Take a moment to reflect on your relationship to time; what effect it has on your life.
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle and nonstop hurrying has a profound effect on our health. Think about the way you go through your daily activities. Do you allot plenty of time to get them all done? Do you do them with ease and enjoy what you are doing? Or do you rush with clenched jaw and fists throughout the day, not noticing anything except for your to-do list, feeling totally stressed, and as though there is NEVER enough time?
One important question in decoding the time-crunch mystery is:
What is your personal relationship to time?
Are you always late? Always early? (Both are really different sides of the same coin, as they both cause stress.) Do you see time as your enemy? As something that happens to you? That you have no control over?
Let’s first discuss how your relationship to time is determined. A plethora of psychological and environmental factors combine to create your specific time dynamic. The good news is that none of that matters if you really want to change it. Awareness is the first step. Desire for a different experience is the next.
Part of what I want you to explore is MINDFULNESS: clear moment-to-moment awareness of what is actually happening. When you are thinking about what’s next, you are robbed of the current moment. Living in the future, immediate or long-term, can be a trap for inaction.
Let me share my time transformation story. In January 2007, I saw the documentary The Secret. While watching the film I had a shocking epiphany about my relationship to time. I was always proud about NEVER being late and had very little tolerance for tardiness. I left restaurants, fought with people, and self-righteously judged latecomers. My friends fell into two categories —the ones I could count on, and the flaky ones (a.k.a. time challenged). I rushed everywhere, all the time, even when there was no reason. For me, rushing made me short-tempered with people. Tourists walking slow in Times Square could send me into a tizzy of anger and negativity. The sweeping generalizations would start and the rest of my day would be colored in harshness. I never thought about this dynamic until that night. The amount of self-induced stress I was creating was embarrassing once I realized what was happening. For all those years, I thought time was happening to me, only to realize it was all in my mind.
The first thing I did with my newfound knowledge was to pledge, “no rushing anywhere, anymore”. When I did that, my world changed. I started affirming every day that I had exactly the right amount of time I needed. My husband would lovingly remind me when I forgot. Our dynamic changed completely around time. My typical “you are going to make me late” rant ended. I would expect him to make me late, and, therefore, he would not disappoint. We have a great friendship and a great marriage, yet things would really turn acrimonious around this issue. Removing that dynamic from our lives has been a blessing.
Another major change that happened for me was my ability and desire to be hear now. No matter what is happening I want to be here to experience it—mind and body. The main shift internally is the elimination of a boatload of daily stress. I consciously choose not to stress about time even if the subway is running late, thereby making me late. The world will not end. I will not spontaneously combust into flames.
How can you figure out your relationship to time? Start by honestly assessing how you behave in time-related situations. Then ask the people in your life. Does how you relate to time cause stress in your relationship with them? Are you present in your life most of the time, some of the time, or not much of the time? Once you have figured out your time style (or dysfunction as it might be), journal about how it makes you feel. Recall instances where it has created a problem in a relationship or a work situation. Now think about how you want to be. Make a list of bold statements in the present tense, then change your mind about time.
Life is too amazing to be ruled by the clock in either direction. And your relationships are too precious to be negatively impacted by time-related resentments. You can change your mind about time.
As always, I am interested to hear of your time conundrums or maybe the tips and tricks you have developed to allow time to be on your side.
P.S. Meditation helps recalibrate your thought patterns and flex your be here now muscle, please check out my Meditation Transformation CD if you need a little help getting started ❤
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. For almost two decades, Terri has empowered companies, celebrities, professional athletes, and individuals to Live Fearless and Free. Currently, Terri is wrapping up her first solo book project, “Flip Over and Float—8 Steps to Sustainable Change,” filming “The Conversation” for the Lifetime Network, executive produced by Demi Moore, set to launch February 2012. Terri can also be seen as the guest transformation expert on A&E’s Monster In-Laws. In addition to her website, Terri can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.