When It’s Time To Slow Down
As I ran to jot down yet another movie I just had to watch on Netflix that a friend told me about and realized I had a list going that I wasn’t even coming close to touching, it occurred to me- there is so much we have to keep up with– it’s INSANE!!!
Stay On Top of It All List
- Catch up on DVR
- TV Shows
- Youtube Videos
- ETC. ETC. ETC.
The next thought was, unless we become conscious of this, it is so easy to be swallowed into a never ending hamster wheel of information and stimulation overload.
By constantly consuming information from the outside world, it puts our brain on what I like to think of as a treadmill that never stops. For some, it gets turned off at night when you sleep. But for many others, even that has become a problem and they need to use prescription drugs or alcohol to be able to turn it off and knock out. What’s worse is that this constant, around the clock on the GO vibe and using RX meds to shut it down has become normalized. And it’s far from normal.
Beyond that, what I realized is that if your brain is in treadmill mode
There is no time for self reflection or observance of thoughts, because it’s just GO, GO, GO. Now that I’ve learned to slow the f$%^ down and observe my thoughts (and the struggle is real trying to master this), holy shit, the fucked up stuff that I catch myself saying to of all people, myself. And if I was still on that treadmill I would be unconsciously internalizing and believing these thoughts. And that’s a FUCK NO! (thank you Mark Manson)
What does observing your thoughts mean and what does it look like versus not?
I’ll give you an example. I walk down to the park to go for an early morning run. As I start my run I go deep into a problem at work that creates fear. I create a story about that (even though nothing has happened). From that feeling of fear I go into self bashing- you aren’t good enough, you won’t make it, etc. etc. I’ll finish my run and as I stop to stretch realize that I was in my head the entire time. I have no recollection of the run, the trees, flowers, birds and plants that surround me. And worse, I still have a pit in my stomach, don’t feel any better and have subconsciously put myself down, thereby only propelling that type of behavior. Some fucked up shit that is sneaky as hell and happens way too easy.
Example two. Woke AF version. I start my morning run by giving thanks to the beautiful nature and sun that surround me. I get lost staring at trees, plants and the lake while feeling incredibly grateful for these things. The work problem creeps into my mind. I catch it this time and tell myself- That hasn’t happened yet, don’t start tripping about something that hasn’t happened. And if it does happen, then it’s meant to be and you need to surrender, know it’s for the best and you will deal with it if and when it does. Self bashing doesn’t happen because I’ve stopped the spiraling just as it started. Now time to sprinkle some fairy dust on this shit. With blood moving through my body, the sun shining down on my skin, I-AM-FEELING-GOOD. And now I flip the script. Gala, you are enough right now. You are doing a great job. You can deal with whatever comes your way and honestly, how lucky are you to be alive right now? Blueberries, peonies and giraffes (see previous post to understand). The Universe is an incredible place and wants you to succeed. BOOM. I finish my run, stretch and walk home feeling fly as fuck.
Now imagine what your day looks like after morning run # 1 versus morning run #2. That shit is like night and day. And unless you slow down for a second, there is no way you can become a master of your mind, catch when you are having negative thoughts and redirect the conversation. And now just like that, all of the sudden, carving out time for silence and slowing down becomes much more important than staying on top of “The Stay On Top of it All” list.
So how to slow down and create this space?
I feel like deep breathing with eyes closed in and out of your nose always helps take things down a notch. This could be followed by a walk in nature where you observe and enjoy her silence (for guided nature walks which are out of this world, reach out to my friend Alex Soto who runs Urban Nature Walks). Meditation is another goodie. I have friends that swear by Headspace and that has made daily meditation possible for them. If you want to go deeper, a mantra based technique has been incredible for me and makes the magical state of no thought a breeze. Check out Thom Knoles’ website for more on this. There are teachers all across the world that teach this technique. Yoga is another awesome practice that slows you down and who’s postures help rebalance and realign your system. And the list goes on and on.
The thing is, if you begin practicing one of these and have the desire to change and willingness to practice constantly (without beating yourself up when you fail because this can happen), you will slowly begin to see a change. Suddenly, you feel better, more confident and your outlook on life becomes cup half full versus half empty which makes the world a much happier and supportive place to live in.