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Slow Down And Get A Life

Aug 17, 2007
If you're feeling overwhelmed with your daily schedule, stressed with the impending deadlines and feeling drained from your hectic fast paced life, you're not alone.

The secret to a happier life is not about trying to do more, or buying more high tech gadgets to help you with juggling your endless list of daily tasks. When you start to lose control of your competing demands with home, work and family then it's time to slow down and simplify your life.

Yes, that's right slow down; on the surface it seems totally contradictory. Most people's response is to push harder, work harder, do more but when does it stop. If you want to release yourself from the shackles of the clock and live a happier life then here are some thoughts to consider:

1. Make a shift from a sense of lack to a sense of fullness.

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing left to take away... And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

If you're fretting about your latest credit card bill, maybe you're stressed over trying to stretch your budget this week or maybe your wondering how you're going to make your mortgage payment then spare a thought for the other half of the world. The other half, nearly three billion people live on less than two dollars a day.

Some 1.3 billion people have no access to clean water which we in the western world take for granted every day of our lives. Over 3 billion have no access to sanitation, so imagine having the threat of disease that could kill you instead of just being a inconvenience.

Two billion people have no access to electricity. Are you starting to get the picture? The very fact that you are reading this article in front of your computer with Internet connection already puts you into the privileged minority.

A sense of fullness begins with you, today. Instead of wallowing in what you want or don't have. Instead of comparing yourself to someone you don't even know, why not start being grateful for what you do have in your life. You can't experience lack and fullness simultaneously, they can't co-exist at the same time, so wouldn't you rather pick the one that makes you feel better.

2. Happiness is found in the moments and not in the stuff.

"Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one." - Benjamin Franklin

When was the last time you were grateful for your health, your friends and family, your spouse or your children. If you just spend a few minutes each morning living with a greater sense of appreciation for all the opportunities and blessings in your life then you won't be so focused on the insignificant things that have come to define your life.

Have you ever noticed that the happiest people surround themselves with family and friends instead of trying to validate their life with expensive toys? The value of wealth isn't the things you can acquire with it, it is the experiences and memories shared.

Being present with your loved ones and sharing quality time together is the essence of life. As more and more families become fragmented with busy schedules we are losing the very fabric of what it is to be part of a community, a family.

Commit this week to spending quality moments with the people that are important in your life, after all you never know how long they are going to be here. Switch of your mobile phone, clear up your work schedule and truly be present to share a quality moment together that will strengthen the relationship. This moment is what life is made of.

3. Simplify your life.

"Simplifying is not necessarily about getting rid of everything we've worked so hard for... It's about deciding what's important to us, and gracefully letting go of the things that aren't." - Elaine St. James

"The simple person lives the way he breathes, with no more effort or glory, with no more affectation and without shame... Simplicity is freedom, buoyancy, transparency. As simple as the air, as free as the air... The simple person does not take himself too seriously or too tragically...He has nothing to prove, since he has no appearances to keep up, and nothing to seek, since everything is before him. What is more simple than simplicity? What lighter? It is the virtue of wise men and the wisdom of saints." - Andre Comte-Sponville

There is a growing cultural shift as the population ages towards a slower pace and a simpler life. While some can argue that old age tends to slow one down, it could also be that age has brought about a clearer perspective on what is important in life. Instead of subscribing to the frantic pace of society, some people have consciously chosen to work on a slower rhythm and pace.

For instance many Mediterranean nations observe the siesta due to the fact that the climate is so hot they close shop during the hottest period of the day usually from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The Siesta has existed for thousands of years and was previously regarded as a physical necessity rather than a luxury. In Spain the siesta traditionally involves a slow paced lunch with friends or family before retiring to a nap. Greeks who have a strong family culture will spend their weeknights enjoying dinners and music with friends and family because they can sleep in.

Certainly I'm not suggesting that to simplify your life you just introduce a siesta during the middle of the day. But it is clear that societies that subscribe to the slower pace of life tend to value different priorities and have greater balance between work and their personal life.

So maybe you're tired of this frantic pace we call the rat race, maybe you're tired of the long hours or working at a job that you don't enjoy. Maybe you hate your boss or tired of commuting. Then this is the time to think about how you can shape the life that you want.
About the Author
For the young at heart, find inspiring and motivating articles for every aspect of your life. For more information visit: http://www.4evayoung.com
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