Hit the Brakes!

20 03 2013
Pete Kadushin

Pete Kadushin

For many of us, doing well with health behaviors is easy until life decides to get in the way.  As our proverbial plate starts to fill up and our stress levels start to rise, it can sometimes seem like life starts to move faster.  The feeling of being on automatic pilot, whether it is due to lack of sleep, or having difficulty focusing on the task at hand, often leads us to mindless choices.

This might look like suddenly realizing that it’s time for bed and you never made it to the gym today.  I know for me, the times I usually end up on auto-pilot are when I’m underslept and stressed out.  Without realizing, I’ve got a soda (almost always Mountain Dew) and some sour patch kids (my ultimate weakness) sitting next to me, and it’s real easy for it all to disappear without me thinking twice!

So what do we do? When life starts to speed up, we need to take a minute to put on the brakes!  Researchers have found that by actually slowing down, we can shake ourselves out of auto-pilot, and we have the opportunity to then make purposeful choices about where we will spend our time and what type of food we will put in our bodies.

How to get off of auto-pilot

An easy way to slow down is to take a few deep breaths! By breathing down into your belly, you make sure your body is getting the oxygen it needs to fuel different decision making.  Try breathing in on a 5 count and exhaling on a 7 count.  As you breathe, continue to count and focus on your breath as you pull it down into a spot down in your belly.

Repeat this 6 times, and you’ll have given your mind and body a one minute break that might not make things feel so immediate.  With that space and time, your body has a chance to catch up, and your brain comes back online, allowing you to choose what you would like to do instead of feeling like you’re being swept away by the momentum of a runaway day.

This practice is convenient because your breath is always with you, and you can do this discretely prior to heading out of the office for lunch, at a red light on the way home from work, or as you wake up in the morning.  It is also effective because most of us can find at least one minute in our day to slow things down, and you may just find that with one minute you can have a pretty big impact on your day!

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One response

23 03 2013
habeba

it is very good post
thank you about this info you provide and for more progress

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