Can you remember the last time you took a moment to just be with yourself? No phones, no TV, no radio, no podcasts, no people around you. Just you and your thoughts. How often does that happen?
The pace of life
Most of us are guilty of trying to do too much. Do you feel like that? It’s understandable if you think you do and you are certainly not alone. The pace of life can be overwhelming at times. We don’t switch off even when we think we have. The brain is forced to be constantly on alert. This makes us feel tired, affects the quality of our sleep, increases our stress levels and has a negative effect on our health and well-being.
Our always on society has created an artificial sense of constant crisis, which activates our fight-or-flight mechanism for far longer than we need. The stress response may have helped our ancestors to escape from a hungry tiger, but there aren’t any tigers on your tail, are there? Not quite. Instead, there are hundreds of emails, messages and notifications every day, which often trigger the same reaction.
With more emails and messages than we can handle, always being on can seem like the only way to keep on top of our workload. With current technology, we can now work anywhere at any time, even 24/7 if we want to. Great idea, isn’t it? Nope! There is evidence to suggest that constant emailing and text messaging reduces mental capability by an average of 10 points on an IQ test. The effect is like losing a night’s sleep. No wonder we wake up feeling tired. But how do we stop, slow down and just be? What can we do to switch off?
We can begin by making simple changes to the way we work. For example, restricting the use of our phones, reviewing emails at set times of the day and taking regular breaks. All good things, but a bigger change in our behaviour is needed to make a sustainable, life-changing difference.
Practicing mindfulness at work and at home helps us to develop awareness and sustain our attention. Like strengthening our muscles by working out at the gym, we can train the mind too. Mindfulness changes the brain, developing the pre-frontal cortex, also known as the CEO of the brain. This is responsible for the executive functions such as reasoning, abstract thinking, attention, emotional regulation, error detection, conscious decision making and social cognition. Who doesn’t want the benefits of a well-trained CEO!
We’d love to help you slow down and just be. If you’d like to find out more, please contact us.