I have always been the type of person who easily absorbs the emotions of others. If there is a general feeling of anxiety or tension in a room, chances are I will start to feel anxious and tense. My breath will probably quicken and my shoulders may start to creep up my neck closer to my ears. All really without me knowing it’s happening. I have to work hard to keep the energy and spirits of others separate from my own.
Choosing to become an accountant and enter the competitive business world probably doesn’t mesh too well with being an empath… I imagine that I would feel much more at peace working outside in nature or with art or photography or puppies, but alas, crunching numbers at a desk all day is my profession for the time being. And I enjoy for the most part these days, now that I have recently found a diamond in the rough accounting job that is pretty low on the stressful environment scale (hallelujah). Low stress isn’t exactly a word that comes to mind when people think of the public accounting and reporting world, which is where I have worked for most of my career.
I also live in the bustling metropolitan area that is Washington, D.C.. A place with some of the worst traffic in the country, the center of our crazy political climate and where investing in real estate and raising a family is pretty darn expensive. Around here people walk fast, talk fast, work hard to make it to the top and hate Interstate 66.
If I let it, my empathetic nature, my career, the environment in which I live, as well as my eating, exercise and drinking habits, can all have a significant negative impact my life. I can easily get caught up in the whirlwind that is life and get carried away. I too start to walk fast, talk fast, get angry at traffic and crazy drivers on the road, and let small things annoy me. Without really even thinking about it, I tend to interrupt others in a rush to get out what I have to say instead of sitting back and really listening to their side of the conversation.
I particularly dislike this last one, as I have always prided myself on being a good friend who listens and provides good advice. Who wants someone who will talk over them and not listen to what they have to say? It upsets me greatly when I find myself acting this way. I feel like a bad person and often wonder what is wrong with me.
I have noticed all of these negative things coming out in my personality lately, probably building up over a length of time without me consciously knowing what was happening. They impact my relationships, my everyday mental well being and my health. And I do not want to live this way.
Life is not a race to be won. It is an adventure to experience fully every single day.
I need to work hard to stay grounded in myself, enjoy the moment and stay present. When I remember these things I am calm, feel more at peace, am happier and more positive. I am a better friend, daughter, girlfriend, sister, and dog mom. What is the point of rushing when I don’t need to? Life speeds by fast enough already. No need to help it along.
Do you find yourself getting caught up in the whirlwind of life sometimes? If you find yourself nodding in agreement then I know how you feel. It’s exhausting and not fun to get swept away and to feel out of control.
So what am I doing about it? Well, it takes conscious effort, ongoing mental reminders and little daily activities. Mainly I have the mentally remind myself to just slow down. There is no need to walk so fast. I don’t need to check that email immediately when my computer or phone dings. I don’t have to do all of my tasks at work at lightning speed. Breathe, sit back and listen to what someone is telling me.
I have also started meditating every morning for five minutes when I wake up, followed by reading a passage from a book called Meditations from the Mat, which discusses the path of yoga and includes 365 daily passages about integrating the mindfulness of yoga into everyday life. It sets a calming and positive tone to my day. Meditation is something I have been meaning to incorporate into my wellness routine for a long time now. To make it easier, I leave my yoga bolster and book right next to my bed as a reminder and so that I can easily move from bed to cushion each morning and start my timer.
Lastly, I am ending my day by reading scripture passages from the Bible. I keep it short and sweet, but it is a way to close out my day on a positive note. This is something that is very new for me (as is the Bible that sits on my bedside table), but I am enjoying exploring my faith and learning more about something that hasn’t been a very big part of my life up until fairly recently.
Working to slow myself down and beginning and ending my days with meditation and reflection are helping to ground me. They remind me of what’s important in life. That life itself is a gift to be cherished and enjoyed every second of every day, not something to be rushed through, no matter how fast it seems to swirl around you. I encourage you to find what grounds you and keeps you present in your own life. Enjoy the moment. Be thankful for what you have. Slow and steady wins the race, after all. 🙂
Peace, love and om,
CC image courtesy of Tarcio Saraiva on flickr