You look longingly out your window. The sun is shining and there’s the smell of early summer in the air.
You wish you could go outside, but you have so much to do. Closing your eyes, you think back to when you were growing up, to times when all your friends could go out and play but you still needed to study for a test the next day.
Everything right now seems so hard. Everything right now feels so dreary.
There’s just so little joy in your life these days…and way too much stress.
Nerve-wracking, soul-sucking stress.
There is another way, you know. A way that is as relaxing as it is easeful.
Finding the Courage to Slow Down and be Present
Why does slowing down take courage? Because it means stepping back from the stress that often rules our lives. It means learning to “dance to a different drummer,” if you will. And it means putting yourself and your needs before those of the outside world.
That’s not always easy.
When it comes to slowing down and being present, listening is key. Sit down in a quiet place and close your eyes. Go inside yourself and really listen. What is your body telling you? What are you feeling? And what are those feelings trying to tell you?
Do you really want to go on letting those feelings of stress and frustration control you? Or would you rather live life from a place of consciousness, presence, and peace?
Joy simply cannot exist in an atmosphere of stress and frustration.
So, you choose:
Frustration or freedom?
Mindless living or mindfulness?
Hectic busy-ness or thoughtful presence?
Stress-filled existence or joyful life?
Why it’s Worth Slowing Down
Now you may be thinking: if I slow down, I’ll get less done. But here’s the thing: doing tasks calmly and consciously helps us be more effective at what we do. And the more effectively we work, the more time we save.
When I talk about slowing down and being present, I’m not suggesting we rest on our laurels.
Quite the opposite. Do what needs to be done, but do it consciously. Learn to focus on one task at a time. Do it with a smile on your face and look for ways to truly enjoy it.
In my experience, even the most difficult tasks are easier when done from a place of focus and presence—letting go of judgement, frustration, and anger—so I can just get on with it, one step at a time.
After all, grumbling won’t make the pile of work on your desk any smaller, right? And adding a smile is such an easy thing to do; not to mention, smiling releases happiness hormones (whether you mean it or not)!
When you catch yourself feeling stressed or frustrated, smile. Bite on a pencil if you have to!
Just know that your smile affects your thinking and positive thoughts go a long way toward determining the success you’ll have.
It’s a win-win situation. By dealing with one thing at a time, we get more done. When we work more consciously, we not only have more time to do more of what we enjoy, we also enjoy more of the things we need to do. And the more we enjoy what needs to be done, the more relaxed we feel.
That’s really the essence of a joyful life! Not waiting for joy to come to us but simply enjoying life on every level.
So, how do we let go of stress and become more conscious in our daily life?
Here are my three best tips to get you started:
Be worth more to yourself than the busy-ness going on around you.
You don’t deserve a stressful life and, chances are, you’re not happy about stress trying to run yours. You are worth so much more than that! When you feel stress creeping in, breathe. It only takes a few moments:
>> Breathe in, to the count of three. Breathe deeply and consciously.
>> Exhale, to the count of three. Let go of the stress and hecticness you feel.
>> Repeat three times.
See…I told you it wouldn’t take much time.
Quite often, when we’re feeling stressed, we’re also breathing quickly and shallowly. Brain fog is a result, making it hard to focus on what matters most. Taking a few conscious, deep breaths relaxes us and clears our mind.
Make a conscious decision to let go of stress and live your life from a place of peace and calm. I won’t lie to you. It takes practice but it is so worth it. And so are you.
Commit to taking care of yourself the same way you take care of others.
For so many women, it’s too easy to put others’ needs ahead of their own. And yet, not taking care of yourself is the fastest way to feeling stressed and frustrated—and even resentful and depressed.
If you really want to live your life from a place of peace and calm, your mind, your body, and your soul need space to grow and evolve. Take the breaks you deserve. Make sure you get enough rest and exercise. Treat yourself.
Don’t put this off ’til later…because later never comes.
Decide what you really need right now and make time for it. Put together a self-care routine and stick to it—not because you “should” but because you’re worth the effort!
Get clear on where it is you want to go and why.
All too often, we get caught up in the busy-ness of life because we just aren’t clear about where it is we really want to go. Instead of seeking clarity on what we want in life, we waste a lot of energy focusing on what we don’t. The constant thought traps and whirlwind multitasking add to the stress we feel.
To put an end to it, get clear on what’s really bothering you. Figure out where the nagging thoughts are coming from. Take time to listen and really hear what’s going on inside.
When awareness hits, do what you can to let it go.
From there, start thinking about what it is you really want. How do you want to live your life? Where do you want your life to take you? How do you want to do things differently? What’s one small step you could do today?
My wish for you is that you find the courage to be more present in your life. I wish you joy and ease, and all the good things that come from loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and living your life in the best way possible—for you.
What do you think?
Do you have the courage to slow down? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.