Slow Down

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Do you ever listen to yourself talking and wish you would just shut the hell up? I know you’ve thought that about someone who was talking to you. Have you ever been in a room full of people who are all trying to sound clever instead of listening to each other? I think that many of us substitute talking for thinking. What’s even worse is when we chatter on while simultaneously conversing over electronic devices.

We need to practice slowing down. Here are some exercises you can try to slow down and become more present in the moment:

Textspeak:

Try slowing a conversation down to the pace of text messaging: Speak one or two sentences, and each person waits 30 seconds to respond to the other person. It can make conversing much more intentional and focused.

Three Breaths:

Take three breaths before responding to what you’ve just heard. The first breath is to let go of everything you were thinking while the other person was talking. The second breath is to focus on what the speak just said. The third breath is to respond to what the speaker said.

Prepare with Breathing:

Before entering a room full of people, do the following:

1. Cup both hands next to, not touching, ears, with fingers pointing up.

∞ Breath in deeply through the nose

2. While exhaling through the mouth, move hands palm-to-palm in prayer position in front of your face

∞ Breath in deeply through the nose

3. While exhaling through the mouth, move hands together down to prayer position in front of the heart.

4. Repeat 2 or 3 times

This is a move comes from Purna Yoga.

When Tense:

Take three deep breaths. On the inhales, breath in all the tension of the troubling situation. On the exhales, think, “calmness and centeredness.” It may seem counterintuitive to breath in the tension, but you are accepting it, not running away from it, and strengthening and projecting outward your calmness and centeredness.

Mindful Bites:

Start a meal with three mindful bites: Pay attention to the smell, texture, color and taste of the food. Place your eating utensils down between the bites. Chew each bite 30 times, and intentionally swallow.

Slow Walk:

Take a very slow walk, preferably in nature. Notice all the details that you normally don’t see because of your body’s and mind’s speed. Listen, smell, and look. Each time your mind drifts to things you have to get done, gently bring it back to the moment.

Family Read:

Sit and read with your family or friend. Cats are good reading companions. Either read individually*, or try read-alouds. Either way, you are spending time together with more of a singular focus and the chatter turned off.

*The cat doesn’t have to read – it can slip into a trance-like meditative state at a moment’s notice, and needs no tools like books or mindful breathing to focus on the moment.

The Space Between:

Spend five minutes noticing the space between things. Notice the space between your breaths. Remember that it’s not the walls and the ceiling that we live in – it’s the space between them. The surface of a drinking glass is necessary to delineate the vessel, but the water resides in the space within. Focusing on the space between things should help you to think about what’s real and important to you.

For more unsolicited advice on how to live, touch this magic flower: daisy

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4 Responses to Slow Down

  1. EricIndiana says:

    Here’s another one to promote mindfulness: Try doing something differently that you normally do by rote. For example, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. This will bring your attention to an act that you usually do on autopilot.

  2. Words of play says:

    I realised that I need to take this advice into serious consideration as I skimmed over the post as fast as my retinas would allow.

    Though I manage to give myself at least 15 minutes a day to focus on my breath and the present moment, I manage to spend the rest of the day stuck on fast-forward while repeatedly replaying past events in my mind like a dysfunctional video player.

    I suppose now I’ve finally commented on one of these posts, I should let you know that you are my favourite logger of all the web-based kind. Your whimsical wit and witty whimsy have inspired me to give birth to a web-log of my own.

    I have a number of questions I’d like to pose to you, but I’m not sure if this is the right place to have them posed.

    Thank you for making it 16 minutes.

    • Words of play says:

      I posted that comment prematurely due to a finger spasm, but all I need to add really is: where do I direct my questions?

      • EricIndiana says:

        Thanks for the kind words. You can direct question via any comment space, if you’re willing to make them viewable to the public. Or, you can ask a question in a comment & tell me not to “approve” it & I won’t post it, or I’ll delete it if it automatically gets posted. As long as you don’t cleverly disguise your comment as spam, i.e., “Your blog answers my questions for my dad. What theme do you use? But it could load faster!” I’ll be sure to respond.

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