True story, while driving with my husband he was pointing out so many things that he was seeing out the window. “Wow did you know that tree was there?”, “Did you see that bird?!”. The point is that he wasn’t looking at his phone, he was looking out the window and enjoying what was out there. It’s amazing what you see when you pay attention. It’s the same thing walking down the street. How many of you see others walking with their face in their phone (true story we’ve all done this). I don’t know about you, but life can seem very fast-paced… and lately pretty heavy. With so much going on it’s easy to get caught up in life’s “stuff” and what’s next, or what are other people doing (cue scrolling Instagram) and forget about what’s happening right in front of us in our own lives. When was the last time you just sat and read a book? Or looked out the window instead of at your phone.
There are many benefits to slowing down in life. It may seem backward to think wait if I slow down how am I going to get stuff done?! You’ll be surprised!
See below for some amazing benefits!
You’ll have more clarity. When you slow down you can take the time to think clearer, have more focus, and understand where to put your energy instead of running on a hamster wheel. This will increase your productivity helping you get where you want to go faster.
You can get in tune with your emotions. It can be a little scary diving into your emotions, but it will help you feel the emotions you’re feeling, process them, and move forward with a plan.
You can make better decisions. When your mind isn't racing, it's free to absorb information, assess the circumstances, and make a good decision.
Now that we know the benefits, here are some tips to help you slow down.
1. Take the time to prioritize daily objectives. By focusing on the most important tasks to get done, we eliminate the hustle and stress of trying to accomplish everything at once. Be realistic with these objectives and try not to take on more than you can in one day.
2. Cut personal Internet use by half. Technology has become a major element in most of our lives. Social networking, email, and web surfing can occasionally cause our minds to lose focus and wander through hundreds of topics, thoughts, and ideas. Try to use half your designated Internet time to explore new hobbies, exercise, or meditate. You can also set up timers on your phone to notify you when you’ve been on social media too long.
3. Enjoy nature. When time permits – take a five-to-10-minute break to step outside and breathe in some fresh air. Disconnect from the rest of the world and concentrate on the beauty of nature. This can be beneficial during stressful situations or if you need to brainstorm!
4. Eat slower. A lot of us tend to speed through meals – missing the chance to appreciate different textures and flavors. Start to chew foods slower and distinguish new tastes, aromas, and consistencies. Try to eat free from distractions such as the TV or phone.
5. Connect with family and friends. We all try to make a considerable amount of time to spend with close friends and family. We discuss life events and exchange stories – but how often do we catch up while truly listening and connecting? Put away the cell phones and steer clear of noisy environments. Connect on a deeper level.
6. Make time for yourself. When did you last spend valuable time with yourself? Take a night to find a new book, watch a favorite movie, try yoga, meditate, or cook a new recipe. Do it for YOU!
7. Give yourself more time. Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan all our daily events. Next time you’re jotting down new tasks in your planner, factor in a few extra minutes when estimating how long things will take. This will help you not rush through daily tasks. Make sure you put in some “me time” as well!
8. Take the scenic route. Next time you’re driving a somewhat long-distance – take the scenic route. Driving through open fields, and mountains, or viewing a city skyline can be very relaxing.
9. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Even just a few moments of meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to empty your mind and take deep breaths before jumping into your day’s tasks.
10. Remember your goals and aspirations. Each morning when you wake up, take a few moments to think about your life goals and aspirations. Recall the milestones you’ve already made in your life, and your drive to achieve new ones. Try doing this for about five minutes before getting out of bed to start your day.
Author: Melissa Dupuis, MPH, CHES