slow down. relax. look around. be happy.

To many in the modern world, life takes on characteristics of a race. And so much about modern life and the way we seem to do things now reinforces that idea.

There’s fast food. The fast lane. Rush hour. Honking horns. Fingers gesturing. Microwave meals. ATM. Line’s too long. Cell phones. Text messaging. Fast! Hurry up! Get out of the way! I’m late! Go faster! What’s taking so long?! I can’t talk now! For the love of Pete, would you move it?!

Life sometimes, and for far too many of us, seems stuck on fast forward.

We go and go and GO and GO! and never stop and don’t look back and forget to look around as we go zipping through and whizzing by life at full sprint, engines roaring, day planners blazing, appointments waiting, late for this, late for that, always on the run, tired, burned out, out of breath, always panting, never slowing long enough to really breathe.

But are we truly living life the way it can and should be lived … and enjoyed … when we speed through the week just to get to the end of it or to the next payday or the next vacation?

Has the journey lost its appeal? Do we see the journey only as a means to the destination? Have we come to view the distance between where we are and where we need to be as a thorn in the side?

Stress is the cause of so much hypertension, pounding headaches, ulcers and other life detracting, happiness compromising illnesses. It’s time to rest, relax, slow down, unwind, see the beauty around you, and enjoy the blessings of happiness and joy.

Make no mistake, happy people are busy people. They do important things that have meaning and significance. Their time is valuable to them and they don;t waste much of it.

And yet, just as professional boxers have rounds and team sports have halftime to rest and recuperate and recommit before continuing the fight or the play, so we too need down time.

Muscles need down time to grow after working hard in the gym. And we all need rest and relaxation to rejuvenate and re-energize, repair, sharpen the blades and replace the worn out parts of the machinery of life before getting back to the tasks of building and creating and growing … and being happy in that process.

Just as getting an oil change and tune up for your car is wise car maintenance, taking the time to rejuvenate is also good human maintenance. We become better able to run longer with more happiness when we keep the human machine well lubricated.

So …

Slow Down

Try it.

Drive in the slow lane.

Leave your cell phone at home.

Strike up a conversation with someone standing in line instead of tapping your foot or drumming your fingers in impatient frustration when the line doesn’t seem to move.

Take a walk.

Better yet, a stroll.

We have lost the art of strolling. We power-walk to get from point A to point B as fast as we can. Power-walking has its place. But sometimes, slowing down is needed too. So, take a deep breath slow down. Take a leisurely stroll. Feel your body decelerate.

Relax

How much sleep does your body and mind need? Try this:

Go to sleep.

Wake up.

Now you’re done. Often, your body knows when it has slept enough. How does it communicate that fact? It stops sleeping.

So many of us under-sleep. The body doesn’t function optimally on inadequate sleep. The brain doesn’t function as well without the optimal amount of sleep.

So sleep.

Relax.

Feel the tension and stress lift from your body.

Sit on the beach and look out across the ocean. Breath in the ocean air. Feel the warmth on your skin and the breeze in your hair.

Be in nature. Walk among trees. Trickling creeks. Waterfalls. Winding trails. Lush greens and earthy browns.

Relax.

Sigh.

Look.

Look Around

See the world around you. Watch people. Watch how they gesture. Watch their body language. Watch how little kids play with abandon. Bend down and look at the ants jitter around in broken trails. See the leaves flutter. See the look on faces as they sing or pray or laugh or enjoy an ice cream cone. Look into eyes. See the way eyes can communicate so much without words.

Pick a flower. Smell it. Look at the folds and creases in the petals. The shades and hues softly blend from yellows or pinks to oranges or reds.

Notice.

See who people are. Inside. See what God has placed around you. All of it. Expand what you see. Stop and look up and around you and behind you once in a while. See how much you missed the first time around?

Relaxation is rejuvenating.

Rejuvenate.

Then get back to other things.

But stop from time to time to look and see and watch and enjoy.

… And Be Happy

Happiness is sometimes missed even by those of us who take the quest for it very seriously. Sometimes we are so determined to get from point A to point B and get frustrated at the process because point B doesn’t seem to be getting closer, that we forget to stop and simply, purely, merely … appreciate.

Let the sense of gratitude for life and beauty and nature and people and God fill your nostrils and lungs and minds and soul.

Then, accept the happiness you have. Feel it. Let it rest inside you. Thank God or nature or life or the universe or your mom for it.

And smile.

What do you do to ENJOY living your life?

  • I would love to hear what you do to feel happiness.
  • What do you do to relax?
  • What is it that you do to “stop and smell the roses”?
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