1. I’ve slowed down.
As a recovering perfectionist and multitasker, I was a hard sell when anyone would mention deceleration. I was addicted to the buzz that came with productivity and efficiency, what authorKatrina Alcorn calls being in “getting things done heaven.” When I slow things down just a notch, however, I err less and can sustain the pace for much longer, without exhaustion or burnout. Thisslower, steadier pace actually increases my efficiency and costs me less in energy expenditure over the long haul.
2. I go with the flow more often.
The perfectionist in me loves control and structure. Some structure is great, but too much produces rigidity and frustration when things don’t go as planned. Mindfulness practice has taught me to accept life as it unfolds. This does not mean I always like the way it is unfolding or may not work to change what is under my control. In order to do this, though, I must first step back and accept reality for what it is.
3. I see the bigger picture.
When I am stressed or hurried or frustrated by things not going according to plan, I perceive reality in narrow focus, almost as if wearing blinders. Pausing to bring awareness to the breath helps expand my view and reminds me that the situation may not be as dire as initially believed.
4. My priorities are clear.
As I remove the blinders and look up to see the bigger picture of my life, what truly matters becomes increasingly clear. Materialistic goods lose some luster and a deep connection to people and simple daily moments become high priority. This has helped me say no to many things and yes to the ones most meaningful to me.
5. I am more grateful and happy.
When I am stuck in my own stress and busyness, there is little time for reflection and gratitude. When I am more mindful, I am more grateful. When I am more grateful, I am more loving. When I am more loving, I am infinitely happier.
6. I have more fun.
I tend toward the serious and cerebral. When I am living more in the moment, I innately feel more playful, spontaneous and adventurous. I laugh more and my whole body feels lighter.
7. I savor the little moments.
My adolescent daughter’s hug. My son singing at the top of his two-year-old-lungs. Listening to a song my husband has written and recorded. The gorgeous sunrise on the way home from the bus stop. These are a few of my favorite things – which may have easily been missed had I not been mindful enough to notice.