For many people, life zooms past once they enter the workforce. Every day, it’s the same grind of waking up, going to work, coming home, and sleeping. It’s no wonder why you’ll ask yourself, “How did I get old so fast? Where did all the time go?”
The problem is in the routine work. The human mind has this habit called deletion. Anything that keeps repeating is not captured by your long-term memory, simply because your brain doesn’t think it needs to take notice. So how can we slow down our experience of time and not let our lives slip by in a flash?
The answer lies in developing mindfulness — a heightened state of awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. But if you can’t do that yet, you can start off by practicing the 3 Magic Bedtime Questions.
As you lie in bed at night, ask and answer these three questions before you fall asleep:
- What is one thing I am grateful for today?
- What do I look forward to tomorrow?
- What would I like to dream about tonight?
Why do I call them “magic questions?” Well, let’s explore the logic behind them. The first question requires you to think through your day to find something you’re grateful for. As you do that, not only will you find something to be grateful for, you will also have recalled your entire day. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming, this called recapping experience. Imagine putting your daily experience into a bottle, putting a cap on it, and labeling it, “The day I met Tommy”. Having many of these bottles in your mind, sorts your memories into significant experiences, rather than having them as one large clump called, “My Working Years — 20 to 50 years old”.
The second magic question requires you to look forward in time and imagine what’s going to happen tomorrow. When you have something to look forward to, it creates a natural anticipation and drive. You will feel motivated the moment you wake up. It will be the first thing that pops into your mind.
The third question reveals your innermost desires because we naturally choose to dream about what we want and wish for. This clarifies our direction and purpose. Train your mind to dwell on the things that you desire and your dreams will become more pleasant and even productive!
Ask the 3 magic questions nightly, and time will slow down. Learn to control the flow of your life by breaking the monotony of routine. You will remember more about your life, and have greater clarity of mind to do what counts, before your time runs out. For additional reading, I recommend Mindfulness in Plain English. You don’t have to subscribe to Buddhism to find the benefits of quieting your mind once in awhile!