In today's speedy world, slowing down can be very difficult.
At the speed at which things are happening with the internet these days, everything around us has increased, except the 24 hours in a day.
If you think back - many years back - they delivered a letter by horse and it took weeks for the letter to reach the person it was sent to, because the roads was not too good either. Later on they started building roads and letters were delivered by the post office via vehicles. They started promising that they can deliver a letter within 3 days and that was fast.
But let's look at those 3 days, now you got the letter and replied. The next morning you went to the post office and posted the letter and in the end it is a week since the person who sent you the letter got an answer.
These days, you get an e-mail and within the next five or ten minutes it must be read and answered. So where in the old days you had an entire week it is now 5 minutes. (can you see why we have allot more things to do than we have time for?)
- Do you feel like life is whizzing past you without a moment to catch your breath?
- Do you feel like you battle to keep up with the demands of work and home?
REST ASSURED YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
A fast-paced lifestyle has become a huge habit in our society and unfortunately the constant pressure to get things done and achieve as quickly as possible can have serious health implications - of which the most common is heart disease and increased emotional anxiety and depression.
In this goal-orientated environment we are living in, self-worth is often based on achievements instead of who you are. So slowing down requires a radical change of mindset. You have to learn to find fulfillment living in the moment rather than through the success of your career, your children or the size of your home.
It's about cultivating an appreciation of the world around you ... watching the sunset, listening to others or doing something just for the fun of it.
Only a generation ago, before computers and smartphones helped us fill our lives with high-speed, wall-to-wall activity, there was more time to connect - with ourselves and with others. Yet in our frenetic lives, some of these interactions are endangered. Because of the benefits they bring, they're worth rescuing from extinction!!
We will break these up under the endangered list:
Slowing down enough to have a meaningful conversation can lead to more fulfilling, intimate relationships, because you make the time to listen, to get to know someone and to connect with them. So instead of having only functional communication - geared exclusively at communicating information - you can enjoy a leisurely chat, which may be rambling and unpredictable because there's no particular agenda.
With Skype, Facebook, Twitter, chat rooms, instant messaging and a host of other real-time communication tools, more people are chatting to others more than ever. But the nature of the communication is fast and fragmanted - you choose when you want to start and end the virtual conversation.
As a result, even in the communication age, many people are lonely. One of the things most people yearn for is to feel heard and experience an interaction with someone that is deeply connecting, in which we explore what we have in common, individual interests, as well as memories and shared experiences. An interaction that may lead us through a range of emotions, laughter and even moments of comfortable silence.
Having a meaningful conversation means that you have to be attentive to your own feelings and responses, such as joy, or anger which requires self-awareness. It means listening to the other person as well as to yourself.
Face-to-face conversation is ultimately necessary for creating wisdom and awareness about self and others.
I had a situation the other day, where one of my friends were visiting me and her daughter and her daughter's niece and nephew came along. As we were talking, all the children started laughing simultaneously and we asked why, because none of us were telling a joke. They were all sitting in the same room and they were sending jokes to one another via BBM. (Blackberry Messaging). The children these days are learning to communicate without really communicating - how will it be in the future if it continues this way - they are all talking over the cellphones and I don't think they can really have a normal conversation with one another any more.
2. LETTER WRITING
Can you remember when last you wrote a letter by hand on beautiful writing paper, addressed and envelope, put a stamp on it and posted it off to someone far away?
Or even more exciting, when you received a thick, handwritten letter, stuffed into your postbox? The anticipation of opening that letter while curled up on the couch with a cup of tea is almost as much fun as actually reading it.
Of course there's lots to be said for the instant back-and-forth of email, but there's also something enticing about the delayed gratification of "snail mail".
Apart from that, letter writing requires you to slow down enough to quiet you mind so that you're focused and engaged in your present activity - that alone has incredible value.
Deliberate letter writing is also a way to process your own experiences. Studies show that people who write about their traumas, for instance, shows better mood and health.
Writing a letter not just a clashed off note or email message, can also be a way of building intimacy with someone or a means of strengthening a relationship through sharing deep, personal thoughts, hopes, dreams that emerge only when you slow down enough to give the time to surface.
3. DO IT YOURSELF
Despite or perhaps because of the pressure to perform at break-neck speed, there's a growing emphasis on mindfulness, which has been shown to reduce stress and enhance psychological wellbeing. It is the underlying principle of Eckhart Tolle's best-seller : The power of Now as well as Slowing down to the speed of life (to find these books, see affiliate links bellow). In this book, authors Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey say:
"we have all experienced living in the moment many times - during a crisis, being struck by the beauty of a sunset or some other natural phenomenon, failing in love, listening to music, hearing an inspiring speaker. During these moments, time seems to stand still and the buzz of our personal thinking briefly subsides. We see life first hand, for we have slowed down to the speed of life. These rare moments have the ability to reduce our stress, give us hope and fill us with joy and inspiration."
Although I would never wish on any one to loose someone close to them, this makes me think of twice in my life when people very close to me died. The first was our first child and the second my father in law. I don't know if everyone experiences this, but for me as we were driving to and from the mortuary, I had the funniest feeling - it was as if time was standing still. I was looking out the window (luckily I wasn't driving) and it seemed like we were moving slow motion and everyone else was moving fast and in a hurry to get to whatever they were busy with. I can remember thinking "how can these people go on running like this when my entire life is standing still and falling apart." If only we can learn to slow down without tragedy.
A DIY activity such as restoring furniture can have a similar effect. It puts you "in the zone" where time is meaningless and the entire focus of your being is on your present activity.
Without the pressure of time-driven goals and others' expectations, you become completely absorbed. So whether you're restoring furniture, making your own clothes or varnishing your wooden fence, slowing down and being totally present in those moments of doing can be just as refreshing as a much needed holiday!!
So, please use these tips about 3 ways to slow down, because in this technology age, we need to hear the birds and see God's creation. Remember to look around you when running up and down the shops to quickly finalize shopping in a hurry. Start looking at the people around you again, can you see someone maybe hurting or feeling sad - when last did you see the people around you instead of just running past them?
This article was first posted on all-about-life-tips.com by Linda Pretorius entitled "3 small ways to slow down" to let us think about the running age we are moving into and running about in.