The Art of Slowing Down
Fall is in full swing and it is the time of year that reminds us to not only take stock, reaping our harvest, but it is also a time of year that encourages us to move inside. Spending time with Self is invaluable, and now is a good time to slow down. Slowing down is the key to living a more meaningful, fulfilling, and happy life.
The present moment is full of gifts and life can pass you by when you are always on the go, or multitasking. Being present requires paying close attention to what you are doing in the here and now. These simple questions can firmly anchor you in the present moment-- what do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel?
Here are some other simple ways to practice slowing down.
Awe is an incredible way to practice slowing down. You can often discover beauty in simple ways and in nature's simple, yet complex cycles, just outside of your front door. Awe has a powerful way of helping to shift your perspective when it is necessary. Where you place your attention matters, and it is easy to get carried away in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life. Awe triggers the part of your nervous system responsible for pleasure and expansion. The experience of awe can bring you back to the present moment offering relief from unnecessary and taxing worry.
Enjoy the natural beauty around you, or head to the museum.
The power of unplugging is undeniable. When was the last time you left your phone at home while you went to the grocery store? How about a music-free, podcast-free, distraction-free walk? Unplugging is as simple as turning your cell phone off for one hour, twice a week. We are constantly being inundated with news, trends, messages, and other notifications. We are constantly checking messages from co-workers, friends, family and the like, and you might even experience phantom notifications.
Sleeping with your phone outside of your room is a great place to begin.You could even invest in an “old school” alarm clock. You might even head to a music event and leave your phone in your car.
There are too many false justifications for why we “need” our phones and what has likely happened is, you have become too available. Your to-do list can wait an hour or two; you can text and call your family and friends back in a little while, and you deserve to have time to yourself. Not only will this greatly benefit your mental health it will help you reclaim some of your peace and power.
Take an Intentional Seat
Meditate. Meditation can seem overwhelming and if you do not meditate you may have many preconceived notions about meditation. Meditation is for everyone. Sti down in a chair and feel your feet on the floor, or you might sit on the floor. Close your eyes or steady your gaze, breath deeply and slowly and simply observe without judgment. This quiet time with Self is invaluable. The benefits available to you through meditation are clarity, ease, stress management, and inspiration.
Be an Active Listener
There is always a lot happening and since we are a culture mostly bound to electronics, being an active listener becomes a practice that requires more and more practice, and intentionality. When you are in any intimate or social situation, start to truly pay attention to what others are saying. Make eye contact, uncross your legs and arms and turn your palms to an open position to receive.
All of these practices support slowing down and coming back to the gifts of the present moment. You deserve this time, don’t let it pass you by!