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SLOWING DOWN - PART 1

15/02/2012

A conscious choice but not an easy one

Humans need rest, relaxation and recreation. We need time to ponder, to clear the mind and to have fun.

However for someone overburdened with claims on their time, fun seems only a distant remembered state of mind.

Slowing down is a way to incubate, conserve and harvest our energy.

It’s about feeling the need to settle and be with yourself. It’s not about avoiding boredom by just watching more TV or going shopping. As part of slowing down you may have to confront boredom at first.

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. In other words, things will only get better when you have acknowledged how bad things are.

Avoidance is a wonderful strategy we all use to get through the day. We avoid all the warning signs our body displays – tired eyes, lack of clarity of the mind, general agitation.

But we know how to cope! Grab a coffee, or hit the soft drink, to stimulate the body into further action.

In severe cases of “keeping on keeping on” we can be afraid of stopping because we feel like we’ll never be able to get going again. A bit like the car that seriously needs a service and you know that when you pull into the driveway, you just hope it starts up for you the next day. You know it needs a service but while it’s still going you leave it for another day and another and another. Until one day, it doesn’t work.

Your body is like your car. It’s the vehicle you carry around with you every day. It’s with you 24-7. So, when you are living a hectic lifestyle, so is your body!

Modern medicine continues to achieve wonderful advances in health. However, as a society, the cancer rate is getting higher and many diseases are more prevalent than they ever were. Modern medicine helps keep things under control. We may be living longer, but are we living better?

Being prepared to slow down is an important step to feeling more in control of your life and giving your body a say. We are so good at ignoring our body and we believe this is acceptable due to all the things we “need” to do.

But, our body absorbs everything – every action and every reaction. It will give you signs that you need to slow down. In the short term it may be a simple headache, in the long term it could be a tumour.

Slowing down is a conscious choice and not always an easy one but it leads to a greater appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness.

A slower-paced life means making time to enjoy your mornings, instead of rushing off to work in a frenzy. It means taking time to enjoy whatever you’re doing, to appreciate the outdoors, to actually focus on whoever you’re talking to or spending time with.

It’s about taking “moments of time” to just be, instead of always being connected to a Blackberry or iPhone or laptop, instead of always thinking about work tasks and emails.

It means single-tasking rather than switching between a multitude of tasks and focusing on none of them.

Next week we will continue this series on SLOWING DOWN by looking at how work can take over our lives.