Wednesday, August 6, 2008
August is a month for slowing down. It is time to join the slow movement. Carl Honore wrote “In Praise of Slowness” a few years ago. It explores our fast pace of living and gives compelling reasons why we should slow down. When I am ‘not doing’ somehow life gets richer, fuller and I am more present.
Our breath and heartbeat are constant reminders of life’s pulsing rhythm that moves within and around us.When we slow down, we are more aware of the natural daily rhythms and the moon, the changes in temperature from day to night and from season to season, and by our own internal rhythm. The body rhythms are called circadian rhythms. These signal and affect every aspect of our life, for example, they govern when to wake up, to sleep, to be active and they determine how much energy we have. These circadian rhythms are as predictable as clockwork – that is why we are said to have a bodyclock.
If we don’t listen to our bodies and to that little voice in our head that is telling us to slow down we may succumb to the myriad of health conditions that are a result of leading fast, stressful lives. The biological and psychological costs of ignoring stress are staggering, manifesting in cardiovascular and other systemic diseases and even, new research shows, in accelerated aging. To be simplistic, the solution is to pay attention, on purpose, in a systematic way, in the present moment. That is, we need to be mindful.
Jon Kabat-Zinn says: “Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.”
When we practice mindfulness in our everyday life we are then predisposed to greater emotional intelligence and balance and therefore to greater happiness. This is a great month is go slow.
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