How to Pay Attention: 4 steps Plan to Help you Slow Down

tran·si·tion (tranˈziSH(ə)n,tranˈsiSH(ə)n/)… the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

Life's transitions… we all go through them.  Transitions are not only changes, but life's experiences that involve great change and transformation.  They impact our life; some, drawing a -before & after line on the path.

With these periods of change and transformation also come anxiety and stress as the uncertainty ahead, the fine list of details to oversee or the preparedness that is required mount up incredibly fast.  Too fast, it’s easy to get absorbed in the doing, so much we forget to look after ourselves just a bit more, take better care of our relationships or enjoy the journey to the challenge(s) ahead.

Going through various life's transitions has left some big imprints in my heart, has forever changed the way I see life, has been my wildest rides and most importantly, they’ve given me the most extraordinary gifts I could have -ever, dreamed of.  But these great moments of change are also loyal teachers that have also given me a few unforgettable lessons, among the biggest: to pay attention.

Life moves in many ways, at a speed it turns our world into a hectic whirlwind from deadlines and endless responsibilities to extreme pressure, ferocious competition, constant travels to relocating around the world, raising a family or caring for a loved one...; yet, in the middle of chaos, there always lies a lesson (or two) for growth.  Because lessons exist in every corner, sometimes in disguised but most of the times hitting us hard on the head.  Lessons are here to teach us something we need or something we’ve asked for and will keep coming until we learn them and make room for new ones.  Until... we start paying attention.

So how do we do it, how do we pay attention? Start with, slowing down and practicing gratitude.  That’s it.  Same responsibilities, same plans and dreams, same challenges, only more present, more connected, actually listening, aware of what’s happening inside and outside of you.  That is the start line of your ‘to do’ list: To be present & to be thankful.

Here’s a simple action plan to help you slow down:

1. Listen to your body: Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise.  Have fun.

2. Choose smart: Eat healthy, nourish positive thinking, spend more time around nature.

3. Increase self-compassion: more love and acceptance, less judgement and criticism. We know we are our toughest critics, learn to control your inner critic and make room for your loving self.

4. Create an outlet: Having a space for you only is extremely necessary in today’s world, you must create it and give yourself at least 10 minutes a day where you can be in an atmosphere of silence or play soothing music; a place where you won’t be disturbed.  Use those ten minutes to relax, to practice breathing exercises, to pray or meditate.

Gratitude is your gift to yourself.  The impact gratitude has in our life is a powerful one.  Start with observing all the gifts around you.

1. Write them down and place them in a place where you can read them every day.

2. Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier and before you get out of bed, place your hands in your heart and think of all the things you are grateful for and stay there filling your heart with thankfulness.

Practice is the key to success.  The ripple effect from slowing down and becoming more thankful will teach you a new way of looking at things and give you a new understanding for the value of life with all its gifts and all its lessons thus, impacting every aspect of your being, in all its dimensions.  Try and see for yourself.

Embrace life different.