Feeling productive is an essential human need. Being productive gives us a sense of satisfaction, achievement and accomplishment, and can boost our self-confidence. Just as important though is the ability to enjoy what we are doing, in the moment we are doing it. Sometimes called “mindfulness”, this skill allows us to connect with people, to notice our emotional state and to gain satisfaction from “being” rather than “doing”. You have probably experienced this the last time you enjoyed a walk in the sunshine and felt the warmth on your face, or were enjoying playing with your children after work.
The idea of mindfulness sounds simple but many of us find it difficult. We can feel that we are “wasting” time or are simply being lazy. The urge to do something, simply because doing feels productive, is a strong one.
How do we then, in the midst of busy lives, maintain our calm, and enjoy slower moments or moments where we stop, rather than “do”?
Here are some ideas:
- Find a favourite place to be calm and still. Seek out a corner in a park or garden; find a sheltered spot by the sea, or a quiet nook in a library or art gallery.
- Set up routines and rituals to remind you to “take 5” each day. You might want to plan some “being time” into your day or start and finish each day this way.
- Read poetry.
- Savour: what you can hear around you, or what you can see or smell or touch.
- Drink a cup of tea or coffee slowly.
- Potter in the garden.
- Walk slowly, and notice your surroundings.
- Listen to music.
- Take 10 minutes to talk with a friend or colleague about something you both enjoy.
- Focus on slowing your breathing down for 5 minutes or try some relaxation exercises.
What are the things you do to slow down?