Psychology for Living

Gwen Randall-Young
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Life should not be a marathon

If you feel that you are running a million miles an hour and it is exhausting you, you may not have learned the art of pacing yourself. A marathon runner learns that it is pointless to try to run at top speed throughout the race. Life should not be a marathon, but it can seem like one if we never take time to rest.

Unless our lives are incredibly simple, there is probably more for each of us to do in a day or a week than we could ever hope to accomplish. If we always focus on what we did not accomplish, as opposed to what we did do, then we create inner turmoil - everything from stress and anxiety to lowered self-esteem. The pace of modern life makes it easy to forget that the purpose of life is to BE, not to DO.

If things are getting hectically out of hand, it might be a good idea to call a time out. Leave the laundry or the paperwork, and just take a relaxing bath with or without a good book. If you are overscheduled in the evenings and weekends, take a week off from all commitments. If you were sick, you would have to miss things, and taking some pre-emptive rest and relaxation might avert that. If you are tired, go to bed two hours earlier than usual. It will produce the same result as if you were able to sleep in.

If you have become too serious about life, go out with friends and have fun. You see, the end of life will come, and we STILL won’t have everything done. It’s not about how fast we go, or how much we do - it is truly about how much we enjoy.

So pace yourself, and sprinkle plenty of enjoyment throughout your days.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or CDs, visit www.gwen.ca.

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