Sunday, June 6, 2010

Becoming More Aware

So, Jake and I have been reading this book called "Married to Distraction" by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and Sue George Hallowell, LICSW. It's kinda blowing my mind. The hubs (or Jake) has mild ADD and it's been affecting our marriage a lot. This book is fascinating in describing the ways in which technology and our fast-paced culture have created new kinds of ADD and ADD-like processing. There is scientific research that says our ipod, internet, cell phone, twitter, information at the speed of light, choices until our brain explodes, nano-second attention span world that we live in.....can cause our brains to form processing patterns that mimic ADD.

So people that don't really have ADD, are acting like they have ADD because everything around them is pulling at their attention and their brains learn to shift attention at faster and faster rates. It becomes harder and harder to actually pay attention to anything......it's crazy stuff.

We'll go into this deeper in further blogs, as Jake and I learn more how to navigate all this and how it applies directly to marriage.

But this week as I was thinking about the busy, multi-tasking world we live in, I found myself listening to a sermon where I was asked to stop....and spend a minute breathing.

Sometimes I freelance at a fine arts publishing company. I work in a little studio in an office building and I'm blessed to have this space all to myself. While I'm painting, I listen to my ipod. Usually it's music, but lately I've been listening to Rob Bell or Shane Hipps (from Mars Hill Bible Church) sermons. This week I was listening to a sermon by Rob Bell and he was talking about breathing. He hooked himself up to a breathing monitor and asked his congregation to be silent, watch the screen, and breathe along with him.

So I painted, but I matched my breathing to Rob Bell's breathing for about a minute or two. In......Out......In.....Out.....In.....Out.

Do you know what happened? I started crying. Breathing slowly for a couple of minutes made me relax so much that I felt more alive and so much more aware of myself, my feelings and thoughts. Just breathing slowly for one minute let me release more stress and become more focused than I've been in a long time.

According to Rob Bell (I'm assuming he researched this) the human body is designed to breathe at 6 breaths per minute. The average American breathes 16-20 breathes per minute. This 16-20 breaths per minute actually uses up energy and signals panic and distress to the rest of the body.

So let's think about this....we live in ADD world. We're living our lives so busy, so full, so fast...we're breathing InOutInOutInOut.

Our average American breaths per minute is saying something, our record high ADD levels are saying something. We are going too fast....and we can't even pay attention anymore. We're going so fast and we're processing so much everyday that we don't have the time to sit....and breathe...and relax.

When you can relax, you can focus, when you can focus you can start paying attention to the things that matter...like your family, like your friends, like your marriage.

Be challenged this week to spend at least 5 minutes a day breathing...6 breaths per minute. It's actually really hard to do when you are so used to breathing fast. See how it makes you feel, notice how it makes you slow down and relax. Ask yourself what you feel more aware of during those five minutes. What emotions do you feel? What thoughts do you have?

I'm doin' it with ya'll....it's an experiment!

-Melissa

1 comment:

Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.