We have all heard of the “stress” connection. We hear all sorts of things about stress at work, at home, and even nutritional stress. What you may not have considered is that just living in today’s fast paced world causes so much stress that we have become accustomed to it, and therefore, we do not even recognize the toll it takes on us. Learning to truly quiet the mind is an art that is hard to come by in a busy metropolitan area, and you may find that you are easily caught up in the “rat race” by simply living your life, such as taking the kids to soccer practice, rushing to get dinner on the table, rushing home from work so that you can go to the gym, or even rushing out to meet a friend for dinner. When you really look at your daily life, do you take time and space for yourself, or are you caught up in all the things you feel you “have” to do?
When you surround yourself with the mentality that you have to do all these things, and you constantly feel you do not have enough time, consider for a moment that you actually do not have enough SPACE. If you fill up your space with things which are distractions and little more than disorganized chaos, you will overwhelm yourself very quickly. Become aware of how you are spending your time, but also, how are you spending your energy? Are you thinking a lot about things which you do not need to control, or can’t control? If you cleared your head of the things which cause worry and concern, what are you left with? You may find that just by eliminating negativity from your stream of consciousness, you open up a lot of space, and thus, TIME. You may also find that you are living your life from a perspective of doing things for everyone but yourself. Many of us have been programmed to think that taking time for ourselves is selfish, and lazy. Taking time to rejuvenate and refresh your mind is not only neither of those things, but it is VITAL to a healthy sense of self and a happier you.
Often, one result of this chaos, is nutritional stress. When you are rushing around all the time, you create situations where you do not have space to sit down and enjoy a meal. If you find yourself eating out often, it is likely that you do not know everything that is in your food, and you may be ingesting substances which are not supporting you in an optimal nutritional way. You may start to feel tired, and run down, and your answer is to drink more coffee. This breaks down the body further, and it may then respond by getting sick, and you may feel as though you have to take medication, so that you can keep going at the pace you have set for yourself. It takes you weeks to recover fully, and you feel sluggish and tired every day. This is a road that will take it’s ultimate toll on your body and mind, and you may be setting yourself up for more serious health problems in the future. When you are sick, REST, and take care of your body, because this is one way that our bodies get our attention.
Consider this scenario instead: You take 30 minutes a day for meditation, or relaxation exercise of choice, and you clear your mind of all the static you have accumulated by being out in the world. You can then resume your pace, but with a clarity and inner calm. You find yourself looking forward to this time because you can feel the difference in your body and mind. You are more productive at work, and you feel more fulfilled in your daily life. Your choices become different because you are coming from a different place, and you realize that you do not need to eat out as many meals, and your body responds by staying healthy and functioning well. You do not need copious amounts of coffee or stimulants, because you have energy coming from within. If you do become ill, you immediately clear your schedule, as much as possible, and rest your body. You recover quickly, and without medication, your mind is clear and you feel energized and happy. Yes, this is the “best case” scenario, but you can see the difference clearly.
When you take the time for yourself every day, you can hear what your body and mind are saying, instead of filling up with chatter and static which serves no purpose except to keep you occupied. Many people are afraid to listen to that inner voice, for they are unsure of what it will say. However, ignoring it may have far more dire consequences, and it is up to you to make the change for the better. After all, the world is going to keep on spinning, regardless of whether you take care of yourself, or worry yourself into a hospital bed. The choice is yours.