Maybe turning 60 causes introspection. Maybe I’m more attuned to how to better take care of myself. But I’m seeing the convergence of a lot of trends which you could roll up and label “Throttling Back”. Here’s the evidence.
1. SLEEP MORE - Healthcare experts, article, fitness gurus and news reports suggest that getting plenty of sleep is a key to longevity, less stress and of course, feeling less tired. This is antithetical to the go-go ‘80s and humble bragging about getting by on a few hours of sleep. Some presidents are reported to sleep only 4 to 5 hours a night. Good for them. I’ll stick to my preferred 8 hours. On other thing: please don’t sleep shame me just because you sleep fewer hours than me or I’m not up when you are.
2. MEDITATION – Many of those same experts and news sources report an uptick of mindful meditation practitioners. It supposedly has similar benefits to getting the proper amount of sleep. I myself meditate 10-15 minutes several times a week. I heard someone compare it to defragging a computer and I like that analogy. It certainly clears the head and calms you for what you face next.
3. BREATHING – Who has to be told to breathe? Now there is a body of evidence that proper breathing, taking cleansing deep breaths and practicing breath holds also contributes to lowering of blood pressure and increased energy. The breath is one way the body eliminates toxins along with sweating and excretion. Performers and athletes have known the value of controlled breathing for some time. I practice breath holds when I take my morning walk or bike ride. The rest of the day I definitely have greater lung capacity.
4. THE LAW OF ATTRACTION – This tells us not to be so hard on ourselves. Stressing over something, worrying about it and expecting the worst seems to attract that which we’re trying to avoid. Instead, expect a positive outcome and good things happen because you’re open and more receptive. It’s the path of least resistance. The vortex and vibrations talk around this topic sounds kind of woo woo to me. But I’ve tried expecting positive results instead of negative several times this year with business deals and they seemed to magically happen in my favor. I’m going to keep practicing this.
5. WORK/LIFE BALANCE – as a Baby Boomer my work ethic did not contain the phrase work/life balance. But I started hearing this a lot in my executive recruiting business from millennial age candidates some 10 years ago. One of them took a year off from work to chill and called it her “radical sabbatical.” When she was ready to re-enter the workforce I placed her at an ad agency where she stayed for several years. It was a place where the CEO also subscribes to that balance.
6. FORGET NO PAIN NO GAIN – my yoga instructor came back from a conference in New England recently where she was advised not to push so hard. One of the advanced yogi’s was actually offered a chair in class because she had some difficulty with a pose. Another example is popular fitness trainer Ben Greenfield who has competed in Ironman triathlons, bodybuilding, Spartan races and other extreme sports events for years. On a recent podcast, he announced that he, too, is planning to throttle back to more leisurely endeavors such as bow hunting. And he’s not yet 40!
Chances are, we’re going to see a lot more throttling back as time goes on. It’s time to sit back and relax. Don’t worry, be happy and all that.