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Learning to Downshift: How I Stopped Stressing and Found Happy

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Take Your Time, and Cherish It

Another easy way to downshift: Instead of dashing madly through dinner prep -- slapping together ingredients while chatting on the phone with the news blaring from the television -- pull your attention back to the sensual aspects of what you're doing. Turn off the TV. Hang up the phone. When you eliminate distractions that you can control (screaming kids aside), making dinner can feel not only manageable but enjoyable. Seriously.

In the end, it comes down to being more intentional with your time. If you're on a deadline with a work project, turn off your e-mail and give it your full attention. If your girlfriends are having a night out, leave your BlackBerry at home and focus on the grown-up company you rarely get to share. "I always say the difference between a yoga practice and a stretching practice is the intention you bring to it," Cole says. "The awareness -- making whatever you are doing the goal rather than just a means to an end -- is the path to a balanced life."

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