In yesterday’s post, I offered a definition of stress and continued my advocacy for Stopping. Stopping requires making choices. Stopping in today’s blurry existence is essential for peace and true fulfillment. I committed to offering 12 ideas to help us regain our focus. Today, ideas one and two:
1. Learn to say No
If you’re like me, there are a hundred different things vying for your time and attention. Many are good things; things that you could do and make a positive contribution. But there is only so much time and if you fill that time saying yes to everyone and everything, there will be no time left for YOU. No time to reflect, regenerate and revel in the sweet things in life. Saying ‘Yes’ to 10 requests means saying ‘No’ to 90. After about number 46, it should get easier.
2. Turn off the devices (Create a Screen-Free Zone)
PC’s. Phones. Pads. We all have them and they’re on and in front of us nearly every waking minute of our blurry lives. Create a ‘screen-free’ zone (yep, including the TV screen!) and declare it off limits to all these electronic gizmos. The screen-free zone is not devoid of stimulus, however. Consider a good, old-fashioned book or magazine. How about a sketch pad for drawing or jotting down things you’re thankful for? And it doesn’t have to be a solitary cell. Invite your spouse, kids or a friend to enter this sacred space with you and share stories of the day/week. And instead of caving to the temptation to plan your future (holidays are upon us, eh?), think about or share memories of favorite holiday times, past. This is reality. This is stopping.
I remember hearing someone say not too long ago that Poetry “slowed me down.” I like that and I have experienced it. I’ll leave you with a classic by Robert Frost. It’s fitting because these ideas for stopping and de-stressing are totally about making choices, just as described in “The Road Less Traveled.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.