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Weekly Wellness Word: Full

Monthly Theme: Playing & Working

This week’s word is Full

The item typically used to distinguish between optimists and pessimists is a glass of water. Optimists see a glass with 50% capacity as half full whereas pessimists see it as half empty.

But what does FULL really mean? We say a parking lot is full when there are no empty spaces. We say we are full when we have eaten a meal and are no longer hungry. How satisfied we were with the meal we just ate is another thing altogether.

What do we mean when we say our lives are full? Perhaps we are referring to our schedules, every hour from waking to bedtime is spoken for. Yet just because our schedules are full doesn’t mean the activities that fill our lives are satisfying.

When we witness an especially precious moment in our lives we say our hearts are full. We experience joy, love and contentment. We may stop and savor it for a minute or two. Squeeze the hand of our loved one a little longer. Reread the end of a really great book. Take a picture of a breathtaking landscape with our smart phone to try and capture that full feeling so we can relive it over and over again. Bring to mind the last time you felt that way. What event, activity or person inspired your full hearted feeling? Do you feel full when you spend time with family and friends? When you engage in recreational activities? When you do nothing and rest?

Look at your schedule for the last week. Mark the events that made your heart feel full. Note the ones that had the opposite effect. If you are a visual person, color the full-hearted events in one color and the opposite events in a different color. Now close your eyes a minute, then reopen them. Soften your gaze. Just look at the colors. Which color has more space on your schedule? If you could change the balance between full-hearted events and those that aren’t, consider how might you do that. What would need to change? Note what you want more of in your life and what you want to trim back on. What conversations need to happen for these desired changes to become reality? Take a moment and reach out to those individuals and set up a time to chat. Do it now. Don’t let the moment pass to go after the life that fills your heart with fullness.

Quote of the Week

"In the war against the cult of speed, the front line is inside our heads. Acceleration will remain our default setting until attitudes change. But changing what we think is just the beginning. If the Slow movement is really to take root, we have to go deeper. We have to change the way we think.

Like a bee in a flower bed, the human brain naturally flits from one thought to the next. In the high-speed workplace, where data and deadlines come thick and fast, we are all under pressure to think quickly. Reaction, rather than reflection, is the order of the day. To make the most of our time, and to avoid boredom, we fill up every spare moment with mental stimulation. When did you last sit in a chair, close your eyes and just relax?

Keeping the mind active makes poor use of our most precious natural resource. True, the brain can work wonders in high gear. But it will do so much more if given the chance to slow down from time to time. Shifting the mind into lower gear can bring better health, inner calm, enhanced concentration and the ability to think more creatively. It can bring us what Milan Kundera calls 'the wisdom of slowness.'..

Relaxation is often the precursor to Slow Thinking. Research has shown that people will think more creatively when they are calm, unhurried and free from stress, and that time pressure leads to tunnel vision...

So how can [we] access Slow Thinking, especially in a world that prizes speed and action? The first step is to relax - put aside impatience, stop struggling and learn to accept uncertainty and inaction. Wait for ideas to incubate below the radar, rather than striving to brainstorm them to the surface. Let the mind be quiet and still. As one Zen master put it, instead of saying, 'Don't just sit there; do something,' we should say the opposite. 'Don't just do something; sit there.'"

- Carl Honore, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

Next Step

If you suspect that you need to slow down in life, check out this article on the "7 Signs You're Addicted To Stress & How To Break The Habit".

Further Information

For a deeper dive on Rush Syndrome, check out these blog posts by Executive Coach Joel Garfinkle.

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