Time is the currency of life—we have a certain amount of heartbeats with which to savor it.
In today’s hectic world, it’s also more scarce than ever. We watch the clock in a meeting, waiting for the hands to move so we can go home. When a deadline approaches, we wish for more hours in the day. We squander what time we do have on mindless pursuits like binge-watching the latest show on Netflix, scrolling through Twitter, then later feel guilty or not spending enough time with our kids.
When we don’t have a connection with the flow of time, we lack purpose. We move through our days aimlessly. We feel worse, and our personal and professional lives suffer.
But when we adjust our relationship with time and find our center, we can take ownership of our commitments and our lives.
Here’s how to stop time and live in the moment:
1. Real Gratitude Takes Time
Gratitude is good medicine and is always time well spent. It helps relieve stress and build positive energy, and it gives us great perspective on life.
Every day, you should take some time out to be grateful for what you have. Here’re some ideas for you:
2. Nature Is Our Guiding Light
In nature, things move with the sunlight and the seasons. Society artificially compresses time. Tapping into nature’s rhythms will connect us with life around us and feel more energetic and productive.
3. There Is a Time to Hustle and a Time to Chill
If you’re hustling 24/7, it wreaks havoc on your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s crucial to carve out down time to slow down and breathe.
Bring a blanket and book to the park, or take a long walk without your phone.
4. Anxiety Is Mostly a Waste of Time and Energy
Worry steals joy and negatively impacts decision-making. It’s understandable to often feel overwhelmed by life’s unknowns, but spending all day worrying about something that “might happen” is a waste of time and energy.
Acknowledge the frightening thoughts, and move on to the task at hand. This anxiety coping mechanism can help:
5. Discover What You Want
Make a list of all the things you want to do, including exercise, personal time, family time, reaching, yoga etc.
Take a look and make sure it reflect your desires for self-care. If you did these things, would you feel calmer and happier? If so, add them to your calendar and prioritize them.
This guide can help you discover what you truly want:
6. Exercise Doesn’t Have to Be a Grind
Exercise isn’t about quantity—it’s about quality.
Are you focused? Can you breathe into and slow down that bicep curl? If so, then a few solid reps do the trick, and you can move on with your life and use the extra time to read a book or take a nap.
7. We Need Space to Digest Thoughts and Emotions.
When you aren’t digesting your thoughts, you create a backlog of mental suffering that keeps you from being present with your friends and family.
To fix this, allot time to process your feelings. A hike in nature is a great time to work through that emotional turbulence, in turn allowing you to be more present for the rest of your life.
8. Sitting Is the New Smoking
Numerous studies are linking a stagnant lifestyle with a high rate of mortality. Get up and move around frequently throughout the day to improve your body’s functions and overall sense of wellbeing.
9. Meal Time Should Be Ritual Time
Our ancestors spent hours preparing meals and enjoying them with loved ones. Today, we scarf food down in our cars in between meetings.
We should return to seeing mealtime as an opportunity to slow down and nourish our bodies, absorb nutrients, and relax into the digestive process.
10. Cut the Fat
We all have people in our lives who sap our energy without giving back. Draw boundaries and take your time back.
If you aren’t sure how to get rid of these toxic people, take a look at this:
11. Family Time Means No Distractions
Instead of multitasking on work emails when you’re with your family, give them your all.
Walk the dogs together or have dinner without devices. Work to get in quality time with your family every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.
12. Communication Isn’t What It Used to Be
Today, the vast amount of our communication is electronic. But it’s important to interact face-to-face to really connect.
Wake up and pay more attention to your in-person communication, focusing on things like body language and eye contact. See how much better you feel.
13. Make Hay While the Sun Shines
Not all time is created equal. There are times of the day, times of the week, seasons of the year, and even eras in your life when you need to lean into things and devote more hours to your career or projects.
So plan your day for maximum productivity and leisure time.
14. Mix up Your Workspace
Work can suck our time and prevent us from properly caring for ourselves. If you rearrange your workspace a bit, you’ll give yourself more room to think outside the box.
Spacial awareness cues our bodies to stay more awake and wires our brains to work more efficiently.
15. Daydreams Give You New Insights
It’s healthy to daydream, but it can also become disruptive.
Time debt has us constantly catching up on yesterday’s thoughts. Block off some time to think about a trip you’d like to take, and imagine the sights, sounds, and textures.
Building positive and productive daydreaming into your life can be therapeutic and inspiring.
16. Trading Time for Money Is Limiting, but It’s a Necessary Evil
Modern society puts a dollar amount on our time. Can you do a project online to earn more money on the side and buy back some of that time?
Ideally, you create a gig where your passive revenue matches and then exceeds your bills. You can use that income to bank money and buy a better future for yourself, or you can choose to chill out and garden all day.
This article may inspire you to think differently about time:
17. Music Is the Space Between the Notes
Music would drive us crazy if there is no space between the sounds. Yet that’s how we live our lives—nonstop motion, never slowing down.
Pick an instrumental track you love and make some space to sit with it. Then see if you can sync your breathing with the song’s cadence. If you master this, you can learn to slow down in your regular life.
