If there is one word to describe our culture today, it’s overload. Everywhere you look there is more to see. More to hear. More to try. More to buy.
Our smart phones don’t make us any smarter. They make us hyper-aware of things that don’t have anything to do with us. Our brains explode with the stimulation. STOP IT!
Stopping is healthy. Smell the roses, as they say.
We need to stop to think.
We need to stop to breathe.
We need to stop to weigh options and make decisions.
We need to stop to notice the people in our life.
When we don’t stop, we are rushed into bad choices.
We lose perspective on what is happening around us. Life becomes a blur. That’s not healthy.
Stopping is hard, though. Sometimes we might feel like we are in the middle of a fast-flowing river, carried along by a current we can’t escape.
In the midst of so much forceful activity, you can stop, but you might have to dig in a little harder.
6 ways to go against the flow:
- Turn off the noise. The radio. The television. The iPod. The computer. The phone. It’s all noise that distracts you from thinking your own thoughts. A little silence every day is a good thing. Listen to the sounds of what’s going on around you. I understand that there might be noises you’re trying to drown out, like bickering children or loud neighbors. Find a quiet place and just be quiet for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Stretch your body. Do something physical. Go for a walk or a swim. Breathe deeply to clear your mind. Break a sweat, which isn’t so hard in the summer in Texas,
- Stretch your mind. If you read, consider carefully what you’re reading and how it affects your mood and your perception. Read twice as much positive and uplifting news as the sensationalist headlines that fill the news feeds these days. Look for subjects that encourage your interests and beliefs. Learn new things.
- Talk to someone. Find someone you can have a real conversation with. Skip the gossip, and discuss something important to you. Ask hard questions. Consider alternative views. This exercise isn’t to open up doubts about your beliefs but to hone them to become what you believe and not what you think you’re supposed to believe.
- Notice the world around you. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Skip rocks on a pond. Take a hike.
- Step out of the box. If you always stop at one place for coffee, pick another place. Sit in a different chair at church. Walk a different trail at the park. Meet new people. Do something out of the ordinary for you.
Once you escape the barrage of incoming noise and overload of busyness, reconsider what is important to you.
What have you discovered about yourself? What makes you happy? Who do you want to spend time with? What do you want to accomplish in the next week, month, or year?
What can you change to avoid the ongoing overload that distracts you from your goals, your relationships, and your beliefs? What can you stop doing? What habits are in the way and which ones do you need to develop to help get you un-stuck?
Nothing is healthier than knowing who you are and bucking the trend of overload.
This week’s challenge: Spend 15 minutes a day stepping back from the overload and setting your own goals.
P.S. Join the 12 Steps to a Healthier You Journey to turn your life around with healthy habits. Add your name to the email list in the box at the top right to get every blog post and my monthly newsletter. Join the Facebook group for extra encouragement.