Feeling hectic and rushed often seems like an unavoidable byproduct of modern life – but it is possible to learn how to slow down.
People seem to have a natural speed setting, and if yours is set to fast – you probably have more energy than most people and get ton of things done in day. You walk fast. You talk fast, and you think faster than you talk. You probably drive fast, too.
But all this rushing around causes stress, which over time, can lead to serious health conditions. But taking care of your health is far more important than any to-do list you’ll ever have. Learn how to slow down – especially over the busy holiday season – and you will discover that you enjoy life more. Here’s how:
- Team up with slow people. Or in my case – dogs. Learning to be patient is very difficult for me, and my five-year-old wiener dog Steve is the greatest teacher that I have. His legs are only three inches long and he is the slowest dog in the entire world. His inspiration in life is molasses. It takes him several minutes to make his way across a room. Go for a walk? How about a “sit and stare?” instead? Hanging out with Steve forces me to slow down. Being around pets, children, senior citizens, and anyone whose natural speed setting is “slow” can help you learn to slow down too.
- Meditate. If you’re not already meditating, you’re probably really sick of hearing everyone tell you how you need to meditate. But it’s true. There’s no better way to train your brain how to get off the rollercoaster of thoughts and be still. Start with one minute per day and work your way up.
- Linger longer over slow moments that you already enjoy. It’s easier to tweak an existing habit by making it longer than to introduce a whole new action into your busy life. What are some of the slower moments in your day? Do you enjoy going for an after-dinner walk, watering your plants, cuddling with your pets, taking a hot bath, or sipping coffee in the morning? Extend the time you spend already on these slower moments.
- Stop replacing your slow time with screen time. Not enough time in the day? I dare you to record for one day how much time you spend on social media and watching TV. Sometimes we avoid slowing down because unpleasant thoughts and emotions can creep in – and so we quickly scroll through our Facebook feeds to distract us. If you avoid spending quiet time alone, ask yourself why instead of mindlessly gorging on media.
- Set a timer and take a few deep breaths. Stretch your body. Look out the window. Whatever brings you joy and makes you feel relaxed. But the timer is crucial – don’t expect your overloaded brain to remind you every hour to take a break. Offload the reminder task from your brain to your phone.
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