Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

By Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey (HarperCollins, 1997)

If you’ve ever sped through a red light on your way to yoga class, lain on the beach thinking about work or crammed three social events into one evening in an effort to get your socializing “done,” then you might want to consider taking an afternoon off and curling up with this book.

Authors Bailey and Carlson are both renowned stress consultants and psychologists (Carlson wrote the bestselling Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff), and here, they distill some key principles of the calming “psychology of mind” that they teach in their stress-reduction workshops. The practice uses “thought recognition” (similar to Buddhist mindfulness practice) to help identify and release stressful thoughts before they can derail your focus and inspire regrettable choices, and its techniques help you increase creativity and productivity by shifting from “processing mind” to “free-flow thinking.” They also teach how to deal wisely with negative moods (in yourself and others) and how to listen and communicate from the heart.

As the authors demonstrate these approaches at work in intimate relationships, parenting and the workplace, they show how a more heart-centered and present-focused approach can help you enjoy all your commitments, no matter how packed your schedule might be.

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