Living in the future = recipe for stress
Years ago I was in a workshop with Richard Carlson, a gifted psychologist, father and the author of Slowing Down to the Speed of Life, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (It’s All Small Stuff) and many other best-selling titles.
Richard talked about how to lower stress levels and enhance well-being through slowing down and living in the moment. Someone in the audience asked, “How in the world do you do this? You present at 200 conferences a year (do the math)!”
His response, “I don’t think about where I have to be on Friday, next week or the following month. I simply take a taxi to the airport. I sit and wait for the plane to board. I get on the plane. I de-board. I take a taxi to the hotel. I present my talk. I go back to my room to sleep. I take a taxi back to the airport ……and on I go.”
His point being that he was able to joyfully maintain his intense schedule because he didn’t dwell on the past or become overwhelmed by the future. As much as possible, he simply stayed in the present moment.
Have you noticed yourself jumping to next month and trying to predict the future? Are you aware of how that makes your body feel? When we’re fully present, fully here right now, aware of our breath and absolutely IN our bodies– there is no stress. It’s thinking about all the “What if’s?” and juggling the multitude of future possible scenarios, that heightens stress and anxiety.
I take this lesson to heart today as I review my full spring/summer schedule and wonder how it might be affected by the global crises we’re all navigating.
And then I remember to breathe.
I move forward with intention and purpose. I start my day with meditation so I can live inside out, not outside in. I stop to pet my neighbor’s dog. I sip my green tea. I savor a morning connection with a friend. I walk outside and touch the trees. Then, I return to work.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life-balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been speaking and facilitating high-impact workshops for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her pioneering work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas and are enjoying a new empty nest. Her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.