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Slow down and achieve more

Mindfulness coach Michael Townsend Williams offers five simple ways to step back from our busy lives and find some much-needed calm

by Psychologies

Rest more ‘Sometimes the best way forward is to stop,’ says Michael Townsend Williams in his book Do Breathe. The body, he says, operates on a 90-minute cycle, so rest every 90 minutes to restore energy.

  • Talk less ‘One of the best ways to waste energy is to talk too much,’ says Williams. A silent retreat can be a reminder of how powerful silence can be – it can also provide the space and time to hear what is right for you. Actively practise ‘saying a little less, and meaning a lot more’.
  • Be less busy Busyness can be a means of avoidance; of running away from uncomfortable feelings. ‘Next time you’re about to say, “I’m too busy”, stop and take a deep breath,’ says Williams. Plug in to your feelings. When you are doing something you feel passionately about, having a lot to do feels exhilarating, not ‘busy’.
  • Think less Overthinking – our Western malaise – leads to mental and physical exhaustion. ‘Think less, breathe more,’ counsels Williams. If thoughts are overpowering, move your attention to the gaps between them. ‘That’s where you’ll find calm.’
  • Be positive Savour energising, positive emotions such as interest, hope, pride or amusement for 15-20 seconds, so they sink into the memory. If you can achieve a ratio of at least three positives to one negative (anger, contempt, depression), there ‘appears to be a tipping point, enabling people  to achieve far beyond what they thought they could’.

Photograph: iStock

More inspiration:

Sign up for our Life Labs Practical Wisdom online course How to Achieve Your Goals here. You can also try a free taster of the course here

Read Slow is the new fast by Jackee Holder on LifeLabs

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