12 May Overwhelmed by the Pace of Life?
I wonder if you’re like me and sometimes become overwhelmed by the fast pace of life and the rate at which we are bombarded by information? Always trying to squeeze more into the day? Not to mention phone checking, App notifications, text messages, emails, hyperlinks, social media… Agghh! ‘Cognitive overload’ impacts our ability to remain focused and grounded. When I walk from one room into another with a task in mind, and then forget what the task was, before I even enter the next room, I know my mind is overwhelmed and grounding is in order. I need to unplug and get back to basics.
So how do we become more grounded? The two examples of grounding strategies that I would like to share are ‘ritual’ and ‘connecting with nature’, two things that seem to become compromised in our lives, as the pace of life continues to speed up.
We often think of ritual as being primal or as action performed within a religious ceremony, or we even use the word colloquially in relation to viewing our favourite TV series, or doing the morning coffee run. Ritual needs to be distinguished from habit. An act becomes a ritual when you perform it with conscious awareness of its symbolic and emotional meaning. How can ritual help to ground us? Ritual brings us back to centre, it helps to stabilize us when we are overwhelmed. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz believed that ritual imposes meaning on disordered experience. We can draw upon ritual to bring meaning into our lives and help us to appreciate ordinary or everyday experiences.
Ideas for Bringing Ritual into Everyday Life
Thinking about meaningful objects and spaces is a great place to start. Either the beginning or end of a day can be an effective time to work ritual into our daily routine.
-Burn your favourite incense or a candle
-Do some stretches on your yoga mat.
-Create your own tea ceremony with a special tea, prepare and indulge with conscious awareness
Perform your ritual in a space that is ‘yours’, a space that you have set aside as meaningful, a space specifically for the ritual. Associate a particular meaning with the ritual, it might be to come back to centre (self time), to foster more compassion or gratitude in your life, or to remember someone or something you want to keep close to your heart.
CONNECTING WITH NATURE
We are hard wired to connect with nature. Nature seems to heighten our senses yet slows us down. There is a broad body of research that suggests that connecting with nature can improve our psychological wellbeing, help us to physically heal, and brings us together as community. Nature grounds and centres us. As city dwellers, it is easy for our connection with nature to weaken, and sometimes it is not until we become burned out or overworked that we notice a void. It’s when we think ‘I need a holiday’, that we remember to make time for nature. We stand to benefit from scheduled connection to nature in our everyday lives.
Ideas for Bringing Nature into Everyday Life
-Look up more often and you might be surprised by what you observe with stargazing, sunrises, sunsets, and wildlife.
-Look out more: away from your device. Connect with your immediate tribe and even people you don’t know!
-Bring some plants inside to increase enthusiasm, happiness and fewer health problems (the research tells us that this actually happens!)
-Follow the moon cycle, go outdoors each night and check out the ever-changing sky, fun to do with the kids!
-Go bare foot: get some grass under your feet or start a ‘shoes off at the door’ ritual at home, to get closer to the earth.
-Be conscious of the 5 elements of The Vedas: earth, water, fire, air and ether, as you encounter them throughout your day.
UNPLUG AND GET GROUNDED WITH US THIS WEEK
I’m setting an intention for myself to unplug from technology (a little bit) everyday this week and to replace that tech time with a daily ritual, and to be consciously aware of my connection with nature. I’m keen to observe if anything changes within. Come join me!
By Meagan Wilson – Community member at WO.