It’s a busy life you lead. Getting a moment to yourself is hard enough. You read plenty of Facebook articles on zen, reflection, meditation and so on; reading is one thing, applying the concepts are another whole ball of wax.

The entire premise of taking time is to boost reflection a creativity. Without this time it is nearly impossible to conquer the things you want that feel just out of reach.

Our society is not set up for “self time.”

In fact, there is an article floating around out there about how running yourself to, literally, death is possible. Many of the citizens of China are suffering the consequences of over work as you read this.

It is so much easier to see the psychiatrist, pop a pill or have a glass or wine.

There is certainly a time and a place for pill popping, if you must, or a drink with friends. Unfortunately one of these, or both, has become many Americans go to self help tool. In many cases all a person really needs is to slow down to stop and smell the roses.

Taking time for yourself is healing.

Many artists will tell you they come up with their best ideas while taking it easy. You will certainly not experience your next big ah-hah moment while running around like a lunatic doing and doing all day.

When I prescribe time off people often ask, puzzled, “What should I do with it?”

The answer is, anything you want, so as there are no expectations and it is relaxing. While you are in this state you will have the opportunity to reflect on whatever it is that needs it. Maybe you are feeling like you need more hours in the day. With time off, paradoxically, you will find the answer to needing more time. Possibly you are a student writing a dissertation, that time off will allow your mind to flow creatively in the natural direction it needs to go. If it is your marriage or parenting that needs help, relaxing a bit and stepping away will allow you to see the bigger picture.

Counseling is a good way to start practicing the art of slowing down to take an opportunity for reflection.

Counseling clients make their weekly or bi-weekly appointments at various times of the day. They must stop what they are doing and go to the appointment they committed to. During this time it is all about them, what they think, feel and experience. When is it EVER all about you!?

If now isn’t the time to go to counseling for  you try this:

Start by taking some time for yourself. Maybe it is 5 minutes a day to just sit and clear your mind. It can be at night, at lunch or in the morning. The time does not matter. As the days go by you can increase this time. Notice how your perceptions change as you allow this exercise to become apart of your routine. Monitor your mood changes and relationship changes. You may even want to track in some informal way how your productivity transforms more positively as well.