How to Tackle Your Goal to “Slow Down”
This week, I want to encourage you to take some “time” to reflect on your relationship with time and what effect it has on your life.
The fast pace of today’s American lifestyle is a well-known fact, as is the profound effect nonstop hurrying has on your health. Think about the way you go through your daily activities. Do you allot plenty of time to get them all done? Do you do them with ease and enjoy what you are doing? OR do you rush with clenched jaw and fists throughout the day, not noticing anything except for your to do list, feeling totally stressed, and as though there is NEVER enough time?
One important question to decode the time-crunch mystery is: what is your personal relationship to time? Are you always late? Always early? (Both are really opposite sides of the same coin, as they both cause stress.) Do you see time as your enemy? As something that happens to you? That you have no control over?
Let’s first discuss how your relationship to time is determined. A plethora of psychological and environmental factors combine to create your specific time dynamic. The good news is that none of that matters if you really want to change it. Awareness is the first step. Desire for a different experience is the next.
Part of what I want you to explore is MINDFULNESS: clear moment-to-moment awareness of what is actually happening. When you are thinking about what’s next, you are robbed of the current moment. Living in the future, immediate or long-term, can be a trap for inaction.
Let me share my time transformation story. In January 2007, I saw the documentary The Secret. While watching the film, I had a shocking epiphany about my relationship to time. I was always proud about NEVER being late and had very little tolerance for tardiness. I left restaurants, fought with people, and self-righteously judged latecomers. My friends fell into two categories—the ones I could count on and the flaky ones (a.k.a. time challenged). I rushed everywhere, all the time, even when there was no reason. For me, rushing made me short-tempered with people. Tourists walking slow in Time Square would send me into a tizzy of anger and negativity. The sweeping generalizations would start and the rest of my day would be colored in harshness. I never thought about this dynamic until that night. The amount of self-induced stress I was creating was embarrassing once I realized what was happening. For all of those years, I thought time was happening to me, only to realize it was all in my mind.
The first thing I did with my newfound knowledge was to pledge, “no rushing anywhere, anymore.” When I did that, my world changed. I started affirming everyday that I had exactly the right amount of time I needed. My husband would lovingly remind me when I forgot. Our dynamic changed completely around time. My typical “you are going to make me late” rant ended. I would expect him to make me late, and, therefore, he would not disappoint. We have a great friendship and a great marriage, yet things would really turn acrimonious around this issue. Removing that dynamic from our lives has been a blessing.
Another major change that happened for me was my ability and desire to BE HERE NOW. No matter what is happening, I want to be here to experience it, mind and body. The main shift internally is the elimination of a boatload of daily stress. I consciously choose not to stress about time even if the subway is running late, thereby making me late. The world will not end. I will not spontaneously combust into flames.
How can you figure out your relationship to time? Start by honestly assessing how you behave in time-related situations. Then ask the people in your life. Does how you relate to time cause stress in your relationship with them? Are you present in your life most of the time, some of the time, or not much of the time? Once you have figured out your time style, or dysfunction as it might be, journal about how it makes your feel. Recall instances where it has created a problem in a relationship or a work situation. Now think about how you want to be. Make a list of bold statements in the present tense and then change your mind about time.
Life is too amazing to be ruled by the clock in either direction. And your relationships are to precious to be negatively impacted by time-related resentments. You can change your mind about time.
As always, I am interested to here of your time conundrums or maybe the tips and tricks you have developed to allow time to be on your side.
Here’s to a week filled with enjoying the present moment you can share with your family, friends, co-workers, or maybe even some much-needed alone time.
Terri Cole – Psychotherapist & Transformation Coach
Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. For almost two decades, Terri has empowered celebrities, professional athletes, and individuals alike through television, radio, and other media appearances, speaking engagements, workshops, and a thriving private practice to redesign limiting mental blueprints. Her holistic approach to transformation recognizes the interdependency between a healthy mind and body. Terri’s strategies combine practical psychology, thought innovation, and harnessing the power of intention, to create sustainable change. She has a unique ability to take complex theories and translate them into actionable steps you can implement into your daily life. A cornerstone of Terri’s practice, meditation, was the impetus for her recently released guided mediation CD “Meditation Transformation”. After contributing to Kris Carr’s best-selling Crazy Sexy Cancer book series, Terri is now working on her first solo project, Flip Over and Float, documenting her proven 6-step formula for turning fear into freedom and pain into purpose. In Fall 2012, she will begin hosting a Hay House radio show, giving listeners who are swimming upstream easy tools to flip over and float.