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The sweetness of doing nothing – The art of slowing down

Whether it’s work, chores, kids, to-do lists, ‘should do’ lists and will it ‘ever get done’ lists not to mention bucket lists. It’s fair to say that modern life moves at a demanding pace and doesn’t grant us much time to master the sweetness of doing nothing. It’s like being in a ‘hamster wheel’ and trust us when we say this isn’t a term of endearment.

 

Being busy is becoming an epidemic!

With the utmost respect to our once, much-loved family pet (that ironically died in its hamster ball – please don’t tell the kids!) we think it’s a great metaphor.

You see in this fast-paced world, we have all got used to being so busy. There is hardly any time left for doing nothing, for hanging out, chewing the cud and just being.

Somewhere along the line, it’s become okay to live at a frantic, unhealthy and unsustainable pace. Somehow, we have come to glorify busy. It’s become a badge of honour to stretch the bounds of your body existing on four hours of sleep only to be and exercising on the treadmill at 6am before you start meetings at 7am.

You only need to listen out and notice what people are saying to hear that being busy is becoming an epidemic. Listen out and you will notice people’s conversations loop on what they want to do because they are sooooo busy!

What this means is that the system isn’t going to help; the boss, the job, the kids, the chores, none of them will pause for you. You have to be the one that pauses them. You have to be the one to draw the line and make the TIME NOT TO BE BUSY.

For those who are perpetually occupied with hectic schedules and busy minds this could sound positively alarming but what if you knew the benefits enabled you to be better and more productive at what you do when you are back in busy mode then maybe you’d be more open to the idea?

 

Have we got you interested? Can you spare five minutes? Surely you can spare 300 seconds?

Great… Here’s what you can do then…

 

Start small

Start with small bite-sized chunks of time, say five minutes. Where you just sit without any distractions and practice doing nothing. You could do this in the garden, in the park it could be anywhere. The whole point is to fully and completely relax and let go so it’s important you feel safe. So home is a great starting point however it does mean you need to find a quiet spot and turn off all the gadgets and devices – that means no TV, no phone, no iPad – don’t worry it’s only five minutes and you can set the alarm if you can only spare five minutes!

 

And breathe

Yep, it’s that simple, just breathe. That’s all you need to do. Just notice the flow of breath, in and out of your body. The movement of air through the passageways, the rise and fall of your chest. It’s as simple as that!

When a thought creeps into your head (and it will) you can acknowledge, and release it. Or just leave it alone and return your attention to your breathing. The thought will naturally slip away. To begin with, it may be some minutes before you realise that you have gone down a particular rabbit hole with a train of thoughts. As soon as you notice you are off on a thought journey, break the momentum with a saying such as ‘that’s an interesting story’ and then return to your breath.

What you’ll find is that the more you practice this, the longer you will go without the thoughts which arise concerning you unnecessarily. At some point, the thoughts per minute will slow down and conversely the quiet space between them will grow. As you become accustomed to this space you may wonder why you took your thoughts so seriously in the first instance.

The more you practice, the easier it will become. Eventually, you will be able to use this technique anywhere, anytime. From the shower and the bath to sitting in the garden or on your lunch break at work; You will be able to switch off and stop being busy.

Learning the precious art of being un-busy will enable you to refuel your tank to be more productive and efficient. It will give you greater clarity, focus and concentration for those times when you need to fly. It will help you in mind, body and spirit, surely that has to be a win-win situation?

 

We hope you find these suggestions useful and as always feel free to email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

 

Namaste
Fiona and Gavin

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