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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Stressed-Out Pursuit of...

Happiness

I have time.”
Walter Carrington

Walter Carrington is a Master Alexander Technique teacher, and this is a mantra he recommends his students use before beginning any activity. It is a way to change the circuitry in your nervous system from one that is conditioned to move fast to one that is present and calm. If you want to feel less stressed, stop telling yourself, “I don't have time.” I confess that this sentence slips off my tongue quite often. We city dwellers live in a sped-up time warp where everything that moves fast is valued far more than anything that moves slowly. Just yesterday, someone passed me on a busy, two-lane residential street because I was driving at the 30 mph speed limit. Fast cars, fast talk, multi-tasking, rushing from one thing to another; we lead a hurry-up life.

Just taking a good, deep breath and repeating, “I have time.” switches on an alternate nervous system. Practice this one small step toward reclaiming sanity, bringing your attention into the present moment, and you move toward happiness rather than toward stressed-out and exhausted. Sounds too simple, right? Well, that's another thing that keeps us hyped-up. We think that “complicated” is necessary, and so we make everything far more convoluted than it needs to be. We burden our lives by trying to do too many things at once, so that we can rush on to do some more things.

Our body is incredibly intelligent in ways that our cerebral cortex, our thinking brain, is not. The body operates smoothly almost all of the time. But when we push it harder than it can possibly go, especially when we overload it with stress messages, it becomes depleted and exhausted, and will force us to stop all activity by becoming sick. That's body-wisdom—its message is, “stop, rest, let me replenish my reserves.” If we become conscious enough to respect our body's wisdom, we will feel much happier in our thinking brain. When we're living in our body, and not just in our head, we stay in the present moment to a much greater degree. And joy resides in the present moment. Give it a try. Repeat after me, “I have time.”

                                                        In the Spirit,

                                                              Jane

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