Monday, November 9, 2009

Lessons from Pooh

LONDON - DECEMBER 15:  A rare Winnie-the-Pooh ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It's Monday morning.

I'd been up and working for about 90 minutes and still had not made coffee. Update the website. Send the newsletter. Answer that email. Take the call. Each led to something else, something off-task but on point for what was interesting to me in that moment. I had to stop and take a breath -- and then updated my Twitter Status:

"The hurried-er I go, the behind-er I get. #WinniethePooh #Feldenkrais "

It was a revelation, really; one of those moments of awareness that put everything into perspective. It doesn't matter how long or how short the weekend is. It doesn't matter how many deadlines loom. It doesn't matter how many clients are booked in for the day. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING feels worse when I HURRY.

Hurrying and rushing are two hallmarks of stress. One of my favorite sayings of Moshe Feldenkrais is that it's possible to move quickly, without hurrying. WOW.

Do you feel rushed, stressed, on edge? How much do the words "Hurry" or "Hurry up!" creep into your vocabulary? Hurry is an unhappy merry-go-round that makes you and everyone around you stressed out. However, it's not hard to shift gears and find a better way.

We've come to associate speed with competitive urgency, rather than the joy of ease and agility. Pooh had it right. Sometimes the best way to catch up is to slow down. Hurrying allows errors and inefficiency to creep in. Pay attention to the quality of what you're trying to do. Those old tricks we know of making a chore into a game, or counting your blessings, or just taking a short breather, all work because they interrupt the pattern of rushing and stressing. You can't experience things differently if you don't change the pattern.

What are your stress patterns?
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