If I was to rank my number one issue in this life, it would be rushing through everything like I am in a race! Not only is this a very annoying habit, but it’s extremely damaging to your body.
I try to remember just when this became an issue with me. I don’t remember feeling this rushed when I was a teenager. Maybe I learned this in the Marines where everything is a fire! Maybe this just stuck with me and it is engrained now? Or maybe it’s a result of limbic system impairment due to a head injury? Whatever it is, I know it’s in my best interest to find ways to be more present. To live my life more in the peaceful parasympathetic mode!
So what does a typical day look like for someone hell bent on accomplishing ten thousand things before lunch? It starts with racing to get out bed to get on each task of the morning before work. I have some major issue with staying on a schedule. I work at this every day to loosen up. When I get in this mode though, I can feel the muscles clenching. I can feel the tightness in my jaw as I briskly move through each event as I mentally check them off my list, done! Onto the next! At some point I do catch myself racing to the next fire and I am able to get myself calmed down enough to breath. But this doesn’t happen until I have already spent an hour or longer going through this motion some days. I am so much better at this now than I used to be, but it still shows its ugly head every so often. It’s a constant game of breaking this pattern, resetting and then focusing on whatever you are doing right now! It’s easy to get out of practice and you will have to adjust back to center. It’s a continuous effort, but hands down is your best way to help contain chronic levels of cortisol in your body. If you suffer from this chronic pressing and rushing approach to life then you may benefit from taking a step back to take a deeper look at your own life. Here are some things that work for me below.
What things can you do to become more present in your own life?
Develop a morning routine. I can’t stress enough how important this has been for me. Something about starting your morning like this just puts a natural calm on everything else in the day. Over the last year especially, I have been very consistent with doing something positive my first hour of the day. Tony Robbins calls this the hour of power and rightfully so, it’s truly a game changer. I work from home and at one point I was getting up ten minutes before work with just enough time to make coffee and login to work to immediately start processing the troubles of the day. What a terrible way to start your day. I also did the same sort of thing when I was working in a traditional office as well and the result was an identical chaotic morning that leaked into the afternoon. How do you implement a new morning routine or any positive habit?
Planning is great, but don't get carried away
Plan and try to draft up a simple daily plan the night before. However, be careful to stay on the positive side of this as it can very deceptively turn into obsession. Do you know someone who writes the most massive to do lists? How about someone who doesn’t plan at all? Well the trick here is to try and stay in the middle and be easy on yourself. Developing a simple plan gives you some structure, but avoids the taxation of over planning.
Developing good habits takes practice!
Practice the small things to break the habits. What I mean by this is there most always will be little examples scattered throughout your life that give life to certain bad habits. For example when my left brain runs the show, I tend to do annoying things like changing the radio station. A lot! Or how about the TV channel guide. Forget about it! Catch these small things because they are all microcosms of a bigger component and once you can pick them off one at a time, the habit that is causing you pain has no legs to stand on.
Stay as focused as you can on one thing. Oh how hard is this one! We are bombarded daily with so many things that cause us distraction. You are working on something and then you are slammed with emails about a customer problem. Or maybe it’s more of a Facebook distraction that pulls your attention. If you let it continue, you will be five things into doing something else before you know it. Ignore the things you can. Turn off reminders. Close out browser windows. Work from a pad to jot down notes away from your computer. Whatever you need to do to focus do it if you can. One thing that helps me stay focused when reading or doing other things that need solo attention is to turn on some creativity, learning and studying bin-aural beats. Just do a YouTube search for these videos and play around with it.
I think this rushed mentality is pretty common in this country. If you drive a car in the city, you can see countless number of people rushing to get somewhere in a big hurry. You see it in the general body language of the people around you. You can hear it in the tone of the voices standing in line somewhere. You can smell the stress! If you are anything like me then you know that it never feels done. This is a mirage. Or that sometimes it feels like a constant struggle to stay focused on one thing before your brain tricks you into jumping to something else more exciting. This is also something that your brain does to protect you. Start to look at the little things inside of the big habit, pick those a part and dismantle the bigger problematic habit. Rushing through things, it’s a sure fire way to lose enjoyment in your own life! I hope these methods help you as much as they help me!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey