A gap or a hamster wheel

Did you take a holiday this year?  I did.  Why did I go on holiday? Simply because I wanted a rest from the normal busy routine. I wanted to create a gap in my life and give my mind and body a rest.

Life is moving so fast these days.  It seems as though we blink and another month has gone by. Sometimes I feel like I am like one of those hamsters on a little wheel spinning ever so fast.  Do you ever feel like that? In a few short weeks it will be Christmas again.  It doesn’t look like life will be slowing down.

I think we are all going to need to learn strategies for managing the pace at which our lives are moving.

My favourite quote of the moment is from Charles Darwin who maintained that “it is not the strongest of the species that will survive – it is the one which can adapt”.

And adapt is what we must do in order to stay buoyant amidst the pressures of life today. We must learn to create a gap every now and again.

One of the best ways I know how to do this is to meditate.  Meditation does not have to be a cross legged pose on a mountain top or chanting for three hours every day. Not many people can make time for that. I think we need to learn how to snatch small pockets of time for a bit of quiet and stillness. These pockets of time will give our mind and body a chance to catch up and relax.

We can do this whilst sitting on the train or the bus, waiting for our meeting to start, boiling the kettle or hanging the washing out. Take a couple of minutes away from the phone, social media or newspaper and just breathe.  Slow your breathing down, just a little. Take a few deep breaths.  Did you know that one minute of proper breathing can rid the entire blood stream of cortisol? Imagine that!  That would help our bodies feel as though they have stepped off the hamster wheel.

Another very effective technique is to become totally focussed on the task in hand – for example making a cup of tea.  How many of us put the kettle on to boil and then go and take the rubbish out, check your emails etc and then mindlessly go back to pouring out the boiling water?  How long does it take to boil a kettle,  3-4 minutes? What if we used that three to four minutes, just once a day, to focus on the cup you select to pour the water into. Focus on the act of taking the cup and placing the tea or coffee in it in readiness for the boiling water. In the remaining time, you could take a few deep breaths.

You will find that everything will slow down as more oxygen fills your mind and body.  You will have created a gap. You will have stepped off the hamster wheel. Give it a go. I would love to know how you get on?