Life is fast paced and busy, so we speed up to meet this unnatural way of living.
wree getting asked to do more and more things in one day focus on multiple things at once and make thousands more decisions than our ancestors, this is placing a toll on our mental health, physical health and our ability to rest.
This can really become an issue when it is our day off or lunch break, we have lived at such a fast pace for so long that even in our down times we are still thinking, moving and living in a rush. Never really slowing down fully to 100% rest, never really absorbing ourselves into something without feeling like we need to do something else.
Our minds and bodies have become programmed to be busy, so how can we re programme ourselves when it is those times of slow, when we don’t need to be busy, when we can focus on one thing and let our internal rhythm start to return back to a healthy speed.
• Breathe - I know you’ve probably heard it a million times but deep slow belly breaths are a magic key to unlocking the autonomic nervous system and starting to bring the body back to a natural healing rhythm. The process of taking these breaths and focusing on making them long and slow also causes the mind to focus on the present moment.
Starting your day off, or lunch hour with a few minutes of slow breathing can change the whole rhythm of the day/hour. It can take you out of that rushed busy mind and cause you to be more mindful and aware.
• Walking with awareness - I was once a speed walker and I prided myself on the fact I could walk quickly with a purpose, head down and off I went. But although this kept me fit, it didn’t do much else, the scenery whizzed by under my feet and I barely skipped a beat. Now when I walk I notice how quickly I’m moving, the faster I’m walking the more in my head I know I am, I’m busy busy busy in the brain, so I consciously slow down. Maybe even stop take a breath and look around, I also look ahead as I walk, trying to take in what’s around me, paying attention to the detail rather than the larger picture. As I slow my walking rhythm my internal beat slows too, and by the end of an hours dog walk I’m moving and thinking at a more present pace, and my monkey mind is quietened.
• Mindful movement - Yoga, Pilates, the key is to be mindful of the speed you’re moving, not just the movement itself but how fast you’re getting from one pose to the next, are you trying to get on with it or can you luxuriate in each posture for a bit, taking one more breath before you leave rather than leaving as soon as the mind tells you to.
• Pause over a cuppa - we all love a hot drink, whether it’s a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or herbal blend instead of downing it or drinking it absent kindly whilst working, take a moment, a good old fashioned tea break. Enjoy the brewing, the process of making it, let the tea bag sit, don’t rush it, then enjoy the sensation of drinking, the smell, the warmth of a cup in your hands, the feeling of comfort hitting your belly as you take a sip.
There are many other moments in a day that we have sacrificed for busy, lunch breaks have turned to eating food at our desks, breakfast is a snack in the car on the way to work if we give ourselves food at all.
Taking even 5 - 10 minutes to sit down and eat a meal without looking at our phones or watching tv, without doing work or something else. Simply eating is seen a luxury but it’s a perfect chance to slow your day a moment and take a break, a chance to let your rhythm reset and the busy drop away.
I’d love to know other ways in which you manage to slow down, and if you choose to try any of these let me know how they work.