By Lori Hanson
Is your life a reflection of driving in the fast lane on the freeway (one that moves)? Do you start your day by mindlessly putting your key in the ignition, backing out of the drive and after a quick sideways glance, merge on to the freeway and set cruise control without even thinking about it. Your thoughts are focused on all the things you have to do today. And before you know it you are remembering the things you forgot to do before you left home because you were moving too fast and not tuned in.
In a society built on face passed lifestyles, constant distractions, pressure to perform and impress and drama (including the overflow of reality TV) most people don’t even give a thought to where the scenic route is or consider why they would choose it when the freeway is faster. But the daily grind of living (or driving) in the fast lane on the freeway takes its toll. You need more than a pit stop for gas—you need new brakes, tires, a new windshield and without taking time to do regular maintenance you might even need a new transmission. And that will take time to fix. Sooner or later with continued driving in the fast lane you have an accident and that can leave permanent damage.
But all of this can be avoided, or adjusted. By taking the scenic route your experience on the road through life will be quite different. There will be less traffic, a slower pace, better gas mileage, nicer views and overall less wear and tear on your vehicle and nerves.
If you spend every day acting without thinking at a conscious level following the same routines: nagging at your kids who don’t listen, complaining about your boss, employees or significant other and getting stressed out because nobody does things the way you want them to. You’ll be worried and fretting about everything that goes wrong all day—you’re stuck on auto pilot.
If you’re perplexed why you can’t stop smoking, don’t eat better or start that exercise program you keep meaning to—you’re on auto pilot. You need to get off at the next exit and take the scenic route to slow down, re-evaluate life and enjoy the scenery. You only get to do this once so every day needs to count. Here are three things you can do to locate the scenic route and improve your quality of life:
- First thing in the morning when you wake up before you launch into your morning tasks or activities, take five minutes and think or write about what you are grateful for. This will set the tone for your day by changing your perspective. It moves you from “need” to a balance and serenity.
- As you wake the kids, fix breakfast and run out the door or exercise and go for your morning run think about what you are doing. Breathe the air, look at the trees and flowers. Feel your legs and feet while you jog, tune in to how they feel. Absorb the sights and sounds around you. Be there in that moment. If you don’t work out in the morning, notice little things about your kids, animals or spouse that make you smile. Whatever you are tuned in to and focus on sets the tone for your journey that day.
- Contemplate your day the way you would like it to go. Picture everything going smoothly—we live in a world of infinite possibilities. After you have this picture in your head let go and expect the best outcome and if the day seems to spin out of control and nothing goes as planned, let go and realize everything is just as is should be. Let everything be okay. Even if something feels traumatic, painful or you get sick. Look for the lesson, what’s the message you are getting about your current situation? Maybe you just got the message to slow down, pull over and watch the sunset. Isn’t it time for you take the scenic route?
Need help setting your GPS to the scenie route? Get some now.