Press pause

Too much go­ing on? Here’s how to slow down and dis­cover your true needs

Health & Fitness - - Contents -

How to slow down and dis­cover your true needs.

Got some­thing on your mind? Ac­tu­ally, in the course of a day, you’re likely to have around 60,000 things on your mind. That’s an aw­ful lot of ideas to be jug­gling. Add a de­mand­ing work sched­ule, gar­den­ing pro­ject or wed­ding to plan and that fig­ure rock­ets. It’s ex­haust­ing just think­ing about it!

‘For many of us, life has be­come a run­ning para­graph with no punc­tu­a­tion,’ says Danielle Marchant, au­thor of new book Pause: How to press pause be­fore life does it for you (Aster, £12.99). At best, the merry-go-round of com­mut­ing, long days at the of­fice and do­mes­tic chores means there’s lit­tle time left for you. At worst, push­ing your­self too hard can lead to de­pres­sion and a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem. ‘Pause is the full-stop that al­lows us to con­sider the next sen­tence in our lives,’ says Marchant. ‘In that space, there lies the op­por­tu­nity for re­fec­tion and, per­haps, tran­si­tion or change.’

Paus­ing is all about mak­ing new dis­cov­er­ies. It al­lows you con­tact the part of your­self that knows what you truly need, what makes you deeply happy. It en­ables you to con­nect with your au­then­tic self and learn how to ex­press it in your life. Want to give it a go? Marchant sug­gests fo­cus­ing on three ar­eas – na­ture, spirit and cre­ativ­ity.

KEEP IT NAT­U­RAL

Mod­ern-day pres­sures mean many of us have lost our con­nec­tion to more nat­u­ral rhythms. Ar­ti­fi­cial light keeps us awake in the evening, harsh alarms chase us out of bed in the morn­ing. Tun­ing into your body and ask­ing it what it needs will bring you back into a more har­mo­nious rhythm. Take a break: Find a place in na­ture that you love, ideally with water nearby, and ban all tech­nol­ogy – no phone, watch or even pen and pa­per. Spend the next hour or so con­sid­er­ing a ‘big’ ques­tion in your life – what you long for, what you deeply need or who were you be­fore you started liv­ing the life peo­ple ex­pected of you. Breathe into your belly and al­low in­sights to come to you rather than us­ing your log­i­cal, left-hemi­sphere brain.

FEEL THE SPIRIT

Whether you think of it as life force, chi or a benev­o­lent uni­verse that brings you the ex­pe­ri­ences you need to grow into your­self, ‘spirit’ is an ever-present source of heal­ing and sup­port. It’s your in­tu­ition, the spark that ig­nites your pas­sion and de­sire for con­nec­tion. Tun­ing into this deeper as­pect of your­self through med­i­ta­tion will help you fol­low your heart. Take a break: If you think you can’t med­i­tate, Marchant sug­gests try­ing the Bee Med­i­ta­tion. Spend a cou­ple of mo­ments fo­cus­ing on your breath, then close your eyes, put your thumbs over your ears and cover your eyes with your fin­gers. For the next 10 breaths, make a gen­tle hum­ming sound on each ex­hale.

GET CRE­ATIVE

It’s easy to think you’re not artis­tic, but cre­ativ­ity is more than be­ing able to draw or make hand­made gifts. It’s the ex­pres­sion of your unique­ness that makes some­thing cre­ative, says Marchant. Your most im­por­tant cre­ation is, of course, your life. And us­ing na­ture and spirit to fuel this cre­ation gives you a pow­er­ful set of tools. Take a break: To dis­cover what will make your heart sing, it helps to by­pass your con­scious mind. Im­ages of­ten speak di­rectly to your sub­con­scious, so make a vir­tual vi­sion board by re­search­ing and col­lect­ing in­spir­ing im­ages on­line, whether from In­sta­gram or Na­tional Geo­graphic. Use the im­ages as screen­savers on your PC or as a home screen on your mo­bile to re­mind your­self to take a pause from daily life and con­nect to the big­ger pic­ture.

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