Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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The Art of Slowing Down

The world is getting busier and our biology can’t keep up.

 

So, we end up in a stress response, or fight-or-flight, for most of our waking hours. We respond to more stimuli in a day than our ancestors did in their lifetime.  We are not built for this… we are built to get stressed, and then have a period of recovery, much like an animal after it gets chased. It always follows up with a shaking episode where the body recovers, then relaxes….stress hormones subside…. muscles relax.

 

As a result, it’s not surprising that anxiety and depression are on the rise as well as stress-related disease. It is estimated that stress-related illness accounts for 90% of visits to a GP’s office. This is not to say that stress caused the illness, but stress exacerbates many conditions… and that’s a fact.

 

So,  how does this relate to the art of slowing down? This doesn’t mean DO things slower, it means taking time out to appreciate the small things (for they are all small things in the end) and value BEING over DOING from time to time. Recently I put my back out and had a forced slowing down which was probably just what I needed. This was a gift. I saw the beauty in life, in walking, in hanging with my kids with no agenda. I don’t have time is no excuse anymore. If you don’t have time for health then you must have time for illness……

 

“When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you”.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Can you stop today, take 2-3 deep breaths, focus on something beautiful in your surroundings? Mindfulness changes brains.

 

Stop saying “I’m so busy”. In fact, stop saying the word “busy”. It only causes stress and adds to the myth that busy is better.  Next time someone asks you how you are, tell them something you are LOVING lately.

 

Make a commitment to give up complaining. It sucks energy and focusses on what what you DON’T want.  Say right now “I make a commitment to myself to stop complaining”.  Watch what happens as you focus on what you DO want. Again, changing neural pathways!!

 

Slowing down does not mean slow motion. It means opening yourself up to notice the good things that surround you all the time…  and you will find you get things done easier, quicker, happier..  the journey is the destination. This is the gift of mindfulness.

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