Stress might not kill you, but it sure can cause physical and mental issues that impact daily living.
So says the Stress in America Survey, conducted annually by the American Psychological Association (APA). It’s no wonder that so many people are seeking ways to de-stress and slow down the pace of their busy lives.
Books on regaining and maintaining balance in life fill brick-and-mortar and virtual bookstores. Zen Habits by Leo Baubata offers suggestions on “…finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives.” The author urges readers to focus on what’s really important in their lives.
Maintaining a peaceful life
Another book from Baubata concentrates on narrowing that focus to increase efficiency. The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life promotes “six principles of productivity: set limitations; choose the essential; simplify; focus; create habits; start small.” A proponent of making choices, Baubata writes, “The solution lies in setting limits to how much we consume and do. Imagine that you only do a few tasks, but they’re chosen so they have the most impact. You accomplish major goals without the stress of doing everything at once.”
And who better to offer advice on slowing down than Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff? . Together with Joseph Bailey, Carlson penned another book that offers a blueprint for leading a life at a more deliberate pace.
Slowing Down to the Speed of Life: How to Create a More Peaceful, Simpler Life from the Inside Out suggests that new technology and advances intended to provide more down time and relaxation have instead increased the expectations and pressures in the workplace and at home. The authors assert that technology devices have “…fostered a generation of multi-taskers and stress inducers.”
To reduce those pressures, Carlson and Bailey recommend “…slowing down from the inside out.” They offer some relatively easy habits to adopt. First of all, they invite readers to savor every moment in life and not take life so seriously. Also, try to live life in the present moment, not allowing others to exert a negative impact on you, they write. “When you slow down the speed of life, your perception of the world will change.”
Making time to unwind
Jeffrey D Berklich DC MPH DABCO, board certified chiropractic orthopedist and a chiropractic consultant with the ActivHealthCare network in Alpharetta, GA, wears several professional hats and understands well the need to slow down. In addition to his chiropractic responsibilities, he holds the lead faculty/area chair position for Science and Math at the University of Phoenix (UoP), Atlanta Campus and is actively negotiating a new professional collaborative contract with a medical group practice
“If I don’t carve out time to unwind, I believe I would blow a gasket!” he says. “At the same time there is an excitement about juggling all of this that can’t be denied. This is a good stress, but it is stress nonetheless.”
But Berklich has found a way to achieve balance in his life. “Time will not find me nor will it give me any more of it. So I have to find and make time in advance. I do this by understanding what I need to do each day and what I would like to do. Need to do first, like to do second,” he emphasizes.
The practice, chiropractic consulting and UoP-area chair activities are need-to-do items, but so is routine relaxation, according to Berklich. “Sometimes it’s exercise, running, a little pick-up basketball or tennis, or maybe a little TV. Other times it’s just sitting down on a warm sunny day and feeling part of the world. Simple, but effective!” he says. “Also, I have found that the better my relationships are, the more effective everything else is. Cultivating positive family, friend and business relationships requires focused effort, but this is returned exponentially.”
Using a sports analogy, Berklich compares his jam-packed schedule to a workout. “The bottom line is that the cool down is as important as the run itself if you intend to do it day after day, and that’s why ‘relax and slow down’ has to be included as a routine part of the day,” he says.