It’s true, I can remember a period of my life (over 5 years ago, when I first started personal training at Goodlife) when I felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day….my to-do list was never getting smaller and I couldn’t keep up with my day to day tasks not to mention having a social life and being in a relationship PLUS working out, eating and cooking and sleeping, PHEW! Thanks to a 200hr yoga teacher training program a signed up for couple of years ago, and establishing a regular yoga practice, I was made very aware of how my lifestyle and my “need for speed” was wearing me out! I have been working very hard putting everything that I have learned into practice and this book (“Speed” by Stephanie Brown) was another confirmation of my former speed addiction.
Excerpt from “The Power of Less”
“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of new and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files. The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill. We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea how to reduce the flow…”
So true right? This is very stressful and wasteful. If we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives. How do we overcome these problem of overworking ourselves and feeling as thought there aren’t enough hours in the day? We must set limits!! Focus on the important things instead of EVERYTHING! Life can become much simpler, it’s all about choices! We must learn how to identify the essentials and eliminate the rest…much easier said then done…
Now the book that inspired me to write today’s blog post is called “Speed: Facing our Addiction to Fast and Faster-and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down” by Stephanie Brown. Since I was never very good at book reports (yep, I still struggle to summarize the important parts of a book and put in my own words) in school, here is a summary I found on Barnes and Noble…
“Feeling rushed, out of control, and overwhelmed?
Feeling like you can’t keep up and can’t stop?
It’s not just you.
From the need to be constantly connected and the changing definition of “work hours,” to unrealistic expectations of instant gratification, our bodies and brains are being harmed by habits that, as with any kind of addiction, promise short-term satisfaction while doing long-term damage.
As a psychologist and addiction expert who practices in Silicon Valley, Stephanie Brown sees firsthand the impact of ever-faster technology and the culture it has spawned. She knows it’s affecting us mentally, physically, and spiritually. In this ground breaking book, she explores how our beliefs and behaviors are being shaped by the seemingly limitless new world we’ve entered in recent years—and why faster doesn’t always equal better. Dr. Brown offers a step-by-step plan for breaking out of the speed trap. With practical guidelines, she shows us how to ease up on the gas pedal and reconnect with ourselves, learning to accept—and value—our limitations as human beings, reduce our stress levels, and free ourselves from our counterproductive obsession with speed.”
Sounds pretty interesting right?? I don’t want to give away too much of the book (you should read it yourself if you want to learn more) but one part that I found really interesting was the questionnaire she included in the beginning of the book. Take a moment and answer the questions below. How many do you say YES to??
Twenty Questions: Are you Hooked on Fast?
1. Do you want to slow down but you cannot? Have you lost control?
2. Do you keep adding activities without taking any away?
3. Do you work longer and longer hours, but don’t ever finish?
4. Do you treat other problems: sleep, anxiety, depression?
5. Do you act first and think later?
6. Do you check your email and reach for your phone first thing and last?
7. Do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast, which becomes a craving to “connect” more rapidly?
8. Do you feel empty if you are not in constant action?
9. Do you feel nervous without your tech gear in hand or pocket?
10. Do you feel the beep of your phone as a comfort that gives you a shot of adrenaline?
11. Do you feel you belong when you are rushing, stressed and in action?
12. Do you believe you have no limits and you are entitled to live without limits?
13. Do you believe you should think, feel, react, and behave instantly?
14. Do you believe you will fall behind if you slow down?
15. Do you believe success equals fast and faster, and slowing down is falling?
16. Do you believe you should only feel good, only feel high; other feelings are a sign of failure?
17. Do you believe stress is the price of success and chaos is normal?
18. Do you believe that the “new intimacy” is through technology; less time for off-line relationships is the price of success?
19. Do you believe instant action is a virtue and you can overcome anything with enough willpower?
20. Do you believe all change must be big to count?
Are you addicted to speed like I was? (there are a few on here I still struggle with, but I am working on it now that I have been made aware of them!)
What she also included were tips to help you slow down…read below….
The Twenty Guidelines for Slowing Down: How to Unhook from Speed
1. You ask for help; you seek a mentor who believes in slowing down for guidance and support
2. You develop a recovery action plan.
3. You begin to make small steps toward change.
4. You learn to pause, to reflect on your behavior, feelings and thinking.
5. You ask yourself, “What am I doing?”
6. You feel the reality of limits and face the feeling of failure.
7. You become aware of feelings, and learn to face them.
8. You trust that the high of impulsive action is NOT the feeling you seek.
9. You develop a wider range of new feelings.
10. You come to trust that deep, intimate human ‘connection’ exists in a slowed down, quiet state.
11. You believe in the reality of limits.
12. You learn to recognize and challenge your belief in entitlement.
13. You challenge your belief in willpower.
14. You believe in the value of small steps and a slower sense of time.
15. You believe in a new definition of success; you best effort within a structure of limits.
16. You believe in the value of delay, endurance, and the concept of “enough.”
17. You believe that growth and change are not instant; that ‘quick fixes’ reinforce the thinking of fast and impulsive action.
18. You believe in the value and necessity of reflection as a part of health and success.
19. You challenge your all-or-none thinking.
20. You give new meaning to ‘service.’
It is a process…it takes time and practice. But the best way to improve your relationship with yourself and others, your health and anything else that is being affected by your fast -paced, non-stop, go-go-go, so many commitments, not enough time, crazy lifestyle is to stop for a moment, turn off your computer, turn off your phone(s) and sit in peace to think really hard about what you really want to accomplish in your life. Instead of bragging about how busy or stressed out you are, focus on the ESSENTIALS and allow everything else to drop away. It’ll make you much happier, less stressed, and surprisingly, more productive!
Ever since I started doing more self reflection I know what my limits are. I have taken the steps (it is a work in progress) to simplify my life I have been able to reach new goals and habits and love sharing my experiences and tips with others. Focus all your energy and time on one thing at a time (start small and build on one small ‘thing’ at a time) instead of trying to accomplish everything at once. Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing….it works!
For more information on how to simplify your life be sure to pick up Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”, you’ll be glad you did…I am almost done reading it and I just picked it up from the library (my new favourite hangout!) an hour ago!