I heard somewhere that in order to actually stop and smell the roses, you need to notice them first.
No matter how much I try and be present or live in the moment, busyness and overwhelm seem to set in. And when I feel busy I seem to trade gratitude for worry and push through in my own strength instead of relying on God.
In these times I’m reminded of Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” This truth helps me re-focus and trust God to help me through whatever it is I’m feeling anxious about.
Instead of reacting by getting busier and rushing through life in a tizzy, trying to fix everything on my own, I’m learning strategies for staying present, to stop and smell the roses. Even though I don’t feel like I have enough time to relax and enjoy life, I know I’m far healthier when I do.
Four ways to stop and smell the roses
Deep breaths. It’s amazing how fast a few deep, calm breaths take my panic level down from seven to three. Whenever I get worked up and feel my heart racing and my mind spinning I know I need to stop what I’m doing and breathe. So simple yet so effective.
Get outside. Since my job is attached to a computer I have a zillion excuses for staying indoors. But there’s something about fresh air that sets my mind at ease and now I make a point to get outside for at least 15 minutes every day. I return to my desk refreshed, renewed and often with a little inspiration.
Focus on the truth. When my head starts spinning I lose the plot, to say the least. By grabbing trusted Scripture verses and focusing my thoughts on what I know is true, I’m able to redirect my mind on things that give me peace.
Slow down. This may seem counter-intuitive since the entire problem is there are too many things to do and not enough hours in the day but I’m learning the importance of slowing down when I start spiralling. The first thing I do is take my to-do list and break it up into what has to get done today and what can wait. Instant pressure release.
Although I’m getting better at maintaining balance and living for today there are times I miss the warning signs and get myself into a bit of a state. As soon as I notice what’s happening I implement my strategies to stop and smell the roses: deep breaths, get outside, focus on the truth and slow down.
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8