The following article, DAVIDSON: Don’t Let the News Overwhelm You: Slow Down this Day — Opinion, was first published on Flag And Cross.
While the virus-dominated days of the middle months of 2020, namely March to September, personally seem to drag by for each of us, the pace of news as disseminated from major media sources seems to have accelerated. More is packed into a 24-hour news cycle today than people a generation ago could ever imagine. Just in September, historic peace deals in the Middle East involving Israel have been consummated.
More protests and hostilities have occurred in a variety of cities. President Trump is on the campaign trail, making speeches and answering questions. Joe Biden is in auditoriums trying to adjust the teleprompter. Individually, it makes sense for each of us, periodically, to slow down a bit. It’s not necessary that you keep up with every single news item that comes down the pike.
Try This at Home
Here’s a perspective you might not have considered. Most of what you experience each day, in terms of the passage of time, is based on your perception. You can slow down time if you choose. How? Whenever you feel you’re racing the clock or trying to tackle too much at once, try this exercise:
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a pleasant scene. You might be surrounded in trees or with a loved one. It could be something from childhood. Let the emotions of that place and time pervade you. Get into it! Give yourself more than a New York minute for the visualization to take hold.
Then, open your eyes and return to what you’re doing. Whatever care or task you’re working on is not quite so bad and whatever pace you were working at is never quite so feverish.
Pause and Reflect
Imagine you’re flying on an airplane. You have a window seat, and it’s a clear day. As you gaze down to the ground below, you see life passing by, cars the size of ants, miniature baseball diamonds, and rivers the size of streams. There’s something about being at great heights that enables you reflect on your life. The same phenomenon can take place from the top of a mountain or skyscraper. When things seem to be racing by too fast, seek higher ground, literally, for a clearer perspective.
If you’re among the lucky, perhaps you regularly allocate time for reflection or meditation. If you don’t, it’s no matter. There are other ways to make it all “slow down.” After the workday, listen to relaxing music with headphones, and close your eyes. A half hour of your favorite music with no disturbances (and your eyes closed) can seem almost endless. When you re-emerge, the rest of the day takes on a different tenor.
An effective method for slowing down time and catching up with today is periodically deleting three items from your “to-do list” without doing them at all. Before you shriek, consider that much of what makes your list is arbitrary. Often, deleting a few items won’t impact your career or life, and will free up a little time for yourself.
In the Animal Kingdom
If you have a dog or cat and do not consider it a drain on your time, here’s a little something about Rover or Mittens that you may not have known. In recent years, scientists have found proof that contact with animals has specific and measurable effects on both your body and mind. The mere presence of animals can increase a sick person’s chances of survival, and has been shown to lower heart rate, calm disturbed children, and induce incommunicative people to initiate conversation!
The exact mechanisms that animals exert to affect your health and well-being are still largely mysterious. Scientists suspect that animal companionship is beneficial because, unlike human interaction (!), it is uncomplicated. Animals are nonjudgmental, accepting and attentive; they don’t talk back, criticize, or give orders. Animals have a unique capacity to draw people out.
Even if you only have goldfish, sometimes simply staring at them in their silent world can help deaden your hectic pace.
When you consider all of the ways you add unnecessary pressures to your day, you begin to see many ways to catch up with today or, at least, with this week despite the media onslaught.
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