6. Taking your foot off the pedal
Who else is at charging about at break-neck speed? Who else is suffering as a result? Not just me, I hope.
A challenge for you this week - what activity can you take your foot off the metaphorical accelerator pedal and slow down?
Do you notice if you are speaking more quickly than usual? Not giving people the true gift of your time and attention?
What happens when we are racing around at speed?
You may miss something or make a mistake
Moving at pace you are less likely to help others
You make poorer judgements
With the "Stress Response", hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol raise the heart rate, quicken the breath and prime the muscles for action. It's a vital survival mechanism, however long-term stress can cause serious damage.
On the other hand, with the "Relaxation Response":
your heart rate decreases
breathing becomes slower and deeper
blood pressure stabilises
your muscles relax.
When we are stressed and our minds are racing, we inevitably end up in a fog, we can't catch one thought – they whirl and chase - fogging up our judgement and our ability to see and think clearly.
This nugget of a virus is creating chaos; however, the world doesn't happen 'to' us, the world is what happens because of our relationship to IT.
Use the attached short breathing space when you notice yourself speeding up – use it to temper those whirling thoughts, allow the sunshine to penetrate and the fog to disappear off into the middle distance.
Once you have slowed down – reflect in your journal:
What do you notice about your emotional landscape or your sense of well-being when you do?
What benefits are there to slowing down?
Capture in your journal what you noticed during your practice, and when in the day you found it useful.
Further reading for those interested:
The overall pace of life has increased by 10% worldwide since the mid-90's. In some places, it has even increased by 20%
Richard Wiseman British Psychologist conducted a study in the early 1990's that demonstrated that pedestrians speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city, and that people in fast-moving cities are less likely to help others and have higher rates of coronary heart disease, you can even take your own pace test!