This is What Happens When You Slow Your Life Down
In this day and age, slowing down seems to get a bad rap. There is this not-so-subtle urgency that permeates every area of life: meals, conversations, projects, travels. You get the idea.
No time for a leisurely drive, you need to be somewhere now, and your GPS will make sure you are!
Some of this urgency is heightened by technology. Technology tempts you with promises of freedom by allowing you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Think of ready-to-eat meals, text messaging and mail merges.
But is that freedom actually attained, or do you just use that freedom to find more to urgently undertake?
With the allure of never-ending achievements, perhaps the bigger question is, is the act of slowing down beneficial to your life?
Go grab a refreshing beverage, meander over to your comfy spot and let us explore this conundrum of leisure.
“Slowing down is sometimes the best way to speed up.”
~ Mike Vance
I know, I know, that sounds a little crazy. But really, it is true.
When you slow down, you allow your body and mind to relax.
When your body and mind relax, you stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off and take in what is going on around you with more awareness and clarity.
What is it that you would like to have more awareness and clarity with? Perhaps you are finding family, friends, work, or relationships challenging to navigate. Slowing down enables you to be more sensitive to the dynamics and needs of yourself and those around you. It affords you the time to be there for others more attentively. By slowing down to notice things, you make a difference in lives by adding quality interactions, connections and moments.
When you are more aware and clear, you are able to make better use of your time by making more confident, healthier decisions in less time.
Thus, you are rejuvenated and more efficient, which leads to you shift back into a more effective and higher gear when the time really calls for it.
Think about it like vacationing on ‘island time’. You screech into the airport, fall into the rhythm of the waves and warm air, and soon you are forgetting all about ‘time’. You immerse yourself in the present, soak up relaxing vibes, and ponder the wonders of your life. Then you saunter back to the airport, greeting the world with more energy and precision. Slowing down temporarily can help you to speed up in the long run.
Slowing down increases the peace
You may have noticed how people pick up on actions and behave in similar fashion.
I notice this each time I lose my voice and can barely whisper. All of a sudden, my whole class of students becomes super quiet while they are talking. The quieter I am, the quieter they are.
Likewise with slowing down. When you slow your thoughts and actions down a bit, those around you tend to slow down too. Slow your speech, others will slow theirs. Slow your walk, others slow theirs.
Breathe in, breathe out.
And with each bit of slowing down, the sense of calm and peace increases - not only within yourself, but in your surrounding personal space. Others begin to feel the ripples and respond.
The more folks there are consciously aligning to slowing down, the more folks there are sharing and spreading calmness and peace.
Slowing down boosts relationships
All of your relationships are impacted by the quality of time you grant them.
When you slow down, you allow yourself to be present in that moment of any relationship.
You are better able to listen with full attention. Your interactions are more efficient; there is less likelihood of misunderstanding.
When you are present in the moment you ask more questions, are aware of more details, think things through to their end, coming up with more conclusions and better solutions.
You have time to share your creativity and imagination with those around you, be it family, friends or colleagues. Creativity takes time. It usually cannot be produced on demand, so slowing down is a definite boost.
You can also respond to situations better, rather than react to them.
By slowing down, you take the time to rationally think things through and make an informed choice, as opposed to feeling rushed to ‘just do something’ in an instant.
All of this adds up to better relationships in which you are present and ready to embrace your creativity.
Slowing down amplifies wellbeing
Want to preserve your health? Slow down.
Want to increase your joy? Slow down.
Want to reduce stress? Yes, slow down.
How is this possible you ask?
Let us start with preserving your health. You know that when your body gets run down from going, going, going, something has to give. If you do not slow yourself down, your body will do it for you (as in bringing on a sickness).
In order to stay as healthy as possible, slow down. Take a rest here and there. Take a walk, or a ride, or sit on the porch. Whatever brings you peace and relaxation, take time to do it each day.
Now, about increasing joy: the simple action of slowing down ushers in a – sometimes - unconscious sigh of relief throughout your body. It is like you have been holding your breath and clenching your teeth, and then suddenly you are free. Slowing down permits you to feel; feel an increase of fulfillment and joy and relief.
Feeling overwhelmed? Run down? Stressed?
When you slow down, you kick-start replenishing your energy. Energy is certainly needed to overcome those feelings. Once you are running on a full tank again, some of those things that seemed way too daunting or ‘impossible’ turn out to be quite doable and manageable.
Meditation is one way to slow down and increase your wellbeing. Did you know that when you meditate, your capacity for learning and memory increases? Meditating allows you to purposefully focus on your thought processes, expanding your ability to respond to everyday situations. It also helps you feel more positive and relaxed, reducing stress and anxiety.
Listen to your body and amplify your wellbeing by slowing down.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two: time and patience.”
~ Leo Tolstoy
So, is the act of slowing down beneficial to your life?
The evidence seems to point to “yes”.
Even in this beloved modern, fast-paced, ever-changing world, your body and mind crave - no, require - you to slow down.
Proactively attain your time of freedom, and honor yourself by keeping it ‘free’.
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If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).