Slowing down to the speed of life

This past Thursday I made a conscious effort to lighten my load. I had a visioning retreat to attend in the evening and I wanted to give my brain some time to unplug and digest everything from the week. Moving through my day–eating and fully enjoying breakfast, taking my dog for a walk, watering the lawn, getting a quote for some brake work--I noticed how much I enjoyed embracing a more relaxed, humane pace, as opposed to the often speeded-up clip that is typical of my weekdays.


As we watch our too plugged-in, constantly in motion teen, my husband and I have been talking about the idea of “how to raise a human,” in a 24/7 world. We want to teach our son how to cultivate healthy life habits that will support him as he prepares to launch and instill in him ways of being that help him preserve his humanness and ability to live from the inside-out.

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re a robot rather than a homosapien? Based on the life balance work I do with men and women around the globe, here are seven ways to practice mindfulness and stay connected to our true nature:

Slow down. We’ve normalized “busy-ness.” Our external world is speeding us up—if we let it. We’re not wired to go non-stop. Get in the practice of “pausing” throughout your day to take in your environment.

Make friends and social connections a priority (lunches, walks, coffee dates). In our house we say, “People first, things second.” Our quality of life is dramatically enhanced by our friendships/circles.

Put technology in its place. Be careful of what you “normalize.” Remember you’re the master (not the slave here). Observe your habits. In our house mornings are unplugged and in the evenings we play quiet music that supports reading and card games. All phones go to “bed” at 9 p.m. for the night.

Do nothing. Ever heard the advice, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Stillness nourishes us to our core. Look at the window. Lie in a hammock. Sit on your front porch or a park bench. Stare into space.

Seek out quiet, dark places. No, not your closet, I’m talking about natural areas in your state or the US where there is limited or no access to technology (like Big Bend National Park); leave your phone at home. Our bodies need these experiences to re-calibrate.

Take off your shoes and walk outside. Get barefoot on the earth. Walk as much as you can (it’s so good for your body and brain!). Every day go outside and “commune with nature” for at least 10 minutes.

Give your brain a rest. Do less, think less, keep things simple. The fewer choices/decisions we have, the happier we are. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Drink lots of good clean water and eat more fruits/vegetables. How much energy-infused food do you eat daily? My mom used to advocate for eating food that is alive, as opposed to processed, “dead” food.

Give/receive eight hugs a day. Hugs, back rubs, a.m. and p.m. snuggles, embraces with family at the beginning/end of each day—all these things elicit an incredibly positive biochemical response in the body. Read more.

These are all ways of being that are innate to the human experience. They’re hard-wired into who we are. On a cellular level, we know this stuff makes us feel good and helps us remember who we really are, but somehow we’ve lost our way.

We’re living in times that require us to reflect and question everything. Ultimately, I always ask, “How bad do you want to feel good?” Consider that even just adopting one or two of these ideas could make a big impact on how you feel, pretty quickly. Let me know how it goes and send me and my husband good thoughts as we do our best to instill a sense of mindfulness in our teen as he navigates technology and prepares to find his way in our big, wild, crazy, wonderful world.



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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.