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


Slow down and achieve more

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

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