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