After coming back from South America- tramping twice the distance of Everest and spending time in the Andian Mountains, I had a lot of thinking time. A lot of time to slow down, to relax, to be present, and to just BE. I think we get caught up in our day to day life sometimes and forget the importance of actually being present in what we are doing and in our moments- well I know before we left that was me.
We all go through different stages in life, and I guess since I have had 2 children and working part-time I have gone through a stage of ‘busyness’. Getting up in the morning and thinking about my ‘to do’ list-of all the things that I wanted to achieve in that day. And of course- I would get to the end of the day, not having achieved half of it- as it was too much! Even getting through 3/4 of it was asking too much, as all I was thinking about once I had accomplished one thing- was getting onto the next thing. This was not necessary work, or jobs; it was even doing things that I enjoy- my exercise time, time with my family, time meeting with friends. By packing my days so fill and with things that I needed to get through, I was not actually being fully present IN the moment. And it was not until I removed myself from all this- high up in the Andes that I have realised what I have been doing. I have been a Human Doing and not a Human Being. And I think we all may fall into this trap at some stage of our lives. So I thought I would write some tips so you too can check in with yourself:
Are you a Human Being or a Human Doing?
Our world is an amazing place- and when you slow down to ‘smell the roses’ wonderful things can happen. Scientifically your heart rate and blood pressure drops, your cortisol (stress hormone) decreases and your serotonin (happy hormone) increases. This helps you think more clearly, your body processes work more naturally and your energy levels increase. Psychologically your perception changes- the way you ‘perceive’ stress, negative things in your life, your workload, your relationships (to mention a few) can all change- just from taking a bit of the ‘slow down’ approach. I have noticed this since having children- and anyone who has gone for a walk with a 3 year would understand. You cannot rush, you cannot even walk fast- and I think this is great. They actually make you stop and look at a bug on the ground, or a butterfly flying past or a rainbow in the sky. These wonderful aspects of nature- that when in a rush or too busy we can easily miss. But if you don’t have a toddler to slow you down- make sure you take the time out to notice these small things, or watch things you wouldn’t normally watch- be aware to all your senses.
Be in the present moment
I am finding that this takes practise. But as soon as you are aware of how present you are being- it will become easier. Be inspired by being in the present- don’t be in the past and try not to think of the future. Be fully aware of what you hear, what you see, what you are thinking, what you are doing. Focus- focus on your breathe and relax. Hobbies are also a great thing to take up. When you are doing something that you love and that involve you being fully present in order for the goal to be achieved then you are automatically in the present moment, and some may find it easier then others. Having a hobbie gives you motivation, some time to yourself and time for your mind to be fully present in something that you love.
“Give yourself permission to take time to breathe, to live life, to give, to love, to reflect and to just BE” Rob Bell. Too often we go through our daily lives taking short, sharp breathes from the chest. By developing a habit of deep, conscious breathing techniques you will change your physiologically and psychological state within 10 breathes. This is amazing! And can be a game changer in your stress levels, energy and ability to be in the present moment. Start practising deep, diaphragmatic breathing when lying flat on the ground or in bed- put your hand on your stomach, and when you inhale, your belly should rise, when you exhale it will deflate, google it! Once you have got it- you can use this method of breathing anytime and anywhere, and then hopefully it will just become normal. When you need to slow down, be present and relax- breathing is a great thing to focus on and bring your attention to.
I have a few more tips and tricks that I am reminding myself every day to do- and to keep checking in with myself not to get caught up in the busyness of ‘life’ and to just enjoy the party! I will let you ponder the ones above and then in my next blog will carry on.
Until then I will leave you with this great quote from the Dalai Lama that I have always loved:
“What surprises me most is “Man”, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; The result being he doesn’t live in the present or the future; He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”