How many times have you checked your email, your face book, twitter account or your mobile texts in the last 2-3 hours? Are you focused on the task at hand or simply focus to get things done so you can mark it complete and get on to the next one? In conversations, are you engaged or constantly thinking about what your next best response will be?
These days, we are bombarded with everything that leaves us distracted, unfocused and unfortunately physically present but not really there. Do you remember the days when you had a corded landline phone in your home? When you get highly irritated because your best friend had to hear your mom yell out in the background, “hung up the phone right now before I get there!” Try saying this to your teenager now and you’ll be met with the answer, “hung up where?” You can’t argue with that. It’s true, everything we ever need now is within our reach. There is no need to walk over to a corded phone, asks whose calling and hung it back on the receiver when chitchat is over. We have grown smarter and way more efficient than that or have we really?
There is no doubt especially for Filipinos abroad that technology has positively made connections to our loved ones easier. Back in the day, if you haven’t seen your relative for 5 years, it’s smart to bring a big signage with their name during your airport pick-up to make sure you’re picking up the right person. Now, we use Skype, Face Time, Viber and Messanger to connect with each other within seconds. If someone comments , “uy tumaba ka,” ( you’ve gained weight) despite regular virtual chats, you’re almost sure that that person is not your friend unless they had their camera off on all your virtual conversations.
The Pressure to Do More
We certainly measure our productivity with how much we have accomplished for the day. We no longer assess the outcome of our work with just quality. Be it the quality of our play time with our children, the quality of our conversation with our spouse or with a co-worker, or the quality of comfort we provide a grieving friend. We certainly are doing the best that we can, this I know is true, but we might have bought into this productivity radar that efficient means completion period. How would your life differ, if you can check off “pick up clothes in laundry mat on your to-do-list but also have you the energy to play monopoly with Junior (your 7 year old son) ‘til his heart’s content?
Slowing Down is Good for the Mind
You noticed that you have a few movies and docu-series on Netflix that are all half-way through? I know! I do the same. We are inundated with too many choices and therefore our minds are preoccupied with what’s next rather than what’s here now. It is no surprise that our attention span seems to have gotten shorter and our ability to delay our gratification a challenge. What do these got to do with your happiness health?
I define happiness as our ability to embrace our imperfections amidst all our scars and bumps. It’s not the absence of loss, sadness or disappointments in life, but rather, it’s the ability to be-friend these characters to build stories of happy endings.
When you slow down either to be present with a loved one or in the process of creating that may or may not lead to completion, you hone your ability to be one with yourself.
Slowing down is the mind’s workout.
Our physical bodies need the motion while the mind needs to be in attention.
It’s human nature to avoid pain but learning to delay your gratification means understanding that some of the best movies don’t always begin with the best picturesque scenes but who knows, if you can stay a a tad longer, you might be tuning in to the Best Picture Movie awardee in the future!
Your happiness health relies on YOU (and sure on many other things, too), and understanding your own personal history, your needs and wants, strengths and weaknesses as crucial elements to embodying it.
You can’t find it because it already exists within you. Slowing down to map out the way to your internal treasure box of happiness is key.
Believe me, I’m a productivity junkie and don’t enjoy wasting time. But, being overwhelmed myself raising young kiddos in America, I’ve learned that being present and slowing down are good uses of my time. I continue to be organized in my schedule and have found a system that works well with me through trial and error.
My recommendation is not that you stop chasing your dreams or tackle tasks that must be done but rather I simply invite you to include activities that entail playful moments and intent memory building with your loved ones as part of your productive day.
Slow down and continue to chase your joy and dreams ferociously.
Related Post: 13 Ways To Be Happier in Your 30s
Sa uulitin (until next time),