly is a way to detoxify both the body and the mind.
Going off-line may seem like a huge step but it is one of the sure ways to bring yourself back into the present. There is a huge sense of relief that comes when we just allow ourselves to be present to each moment. It can be planned and coincide with a holiday or break. I have even seen people announce on Facebook that they will be off line for a week and really everything can be caught up on after that week. We can start by not answering those messages as soon as they ping; it helps to train both the senders and ourselves. Keeping digital material out of the bedroom is another way to allow us to relax into a healthy space where we can set up the right mind frame for a relaxing and refreshing sleep.
Nature has a wonderful way of rebalancing us and finding the way for each of us to do this asks us to tap into our feel good feelings. Some people come back into balance by water while others need to walk in trees and bush. The change of light at each end of the day is a very potent time to be in nature, so whether we choose sunrise or sunset we will still be exposed to the wonder of nature as stars, the sun and the moon do their amazing appearing and fading as the light changes. Often there are less people around at these times and that makes it an even better time to be out.
Music has an amazing power to alter brain waves and to take us to where we can visit the deep places within ourselves and also connect with the wonderful creative energies of the universe. Choosing music that soothes our mind and inspires us can also refresh us so that we have a different perspective on something that looked impossible or ridiculous previously. Making a playlist of music that moves us in such a way means that we can use it easily without it seeming difficult to find the music we want. Combine this music with a bath and you have a perfect combination.
Aromatherapy; the use of good quality oils is a very ancient method for bringing the body back into harmony. Oils such as lavender and rose offer a wonderful sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The very words bath, candles, music conjure up a well of self nurturance which will always bring us back into that centered balanced place.
Massage is a wonderful way to let go, unwind and reconnect with ourselves. It is also a sacred time when we focus entirely on ourselves and let everything else go. The more we let go when we are having a massage the greater the benefit. Combining the massage with essential oils makes it even more potent. Mmm… makes me feel like booking a massage for me!!
Community and connectedness are known to improve psychological health. Whether it is family or larger community, spending time with others is an easy way to feel more connected into who we really are. Spending time with different generations and connecting with their wisdom and joy will also fill us up. Becoming involved in community activities brings its own reward, as we are able to give and receive. It is the age-old rhythm of being in community.
Balance is what we are aiming to achieve by all these techniques. So we just find the one that works for us. It is also a good idea to try different techniques as we are always changing and so what we need to bring us back into balance will also change. The techniques to slowing down are many; beginning is the key -being aware and committed to ourselves. If we are in balance we operate better showing the best of ourselves to others. How good would that be! So it only remains to say – SLOW DOWN you move too fast… and you know the rest. Finding your way to slowing down and committing to it can be transformational.
Barbara is an exceptional intuitive counselor and educator. Her ability to connect with a client’s energy field gives them the gift of foresight and clarity, to anticipate decisions and help them to understand why things happen the way they do.
If you are interested in working with Barbara, please contact us at [email protected]
PS Compass offers access to a team of professionals focussed on the four key areas of wellbeing – the Mental, the Physical, the Emotional and Life Purpose. With a personalised approach dedicated to each client, we help balance their own unique ‘compass’.
PS Works delivers health and wellness to businesses, creating packages that will provide holistic, effective productivity solutions, to motivate, de-stress and maximise the health of your team.
Please visit www.paradigmswitch.com.au for further information.