Maybe we need to take some time to stop

Many of us grew up without wealth and rooms filled with toys. We grew up with parents that loved us, spent time with us, helped us and taught us. We may have shared a room with a sibling, visited the grandparents or extended family often, rode our bike, played with balls and did some fun after school or weekend sport.

We may not have had brand name clothes or even the latest fashion trends; we may have attended public school and friends, argued with our sister or brother and certainly argued over the remote or television program to watch with our one TV in the house.

Most of us didn’t go without too much, and we didn’t suffer the anxiety that affects so many children these days. We were not rich and although not dreadfully poor, we had enough to survive. Dad often worked long hours and mum may have also worked full or part time. There was food on the table every night, even if it was scrambled ages or baked beans sometimes with toast, it was healthy food, and our bed was comfortable and warm.

We learned to be happy with what we had; understood purchases could be made only on occasion, and we lost ourselves in the television world of fantasy whenever we could.

We never owned a brand new car but the car we had provided enough room for us all and didn’t break down. School was attended, and we were expected to work and pay our way when stepping into the adult world. We weren’t stressed, demanding or anxious. We were certainly not on medication for ADD, ADHD, ODD, Anxiety or Depression. We were kids living and enjoying life, expecting little and having fun.

What changed?

We now have children demanding things, expecting more, believing they have more entitlements and then feeling sorry for themselves if these expectations are not met as adequately as they believe they need to be.

What has happened?

Some people tell us it is the pressure of life, stress of expectations, yet when did kids need to carry the world on their shoulders, make life changing decisions at 14 years old, set themselves up for retirement at 21 years. All this is occurring and clearly we are not coping very well. Kids seem to be missing out on their childhood.

We seem to accept that working 50 hours a week is acceptable and necessary. We shouldn’t be glued to our phones, unable to switch off for even the time it takes to get through dinner. We seem to believe that running on tension is tolerable. Why then is a large portion of the population, both young and old, being treated for anxiety disorders?

There needs to be time for love, to play, explore and for adventures. We weren’t designed or born to just work, pay bills then die. We were born to live, to play, enjoy, share, and to experience. How do we do this in our now overwhelming busy world and lifestyle?

We need to get back to basic and simple. To allow ourselves time to shut off, step down and wind back. When I ask clients when the last time was they just sat, looked at the shape of the clouds, listened to their favourite song sitting quietly with eyes closed or even dancing widely to the beat; they look back at me blank. They never have the time. We must take time. By rearranging the time in our day, to put down the phone or not continually check social media can afford us quiet a number of free minutes (or hours) every single day.

When we can do and enjoy the simple things like dancing to that song, going for a walk, throwing the ball to the dog, having a swim or sitting on the grass watching the cloud formations change shape, reading a story to our children, we become at peace with yourself. We allow our mind to stop, recharge and reconnect with ourselves. We simply slow down a little and start to recognise the important things in this life.

We were born to live and dream and to feel alive. We were born to find purpose, freedom and a reason to survive.

Important things like talking to a friend, our partner or the kids. Spending time to listen, laugh, encourage and support. When we don’t, we become disconnected with ourselves and those around us.

I urge everyone to take some time, even 10 minutes each day to just stop, do something you like perhaps with someone you want, but just stop. The recharge and clarity you can obtain in body and mind will clearly demonstrate this is how people should feel and should be. Not running at a million miles an hour, 7 days a week, but working consistently before stopping to rejuvenate by doing what it is you enjoy with the people you love doing it with. Enjoy all life has to offer with those you enjoy sharing it with, doing what you enjoy.

Read more form Dr Karen Phillip

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