Healthy Living

The shift that is making us slowdown and forcing us to be mindful.

In a such a time of global uncertainty the importance of health and wellbeing has come to the forefront of our attention. Many of us have being literally forced, at some stage over the last year, to stop our hustle and bustle lifestyles.

What has become evident is just how many people are uncomfortable with the stillness which has been commanded of our lives in recent months. There is a complexity and total shift in the ongoing demands which we are still expected to respond.

Physiologist, DrJennifer Freed notes that the social contracts we have previously identified with as a measure of success have become harder to keep up creating a time for reflection during the pandemic.

One such contract involves a narrative in which overgiving and overworking are indicators that we are living noble and honorable lives. Multitasking and being plugged in at all times have become badges of strength and social collateral, Freed says.

Freed suggests a social assumption that we are only as valuable as the messages we put out to others, with a predominant bias that the busier we are the more important we must be.

Freed explains that our cultural habit is to applaud folks who say things like the examples below.

“I pulled another all-nighter!” 

“I can’t wait to finally have a moment to have a martini.”

“I am just so busy that I don’t know where to find the time for exercise.”

“Wow, it’s amazing how much you’ve gotten done this week!”

“I got only four hours of sleep last night and have a ten-hour day today.”

And rarely do we compliment one another for saying things like:

“I had a lot of rest and time to contemplate today.”

“I spent the morning taking time to nourish my body and soul.”

“My job is such a great support for the balance of my well-being”.

“We have unconsciously equated time for ourselves with weakness, indulgence, or laziness, and we have loudly equated manic productivity and multitasking with valor, goodness, and laudability”, Freed says.

The pandemic has halted our busy schedules to uncover one to be still and present in each moment. Particularly when in isolation or lockdown. Here we have had to get out of the adrenaline- and cortisol-fueled race of the perpetual doer and into a more restful, balanced physical state in order to even begin to address deeper issues in our lives that we are often able to ignore as a result of being “so busy”.  

“As we race around, absorbed in our own busyness and the importance we think it lends us, we lose sight of the bigger world that surrounds us. Now is not the moment to take our eyes off of that big picture,” Freed says.

Perhaps one thing we can take from the Pandemic is the opportunity it has allowed, or perhaps forced upon us, to be present in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable or unsuccessful it may feel. To be able to take the time out for yourself, without needing an excuse and without feeling like a failure, could all but be a positive habit we can take from these times. By learning how to be present and engaged in the moment allows us to be aware of our thoughts and feelings without judgement.

To be able to to do this is to be able to be mindful.

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