From Chaos to Calm
Seven simple things you can change in your daily life that will up the calm quotient and knock back the chaos.
Seriously, slow down for just a moment. The world will not come to an end if you don’t manage to squeeze in one more thing from your to do list before you pick the kids up from school. You will end up late at the school gate, you will be flustered and your kids angry, cue argument at some point between school pick up and evening meal and bad temper all round. Sound familiar? Being busy isn’t a badge of honour. Cross two things off your to do list today that either don’t have to be done today or maybe even don’t have to be done at all.
You know, those things people put at the end of bookshelves to stop them all coming tumbling down. Does your day sometimes feel as if it is all coming tumbling down? Get some bookends. Create small routines at the beginning and end of every day that set you up for the day and call the day to a halt and get you ready to sleep at the end. Do some stretches while the kettle is boiling, spend just 3 minutes with your eyes closed just sitting still, don’t worry if you can’t “meditate” (more on that another day) just be still for a while. Write down three things for which you are grateful. At the other end of the day go to bed 10 minutes earlier and read, take a few minutes to go over your day and relive the good parts and learn from the not so good parts. Say thank you for having the chance to start over again tomorrow.
3. READ WITH YOUR EARS
I’ve heard it all before. I don’t have time to read, don’t you realise how busy I am (see 1 above!). I know that statistics are dubious at the best of times but stay with me. The average Briton spends 10 hours a week in their car. Allowing for holidays and so forth let’s say that 380 hours per year. How many books could you read? How many audio courses could you take? I’ve taken audio courses and books out of the library and bought them cheap on ebay. My car is my own travelling university.
4. STOP WATCHING THE NEWS
I don’t mean pretend it doesn’t happen, but for one day tot up how much time you spend reading/listening to/watching news programmes. The news comes on every hour on the radio, several times a day on the television, is all over the internet and still comes in the form of newspapers and magazines. Tot up all of that and work out if you need to be accessing news up to 4 or more hours a day. Are you a commodities trader or politician? For most of us we can access enough news to be an active and informed citizen with considerably less news. Thus freeing up some of that time you are so desperate for. Set up an RSS feed for areas of news in which you have a particular interest and confine the rest of your newsgathering to one programme per day when you can actually watch/read/listen actively and not just have it on for the sake of it.
5. EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
I can be somewhat evangelical about this, something to which my children will attest. A place for everything, and everything in its place. How much time have you wasted looking for your car keys or your wallet? The glasses you put down or the scissors you know you have just seen but can’t remember where? Let’s guess at 10 minutes a day, that’s 3650 minutes per year or 60 hours and 50 minutes of wasted time each year. Assuming you get up at 7 and go to bed at 10 you have wasted 4 whole days looking for your keys each year.
Start with one thing, say your keys. Allocate a place for them and put them there WITHOUT FAIL for a week. Add your glasses the following week. Gradually add one more thing you often lose until you are automatically putting everything in its place.
There are only so many hours in a day and we tend to forget that time is not quite as elastic as it sometimes seems. We put appointments in our diaries and mentally work out what we can fit in the gaps. We are invariably massively optimistic about what we can achieve in that time and the first things that tend to fall by the wayside are things for “us” whether it is time spent on personal development or time spent having our nails done. Write it down. It helps to have a diary or planner with a vertical section for each day. Block out your day, your meetings (include travelling time if necessary), specific jobs. Remember that you may have household commitments too put them in, they aren’t going to happen by themselves. I use colour. Red for paid work, Brown for things that have to be done but don’t earn money (everything from ironing to paperwork and accounts), Green for me, hairdressers, work on programmes I am taking, exercise. I am to get a reasonable balance of all three colours over the week.
You could make this exercise one of your bookends 🙂
I am a qualified Laughter Yoga Leader – yup such people do exist. I laugh every day, it’s good for me:
- Laughter releases endorphins and elevates your mood;
- Laughter reduces stress and strengthens the immune system (through production of T-cells);
- Laughter increases oxygen uptake and increases energy;
- Laughter exercises the muscles in the chest and diaphragm;
- Laughter helps to reduce blood pressure;
- Laughter is a great cardio workout.
If you leave laughter to chance, ie. when you find something funny you may not laugh once all day, and even if you do it may only be for a few seconds, a minute at most. Not much of a workout! Laughter yoga is the combination of unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (pryanama). Have a look at these videos and have a go yourself.