18. Our Time-Saving Devices Are Actually Draining It.
We created technology to help us save time and energy, but constant alerts, reminders, and notifications take us out of the present.
Take a hard look at your relationship to technology and see where you can cut back.
19. Don’t Let Social Media Become a Tick
I get it. Social media is a way to feel connected to your world and in the loop. But checking it can become a social tick that completely removes you from the world around you, and it’s time to break the habit.
Have a social media blackout day in order to reset.
20. Five Deep Breaths Can Help You Think More Clearly
Set a timer for every 30 minutes. Whenever it pings, stop what you’re doing and take five deep breaths down to your lower abdomen.
Focus on slowing the inhale and holding for a second at the top of the breath. Then make a long, deep exhale.
When you train your body and mind to press pause and nourish your breath regularly, you feel calmer.
21. Many Big Life Decisions Are Made Under Duress, Slow down and Stop Reacting
If you think through your history of big decisions, you’ll realize how many you made when you were stressed and under the gun.
You make better decisions when you’re calm and collected. If you breathe deeply to your core and focus your energy on staying in the moment, you’ll see reality more quickly and make a smarter choice.
22. The Sun Isn’t Your Enemy
Given the negative effects of UV exposure, sun has gotten a bad rap lately. But we all need sunlight to trigger vitamin D synthesis and balance our neurotransmitters. Make a concerted effort to spend time in the sun to reap the benefits.
23. Give Yourself a Break
Take a 5-minute break once every 25 minutes. Get up and stretch, or do some squats—whatever gets your blood flowing.
Listen to your body and let it decompress. Practicing this throughout the day will keep your oxygen pumping to give you more energy.
24. Sleep is Crucial
In today’s busy world, there’s less time to build recovery into your schedule. But sleeplessness makes us tired, weary, moody, less enthusiastic, and unfocused.
If you stay in this state for too long, you’ll start to see negative effects on your career, relationships, health, and mood. Try giving up caffeine to reinvigorate your sleep life.
25. Bed Time Is Sacred
The bed should be only for sleep and making love, but we often use it for other things like eating, watching TV, and doing work.
Take all those activities and move them elsewhere. When you stare at a screen in bed, you’re compromising your sleep schedule.
26. Quality Time in Low Light Is How Our Ancestors Lived for Generations
When the sun went down, our ancestors would wind down by candlelight or hang out around a fire. The darkness signalled our brains to start shutting down and prepare for sleep.
We need the darkness to reset. Every night, take a few minutes before bed to slow down in the dark.
27. If You Need Help, Ask for It
Enlisting help is not easy—many of us are control freaks. But not being able to get help is exhausting, and not asking for help will lead to burnout.
Look at your day and see where you’re spending time on menial tasks you don’t need to be doing. Let people help you.
This article is a great reminder for anyone who is reluctant to ask for help:
28. We Spend an Average of One Hour per Day in Our Cars
The time we spend in cars is crunching our spine, tightening our hips, collapsing our posture, and slowing down our metabolism.
To counter the negative effects, keep your body engaged and postural muscles active.
Use your car time productively, like by listening to an audiobook or catch up with your mom on the phone.
29. A Vow of Silence Is Therapeutic
We live in a world of noise, and we spew endless energy on wasted words.
Take a few days to be more mindful about your conversation, and avoid saying anything that is unnecessary—you’ll be shocked how much more time you have.
30. Books Can Take Us out of Time and Space
Books give us information, insight, and knowledge, and take us to new places. All the most successful people I know are avid readers.
Today, pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read and get through at least 30 pages. Relax into the experience and know it’s time well spent.
31. Enjoy a Moment with a Neighbor
Back in the day, we used to be close to the people who lived in close proximity to us. Today, it’s just a quick smile or wave as we pass in the driveway.
Making an effort to connect with the people around you will make you feel less lonely and improve your mood.
32. Traumatic Events Carry a Heavy Weight in Our Mental Timeline
Trauma imprints on our cells and stays with us throughout our lives.
When you experience an uncomfortable feeling that’s associated with a harsh memory, close your eyes and follow your emotions in. It may be uncomfortable, but when you breathe into the area, you and heal your past.
Try these steps to let go of the past and move on:
33. You Can’t Get Back Lost Time
Although there’s no use crying over spilled milk, there certainly is an opportunity to reflect and see how you could have avoided that incident for the future. There is always a lesson in your mistakes you can learn from:
34. Creativity Takes Our Minds off the Clock
Sometimes it feels like you have no control over when inspiration hits. But this isn’t entirely true.
Through meditation and diaphragmatic breathing, you can engage the right hemisphere of your brain and foster creative thinking. This way, your creative juices spring up naturally, and before long, you’re in a timeless flow state.
Everyone can be creative, here’s how to rejuvenate your creativity:
The Bottom Line
We aren’t going to be around forever. Make the most of now.
Thinking about death shouldn’t make you depressed. It should help build enthusiasm for the time you have here—to optimize it and savor every moment. What can you do right now to positively impact your legacy on this planet?
Featured photo credit: Barbora Polednová via unsplash.com
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