Wellness Starts With Awareness
I was aghast when the editorial/obituary said that this fellow rarely did fewer than two things at once and lauded him for doing so. He “opened his mail while discoursing on story ideas. When he went to lunch with a co-worker, he often took a book.” Apparently, he never turned down an assignment and he attacked the most mundane task as if a Pulitzer Prize “depended on it.”The piece concluded by observing that this gentleman had a forthcoming book wherein he decried that “it was a simple fact that ‘some people are better than others – smarter, harder working, more learned, more productive, harder to replace.'”
Cramming can Kill You
Don’t the good people at this magazine understand that cramming everything into your life at hyper speed leads to early death? I wrote to the magazine following this commentary, although I didn’t expect them to answer. I asked, “Where was the reflection in his life? When did he pause?
When did he ever reset his body clock? I understood that he was a notable individual, but to praise him publicly for doing two things at once, and in the same breath recount that he died of “a massive heart attack at 44 is dripping with irony.”
This person was the antithesis of someone who masters his environment. Rather, he let all assignments, all intellectual queries, all interests, anything, apparently, that appeared on his personal radar screen, to master him.
What About You?
In your life, what are some techniques that you could use daily to pause, collect your thoughts, reduce your level of stress, and move on with relative grace and ease?
1. Close your eyes for as little as 60 seconds and visualize a pleasurable scene. It could be a waterfall, a favorite hiking trail, a mountain top view, the shoreline, a campfire, or simply the image of a loved one. Any time that you can visualize a pleasurable scene, it is like resetting your internal clock. You get an immediate “time out.” Think of it as a vacation of the mind. When you return to where you are, invariably, you will be in at least a slightly better frame of mind.
2. As a variation on this theme, with your eyes closed, listen to music with your headphones. When you are concentrating solely on music that you like, giving it the undivided attention of one of your senses, the time begins to expand. A three or four minute song goes by, perceptually, in ten minutes.
3. Allow one of your senses–smell, taste, or touch–to dominate. For the next several minutes, close your eyes and simply explore your immediate environment by touch only. Yes, I know that you already know how many of these things will feel when you touch them. Make a game out of it.
Pretend that your sense of touch was the only vehicle that you had for understanding your environment. When you open your eyes again, the world will look a little different, and things will be a little less intense.
Do the same with your sense of smell. If you are in an office environment, and think that you don’t have options, look around you. Perhaps, there is a non-toxic smelling magic marker nearby. How about a flower or lead pencil or a cup of coffee? When have you stopped and actually smelled the coffee?
4. Play with Rover. Interacting with pets enables you to reset your internal clock. A growing body of evidence shows that pets have a calming, tranquil effect on people.
5. Notice your breath. Breath is the key to life. If you can’t breathe, you can’t live. In a particularly stressful environment, you may be engaging in shallow breathing. If you can draw three deep breaths, you will find that you can more easily feel in control.