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7 Ways to Slow Down Today

7 Ways to Slow Down Today

Slow down

    “There is more to life than increasing its speed”

    – Gandhi

    I always have a list of things to do from here to Neptune, or maybe just as far as Mars but either way it’s pretty long.

    Yesterday I didn’t want to do any of it I wanted to go slow. I wanted to be like the people I see collecting their children from school who have time to do their housework and bring their children to the park. I wanted to be free from all responsibilities and roles and just be.

    So I took it slow. I stopped running from one responsibility to the next. From task to task, from blogger to coach, from mother to sister, from wife to friend. I slowed down.

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    More Haste, Less Speed

    But when I look back at what I achieved yesterday it was no less than I achieve every day. I wrote, I saw a client, I washed, I ironed, I visited my photographer, I hugged my children, I finalized some design work. I commented on other blogs.

    So why did it feel slower than most days? It was slower than most days because my mind was slower. My attitude changed. The voice inside my head was quieter, slower and less demanding.

    I like Being Me

    So I realized I don’t really want to be like those other people who outwardly appear to be calmer than I am and have less to do. They have their own challenges and roles and responsibilities. What I want is to breathe and go slowly. Productivity is not about increasing speed and ticking all the boxes on your task list, Productivity should be about only achieving the necessary to allow you to live a happier more meaningful life.

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    Smile, breathe and go Slowly

    Running won’t help, as Thich Nhat Hanh said “Smile, Breathe and go Slowly, words that Leo from Zenhabits.net has adopted as his philosophy for life. I think there is much merit in these words. A friend of mine attended an event with him last week where he spoke about how we are never ever present. We spend our lives either in the future or the past, always outside our bodies. The only time we are truly present, when we really connect with ourselves is when we take a breath. The breath, our source of life our opportunity to realign ourselves.

    So here’s the take away – 7 Ways to Slow Down Today (not tomorrow, today!)

    1. Breathe, take a long deep breathe and connect with who you are
    2. Practice Mindfulness throughout the day. Every time you remember, stop and bring your mind to the present moment. The past is gone the future unsure, all we have is the present moment
    3. Meditate Regularly. Meditation helps slow down the monkey mind, the one who like to jump from past to future to past again!
    4. Try to connect with nature everyday even if it is sitting in your garden for ten minutes. Quietly at peace, at one with yourself and nature the source of all life
    5. Schedule your work and remind yourself you can only do so much. Do what’s essential and don’t sweat the rest
    6. Become more aware of your self-talk, are you pushing yourself unnecessarily? Are you demanding more work from yourself than is required? Listen and talk back
    7. Spend time with the people you love, always make time for your loved ones. This is man’s number one regret, not having spent enough time with those they love

    Smile, breathe and go slowly.

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    (Photo credit: Nice and slow via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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