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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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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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