How often do you find yourself (or maybe your colleague) moving quickly from obligation to obligation without regard for a second to sit still? In our fast-paced lives, rarely do you see someone take the time for themselves. That is, rarely do people take time out of their lives for themselves.
While I think this is important to recognize, I also realize that the way that life is structured, it’s not easy to take time for yourself. There are always those 4 or 5 things at the bottom of the to-do list. Usually, things you’d like to do, like: play my guitar; hit the links; start writing my book; etc. I realize that it’s not easy. There’s so much going on in our lives that we often go from task to task, just trying to get it all done. I’ve already written about the importance of being present to what’s in front of you, but I think it’s equally important to take time between tasks.
What do I mean by that?
Take, for example, the person who just gets out of an important meeting at work and realizes that they are a few minutes late to pick-up their kid from daycare. They race from the elevator to their car and fly out of the parking garage, anxiously looking at the clock. They get to the daycare center and end up being a few minutes late (as predicted). However, this lateness isn’t an issue as there are other children who are awaiting rides. More importantly, our main character’s child, the one who needed to be picked up at “just the right time,” is busy engaged with one of their schoolmates.
There are a few things we could glean from this example, but I’m aiming for one: think about the time that our main character was “rushing” and thinking about “being late” to pick up their child. During this time, our main character’s physiology was reacting. The adrenal glands were pumping adrenaline into the veins (as the body does when it encounters stress). This increased stressful state, however, was completely unnecessary. There was no imminent danger on the way from work to the daycare center for our main character. Our main character would have arrived (at the same time) and without the added adrenaline coursing through their veins. Most notably, our main character would have arrived much more relaxed had they taken even a few seconds to sit still.
There are millions of examples of this happening everyday around the world. I would hazard a guess that they are on the decline. With the growing prevalence of meditation in the western world (over 125,000,000 hits on google!), people are learning how to be relaxed. They are learning to take things a little slower and set aside some time in the day for themselves. I think this bodes well for those people who do so, but also for the rest of the people in the world. As we lower our stress threshold, we are better equipped to deal with the stressors of our daily lives (without overreaction).
So, do yourself a favor and before you engage in your next activity/task, take a minute (or a few seconds) to clear your thoughts and clear your head. You’ll be surprised how useful you may find this.