This week’s article is not about saying, “No” to things – although that is one option. And it’s not about making time for something else on your busy to-do list. It’s about spending the time you already have a little differently – a twist on how you do things, that might help you calm down, slow down and focus more on what’s really important to you.
So, have you also noticed that there’s been a shift in how people respond to the question “How are you doing?”? Our standard reply has shifted from something like, “Good, thanks!” to “Busy!”.
In fact I never seem to say anything else unless it’s, “A little overwhelmed actually”. And it’s true. I am busy. There is absolutely no doubt that we’re all cramming more and more into our everyday lives. And what suffers (apart from our relationships, sleep, health, stress levels, eating habits…) is our ability to reflect, ponder and see the wood for the trees!
When we’re as busy as we are, we lose ESSENTIAL reflection time which allows us to SEE what’s really important. What really matters to us gets buried underneath the busy-ness and business of our daily lives. We lose touch with who we are.
“Just because we increase the speed of information doesn’t mean we can increase the speed of decisions. Pondering, reflecting and ruminating are undervalued skills in our culture.”
Those important realisations could be anything from powerful spiritual “Aha!” moments to practical realisations like, “I’m exhausted and need an early night” to simply remembering a birthday coming up, a dentist appointment or something else.
BUT crucially it’s not just about HAVING these important realisations, it’s about having the ENERGY and focus to actually take ACTION on these realisations.
Because for sure, during a busy day, we think, “Wow – I’m tired, I need an early night!” or “I must call Tabitha!” or “It’s Jackie’s birthday next week!”. But you need enough breathing space and peace of mind to actually remember to DO something about it. And reflecting on your life will help you do just that.
So, how to make time for this essential reflection?
Well, it could be easier that you think… I know you’re busy, but we can all get some valuable thinking or reflection time simply by taking a different approach to repetitive activities…
While this important reflection time could be time you set aside for meditation or personal solitude, it could equally be time while you’re cooking dinner, taking a bus, at the gym, doing household chores, walking the dog, in the bath, waiting anywhere or stuck in traffic! I’m talking about using this time to slow down, breathe deeply, relax into your self, let your mind roam – and see what’s really going on in your life.
Instead of sitting on the sofa watching TV you could sit on the sofa and stare out of the window, at the fire, journal – you could even do this with a glass of wine or cup of tea. At the gym instead of working out and listening to music, use that time in the gym to think about your priorities and your life.
And it doesn’t have to be hours. You’ll be surprised how quickly thirty minutes will pass. Even five or ten minutes – especially if you do it regularly – can allow you racing mind to settle and focus on what really matters.
“When you’ve been thinking you can come to some very important decisions.” Winnie the Pooh
What we’re talking about is YOU connecting with YOU. And that will move you towards peace of mind. And reflecting like this is actually a form of insight meditation, so it’s good for your soul too!
So, I’ll leave you with a win-win question: “What ‘boring’, repetitive or ‘mindless’ tasks or activities do you have – where you could use that time to reflect and connect with yourself instead?”
If you liked this article on reflection and slowing down, you may also like:
- 7 Easy Ways to Energize and Refocus!
- Why Journal Writing Is Soul Work | By Guest Author Lynda Monk
- 5 Minute Fix: 3 Simple Steps to Cope With Stress When You’re Under Pressure
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