22 Mar Permission to slow down
I’ve been doing a lot of stories work with clients lately, both in 1:1 sessions and in workshops. We’ve looked at how the stories we carry in our minds drive our behaviour.
We all have stories and often we’re not conscious of them. A really simple example of this is with yoga. I’ve been practicing regularly now for the past year (silver lining after a running injury) and for most of the year I’ve held the story that I am really inflexible and can’t trust my body to stay strong when I hold poses. The yoga instructor reminds students daily to trust their bodies, and have faith that your body can go that little bit further. And slowly over the year I’ve taken those new stories on board – ‘my body can stretch a bit further, I do have a strong body that is capable’. And I have noticed when I let myself believe I can stretch further in yoga, all of a sudden I can actually, physically stretch further. I also notice when I tell myself the new story that I am strong, I can pick up heavier things with ease, and I feel more empowered for doing so.
Stories are powerful, we’re all moving about our day with a wealth of stories about who we are, what we’re capable of, what obligations we have. One of the stories I notice time and again is around trying to keep up with life, staying ahead of the game, taking lots of action.
It’s a story held by so many of us, and it’s a story that’s wearing us out. In my course on stress we discuss how being perpetually in motion is actually a numbing strategy. If we’re constantly ‘doing’ we don’t need to address our emotions. I hear stories like ‘if I slow down what else is going to give me purpose?’ ‘I have to keep up otherwise I’ll be out of a job and wind up on the street.’
But there are so many powerful and exciting stories we can tell ourselves to the contrary. Such as, ‘when I slow down and give myself some time to reflect, I get an opportunity to connect back to the real me.’ ‘When I slow down I actually have more creative ideas.’ ‘When I slow down I become more authentic, and therefore more connected.’ ‘When I slow down I become less of a burden on planet earth, there’s nothing more soothing to mother nature than a still human being.’
It’s firstly about identifying the stories that hold us back, and then, it’s about creating new stories that will really serve us.
We get to decide on the story, contrary to what we’re encouraged to believe we are not wholly a product of our environment, we can steer the ship, we can be the creators of our own stories.
It’s a powerful procees, and if you want to learn more, email here for a brochure.
Sending love, Hannah
PS. We are currently published in Civil Society Media. Check out the latest post all about wellbeing in leadership.