I love walking through book stores. Just thinking about how much I can learn and then implement in my life, gets me excited. And the allure of the free shipping and two day delivery that Amazon promises, is almost as intoxicating for me.
I often search for new recipes for healthy meals, strategies to improve my business, tips to organize my home and fresh ideas on how to move my body. There’s so much information out there, a girl could get giddy with excitement. And I often do.
Once I order a book, I eagerly anticipate the new information that I’ll learn once I digest it all. But lately, I’ve begun to notice a pattern.
The pattern starts once the excitement of learning something new wears off. Then the overwhelm begins to creep in. There’s so much conflicting information out there, my head has a tough time deciphering it all. That critical inner voice in my head tries to help. “With all the conflicting facts I’m hearing, which one will I implement in MY life?” “How do I know what’s best for me?” and “Oh my gosh. I’m so busy. How will I ever add what they’re suggesting to my already full day?”
The pattern continues with a slight sense of defeat. After a few days of wrestling with the peripheral noise of the overwhelming amount of information, I decide to stop the internal chatter, and I reluctantly store my new book in the cabinet, with the goal to read it at a later time.
And standing in front of my bookshelf already filled, by the way, with books related to recipes, business growth, home organization and exercise tips… it hits me.
I don’t need more information. My shelves are packed full of information! (Check out the picture. It’s my bookshelf!)
So what’s the disconnect? Why am I compelled to search for the latest, the best, the quickest way to a goal?
And then I hear it again; that annoying voice in my head. “There you go again, spending money on books that you won’t even finish reading.” “Why are you taking so much time searching, rather than just doing what you know you should.”
And here’s my saving grace. My hope is that you will benefit from hearing it, too.
It’s human nature to want the easiest, most efficient way to do things. That’s just how we’re wired.
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar place, wanting to bring in a new habit or routine to your life, but are feeling overwhelmed with how to actually implement it.
We don’t have to listen to all the noise and abundance of information out there. We already know what’s best for us.
Rather than purchasing more books, here’s what I choose to do now, and maybe it will help you, too.
Tune out the noise. And tune in to what you already know you need.
Our bodies and minds have the ability to give us the answers we need. It’s our job to take the time and listen.
So, how do we take the time to tune in, when we live in a fast paced society that honors and rewards busyness?
We make a habit of pausing and focusing on what we need, rather than listening to the external forces around us.
In order to tune out the noise, and tune in to the answers that I know are within me, I take a simple pause. When I become overwhelmed, I have recently gotten into the habit of literally pausing what I’m doing, and I practice intentional breathing.
There are many different breathing techniques. Google “breathing techniques” and you may find one that fits into your lifestyle.
However, I choose keep my intentional breathing technique simple so that I can remember it easily and practice it anywhere. (in the grocery store line, in traffic, in bed when sleep eludes me)
Here’s the intentional breathing technique that works for me:
Inhale slowly for 3 counts
Hold for 4 counts
And exhale for 4 counts
For me, that’s all there is to it. And after repeating this series of breaths only three times, my heart rate slows down, the thoughts stop racing in my head and I am better able to listen to the answers within me.
After I’ve taken my pause, I can then ask myself simple questions that will help me find my own answers. Like…
“What foods do I love and make me feel energized?” (Those get on my menu plan.)
“What can I do to serve more people in my business?” (This helps me prioritize my work.)
“What’s the one small place I see every day, that, if organized, would save me time, simplify my life, and generally make me happier?” (This is where I’ll start my decluttering process.)
So, I beg you, if you see me walking back and forth in front of the entrance to Barnes and Noble, muttering under my breath, and counting quietly, please don’t judge me. You’ll understand that I’m not confused, I’m just trying to tune out the noise.