Are you stressed? Well, how well are you connected? My question to you: Was your next thought connected to the Internet? If so, please slow down for 60 seconds, or even a few minutes, and read on…
Typically, when you think about being connected, the next thought relates to the Internet or your connection speed. In our digitized world we have become addicted to speed. Typically we get distressed when our internet connection slows down, much less gets disconnected! We get downright panicky when our computer crashes.
How fast is fast? Nowadays a medium download connection speed is 30 MB per second! That’s fast! So, 60 seconds is an eternity and is only good for ‘egg timers’. What else is slow these days? Slow is taking more than a second to make a decision to kill or be killed during ‘Playstation’ war-games. So you, and of course your computer, have to process super-fast or feel the negative results.
When your computer is not working properly do you get stressed and tend to dwell on it? Do you prioritize reconnection above everything else? Welcome to our everyday, high-tech world. Don’t complain because thanks to our technologically advanced world, almost all of our everyday survival basics are met within minutes or even seconds of recognizing the need. When we decide we need something, we want it now and get it NOW! We have prefab houses, prefab furniture, and doorstep delivered groceries. Thanks to the Internet and Amazon, we have one day delivery on almost any highly prized item. Yes, we are willing to pay for it because we like the unconscious benefits of this super-fast world: free time to spend, as we choose, including time to seek personal gratification.
Yes, we have become addicted to speed. The price for this modern, high speed lifestyle that grants us the luxury of free time is stress and anxiety. We have become so enamored with computer speed, service speed, and our own thinking speed that our brains have become disconnected from our slow reacting bodies. Unfortunately we have become disconnected from our feelings, our bodies, and nature.
Ironically, we have become so acclimated to free time that we get stressed about what to do next. Do you tend to worry about your future in seconds rather than minutes, much less days or years? One consequence of living our modern life, where free time voids are consumed with future worries, is unconscious stress.
So how do we relax, regroup and rebalance when even our play time can leave us physically drained and de-energized? Perhaps when our body says it’s time to slow down and recharge, our problem-solving brain reaches out for some anti-anxiety prescription of choice.
There are healthier prescriptions to our modern malady. It may be to slow down, breathe, pay attention to our feeling body and reconnect to nature. We can replace future oriented anxiety by mindfully celebrating the moment. We can answer our bodies’ desires for self-nurturing with adequate downtime, exercise and a healthy diet. Mental health starts with paying attention to our bodies, gut- instincts, intuition and feelings. Back to nature is not just cute cliché.
What about taking a hike on a forest trail? Nature has its own speed which is conducive to “eco-therapy.” In a natural setting we have an opportunity to awaken all of our senses – smell the ancient, rich earth, feel the air on our skin, see multiple colors of the wildflowers, hear the cadence of the insects and bird songs, taste sweetness of bush berries and sense the goodness of being grounded to mother nature. Mindfully celebrating the beauty and simplicity of nature momentarily gives our bodies an opportunity to feel good without thinking and worrying about the future.
When you feel overwhelmed and your body says slow down to a more natural pace, try lying down under a tree and find a dozen different colors of green or brown. This can become your first step to therapeutic mindfulness. Notice how self-nurturing occurs at a slower more natural pace and is a simple antidote to the addiction of speed and its cousin anxiety. We don’t always have to know what’s coming next. Sometimes we can just be! Enjoy the moment! Cheers!
Our contributor is Rodney Larson, APC. To learn more about Rodney please visit Perspectives Center for Holistic Therapy.