7 Slow Down Strategies

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Do you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed? Is your schedule overloaded? Do you wonder where the energy will come from to get it all done?  You’re not alone. Taking time to slow down is a popular topic that comes up with some of my clients. After working together, many of them discover that we all need to internally slow down in our minds, slow down in our schedules and slow down in our activity.

It is usually our resistance to slowing down that causes the anxiety, fear and overwhelming feelings. When you think about slowing down, what comes up for you?  Some people have a fear that they won’t get everything done.  Others fear they will miss out on something. It is important to take a look at what slowing down really means to you. This might help to shift your perspective.  (Even the Energizer Bunny needs to change batteries at some point!) By slowing down, most of us end up feeling more energized, less stressed and a little lighter.  Doesn’t that sound nice? The good news is that it is totally possible. Here are 7 slow down strategies you might find helpful:

  • Breath. By consciously taking loooong, slooow, deeeeep breaths we can begin to slow down the heart rate and our racing thoughts as well. Control over our breathing is something that is always available to us, no matter what the circumstances might be.
  • Recognize limitations. Be gentle with yourself. Something has to give and sometimes it’s your very own expectations that apply the pressure to keep going and not slowing down.
  • Schedule time to relax. Block time on your busy calendar for YOU.  By planning a date and time on your calendar, you are making a commitment to take care of yourself.  Be sure to keep the date! Do something relaxing during your time like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, reading, meditating or listening to soothing music.
  • Make a list. Do a brain dump and write down all of the things you have on your mind.  There’s no need to worry about writing out sentences, correcting spelling or punctuation.  Just write it out.  This will release the mental clutter and your thoughts will slow down.
  • Avoid too much caffeine. The extra energy you get from the morning cup of java can also increase anxiety.  Try ordering a decaf coffee in the afternoon or evening.  Cutting back on the energy drinks will help as well.
  • Connect with Nature.  Disconnect from the electronics and spend some time with nature.  Take a walk in a park.  Make time for a hike.  Sit outside and observe Mother Nature. What kind of trees and flowers do you see.  What the birds, squirrels and other creatures in their natural habitats.  Connecting with nature will bring a calmness to you.  In turn, it will allow you to let go of the stress and slow down.
  • Remain grateful. We all have so many blessings to be grateful for in our lives.  The universe is taking care of us all the time.  Focusing on gratitude will help you to internally slow down and reconnect with your spirit.

It is important to give yourself permission to slow down. I challenge you to pick a few slow down strategies from the above list to practice on a regular basis. There are many other ways to slow down, so feel free to do whatever works best for you.  The goal is to slow down. After you start slowing down, make sure you recognize the positive difference it makes in your life.

Which slow down strategies will you focus on today?

Take Heartfelt Action

img_7165This week has felt like a wild roller coaster ride.  Emotions were running high with unforeseen twists and turns. It’s time to recenter. Let go of all negativity, dark energy, emotional walls and thoughts that do not serve the greater good.

Join in embracing our democracy. May we all come together and stand united to lift one another up. May our hearts remain open and filled with love, light, peace and hope. Let’s focus on what part each of us can play to make our home, community, state, country and world a better place.

The election is over, the reflection can begin.  Give yourself permission to be right where you are. Connect with your feelings. What have you learned about yourself and others through this experience?

Thoughts become things. Focus on the positive ones.  It takes practice. It’s a mindful choice. Each one of us can look within to determine if what we are putting out into the world is coming from a place of love or fear.  Are your words helpful or hurtful?

Take heartfelt action.  What can you do today to contribute towards the solution?  It can be on a small scale.  A random act of kindness goes a long way.  Listen to a friend who needs to be heard.  Smile at a stranger.  Check on an elderly neighbor.  Let a car in front of you during rush hour.  Hold the door for someone.  Let your loved ones know how much you love them.  Give a compliment.  Pay it forward.

Forgiveness

This article was written by Life Coach Jennifer Bridge

forgiveness

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.” ~Lewis Smedes

At some point in our lives, we all get hurt emotionally.  Until we forgive and get to the other side, it is nearly impossible to see the hold that it had on us.  Whether it is a friend acting disloyal, a significant other cheating, an employer laying us off or some other painful situation, life happens.  When we hold on to these experiences and become resentful, angry and re-feel the hurt and pain, we suffer even more.  It is easy to get caught in this vicious cycle of negativity.  For some people, it is easy to forgive.  For others, it takes a lot of work and time.  And some people never allow themselves to get to a place where they are able to forgive.

I think of forgiveness as an internal action that allows us to release negative emotions and reconnect to our spirit. Holding on to those painful parts of our past keep us from moving forward.  We get stuck in those overwhelming feelings.  We shut down and put up an emotional wall for protection.  But in reality, we shut out love and new opportunities to grow.

It is important to clarify what forgiveness is not as well.  Forgiveness is not forgetting.  As time goes by, it gets easier to ignore what happened and not think about it, but it is still there.  Forgiveness is the only way to free yourself and move on.

Forgiveness is not making excuses for what happened.  “They didn’t really mean to do it” or “They didn’t know better” are examples of some excuses you might tell yourself.  This mindset does not allow you to acknowledge the hurt and see it for what it really is and in turn, let it go.

Forgiveness is not justice or revenge.  Paybacks or getting even will not help you heal.  Hurting the person that hurt you might temporarily feel better, but it will ultimately bring you more pain. Forgiveness is a moral response to another person’s injustice.  It’s an inside job.

Forgiveness has the word “give” in it.  We give a gift to ourselves when we forgive others.  We give ourselves the freedom to move on and break the cycle of hurt we have been caught in.  We give ourselves a new perspective on life.  The darkness fades away and the world looks a little brighter through forgiving eyes.

Surrender

Don’t be attached to the outcome.
Continue with your efforts, and know that they are the right things for you to do at the moment, but surrender any attachment you have as to the outcome.
It’s the attachment to outcome, to things being a certain way, that brings us pain.
Peace comes with letting go, surrendering and acceptance.
It also makes us more open to learning from our experience, instead of resisting it.
~Michele J. Johnson