Unless you’re that oak tree that has calmly enjoyed its existence since the war, it’s safe to assume that your life can get pretty hectic no matter your vocation or the vastness of your social circle. And considering the omnipresent haste and ruffle in almost every society on the globe, you might think that slowing down is precisely what you need, no matter what brought it about in the first place.

But putting aside the chaos for a second, are you even aware and immersed in your present moment, or are you pondering about the troubles of your future self? Trying to live “ahead of time” deprives you of the joy of the now, while never truly ensuring a safe future you’re struggling to grasp. And slowing down to smell the roses as opposed to slowing down to worry and go through the what-ifs might be precisely what’s keeping you away from truly taking a breather.

Finding your Hakuna Matata

Switching your focus from what might make you unhappy down the road to what makes you overjoyed right now would literally grant you the chance to slow down in order to stay ahead – because nothing invigorates a person quite like a jolt of good vibes. And let’s face it, everyone just wants to be happy. Whether that means joining a rafting club or playing chess with your best mate, you can genuinely restore your now-focused mindset by deliberately making yourself happy.

It’s the paradox of life: by the time you hit the six-mile-mark, you will have worried about your silver years your entire youth, only to spend them wondering why the hell you passed up so many opportunities to simply enjoy a good steak or a fun conversation for the sake of paperwork. Balance the musts with the shoulds and you’ll be able to savor life at a slower pace while still keeping up with its hasty tempo.   

Look for the bare necessities

It’s the little things in life, people say, and they couldn’t be more right. And this becomes of utmost importance in moments when it’s least possible to slow down, so you need to enjoy life in its most basic form. Instead of inhaling your lunch while watching a ten-minute clip on how to get ripped fast, why not contemplate the actual tastes you have going on in your mouth? Or singing along your favorite tunes while you feel the water slide down your back in the shower?

Hell, it’s precisely these necessities that help you take a moment to yourself, so don’t rush through them while your mind is elsewhere, but revel in their simplicity and make them worth your while. You’d be surprised just how much more you’ll be able to get done afterwards if you take a step back at the right moment.

bare necessities

Life is what happens to us

While we’re making other plans, said Allen Saunders wisely while drawing yet another brilliant comic. But the benefits of planning are still greater than surrendering to the great unknown while worrying your head off, wondering if you’ll be able to retire on that exotic Mexico beach. And there’s a distinct difference between worrying and planning for the future – the former keeps you up at night, while the latter gives you a peace of mind that we all strive for.

So, take matters into your own hands and create a plan that will give you much-needed serenity without disrupting your entire existence. Open a savings account, consult a financial advisor for a more detailed plan, take the age pension income test, and draft a ten-year career outline to see where you want to go. Each of these steps is hands-on, they allow you to take a step back and reevaluate your life, after which you can finally take your vacation without worrying about your dental plan.

Look beyond what you see

Just in case you aren’t sure about this one, it’s Rafiki. And if a monkey said it, then it must be true. But in the real world of real issues, it may begin with a seemingly benign thought about whether or not a position is right for you and become a full-scale red alert. So, you end up stifling your professional progress and staying in your comfort zone because you’re overwhelmed by the sheer prospect of unpredictability. Will you exceed their expectations? Or perhaps find out your hate the job?

In all aspects of life, we weigh our options, but vote nay when some form of risk tips the scales. But if you take a different perspective, life is entirely made up of risks – every time you walk into the street or the bank, the situation has the potential to escalate, but we don’t end up locked in a bomb shelter for the rest of our lives. You need to distinguish between genuine threats and hypothetical possibilities in the realm of almost impossible, and prevent them from ruining your coffee break, let alone your career path, or your love life, for that matter.

Life is mostly in your hands, and the control you have will not slip away if you devote more time to biting your nails over those moments you simply cannot affect. As the wise prayer says, find the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Nate Vickery is a business consultant and a blogger mostly engaged in finding and implementing of the latest technology trends into SMB and startup management and marketing processes. Nate is also the editor-in-chief of a business-oriented blog- Bizzmarkblog.com.