- Written by Dr. Stephanie Shelburne Dr. Stephanie Shelburne
How's your health?
Have you visited your doctor lately with complaints of insomnia, depression, unexplained weight gain, mystery aches and pains (just to name a few...)?
How many meals a day do you eat in your car? Or at your desk? Or over the kitchen sink? How often do you have a conference call while running an errand? Do you check your email or facebook or twitter or any other form of social media while also having a conversation with someone? Maybe even watching television or a movie at the same time? Or better yet, how about eating a meal in front of the television as you are talking on the phone and checking email on your laptop? Sound familiar at all? Sound exhausting at all? (In fact, did reading this paragraph stress you out?)
If you said 'yes' to any of the opening questions then more than likely your P.O.L. is out of control and it's time to recalibrate.
That's right, your P.O.L. If you're asking yourself, what's a P.O.L. and how could it be out of control if I don't even know I have one, not to worry. Answers are on the way!
Your P.O.L. is basically your pace of life. It's how you spend your time every minute of every day. Believe it or not, your P.O.L. has as way more to do with your overall health and well-being than just about anything else you do.
Your P.O.L. has as way more to do with your overall health and well-being than just about anything else you do.
You can eat all the right foods, exercise every day, and sprinkle mindfulness throughout, but if you aren't giving your entire, capital S, Self adequate time to digest and assimilate the things you encounter, it's all going to be for naught.
Typically, when I mention to people that pace of life is important, it generates several responses. First, the glassy-eyed stare, then a frustrated sigh, and lastly a barrage of reasons why it is virtually impossible to live any more "slowly" than the current rate of speed. Trust me, I get it...
P.O.L. Out of Control...
P.O.L. might sound catchy and fun, however, not to be confused with a Dr. Suess book, having an out of control P.O.L. is no fun
We live in a fast paced culture that seems to require us to do 50 things at once and do them all well. The problem? With chronic multi-tasking comes a plethora of mental/emotional and physical health issues, not to mention a complete disconnection from anything soulful.
Feel like you can't change your pace of life because your to-do list is way too long? I bet there is some breathing room in there somewhere.
The secret to stress management is knowing where the real stress is coming from...
It's my observation and experience that most of us multi-task in layers. Layer one: The actual external tasks that we have to complete, such as running errands, completing a project, making a meal. Layer two: the the internal conversation about how we feel about having to complete the external tasks we are doing. Layer three: the looking behind and looking ahead at what we've done and what we need to do next. Of course, most of us also have a unique and individualized blend of layer four, five, and six but we won't go into that here.
Guess what? It's layer two and three, the layers that don't require actual time and space that take the biggest toll on your health and well-being! So, if you're thinking you can't have a more peaceful P.O.L. because you don't have enough hours in the day, I say...let's rethink. Better yet, let's unthink!
That's right! Unthink your life for a more peaceful P.O.L. You can start right now. Take a nice deep breath into your belly and release it with a sigh. Inhale/Exhale....aaah.
UNTHINK to stress free living
Stop, look both ways, breathe, and proceed...
Mental stop signs are the ultimate tool for creating a positive P.O.L. It doesn't mean literal stopping, dropping everything, and standing still. It means stop the inner chatter. Silence layer two and three and layer one becomes a piece of cake.
The truth is your nervous system doesn't know the difference between what you tell it is happening and what is really happening. If your inner dialogue keeps telling the story of how much you have to do and how stressed out you are, and what you should have done differently last week and what you might have to worry about next week, on top of actually needing to accomplish things, you are creating a double and triple whammy of stress that actually doesn't exist.
That's why you want to UNTHINK instead of rethink. Free the space. Clear the clutter. Make room for the much needed mental nap in the meadow. Once your inner pace of life is managed, it immediately impacts your outer pace of life. So, the next time you feel yourself revving out of control, stop at the stop sign, look both ways, breathe...inhale/exhale....aaah. For more information on breathing...click here