Do you ever feel like you’re always in a hurry? That no matter where you are and what you’re doing, you should be or would rather be somewhere else, doing something else?
In our fast-paced world, time is one of our most precious resources, and we feel constant pressure to wring the most out of every second. We speed through the tedious tasks of our days, hoping that eventually, we’ll be able to get to the parts of the day that we actually enjoy, whether that’s spending some time at the gym, unwinding with our family, or enjoying a good meal.
Unfortunately, we’re often unable to snap out of speed mode. Rather than taking the time to slow down and enjoy those activities, we subconsciously speed through them too.
Enter the Slow Movement. This movement started over 30 years ago in Rome, Italy when a man named Carlo Petrini protested the opening of a fast food restaurant in one of the city’s most famous squares, a development which he believed threatened his beloved city’s culinary culture and traditions. Since then, this philosophy has spilled over into nearly every area of life, from food and gardening to travel and even aging.
Not surprisingly, slowing down helps to combat stress and anxiety, but the benefits don’t stop there. Here are three reasons to slow your pace, as well as some practical ways that you can slow down.
It Improves Your Relationships
You probably know what it’s like to talk to someone who is obviously waiting to move on to the next thing; it’s not exactly enjoyable and it makes you feel like what you’re saying doesn’t matter. When you take the time to be present with whomever you’re talking to, whether it’s a family member, friend, or coworker, you begin to improve your personal and professional relationships.
It Gives You More Energy
Sure, time is a finite resource, but so is your energy. Buzzing from one thing to another as quickly as possible takes a lot of that energy, leaving you feeling tired and emotionally drained. On the flip side, slowing down lets you preserve your energy, ultimately making you more effective.
You Have Better Judgment
When you stop rushing through tasks, you’re likely to make fewer mistakes. You end up achieving the results that you want without having to take the time to sort out oversights and errors in judgment.
Putting It Into Practice
Here are some practical ways to slow down in your everyday life.
Lighten Up on the Gas Pedal
If you’re like most people, your day starts out with a morning commute. And if you’re like most people, you get easily irritated by the other people in traffic because you’re in a hurry and they’re standing between you and your destination.
When you slow down, you’re less stressed and more in control. You get to opt out of the race to work (which is unlikely to get you there much faster anyway) and instead have the opportunity just enjoy the ride.
Slow Down the Pace of Your Conversation
Sometimes, deliberately lowering our voices and slowing down our words is all it takes to feel calmer and in control.
Slow Your Actions
Whether it’s completing an email, folding a load of laundry, or cooking a meal, we tend to speed through everyday tasks. The job doesn’t necessarily get done any faster, but it does leave us feeling hurried and stressed. Next time you find yourself moving quickly through a task, ask yourself whether you have a legitimate need to get it done as quickly as possible or if taking the time to slow down and catch your breath would be the better option.
It seems counter-intuitive, but when you slow down, life seems to slow down with you. Mindfully taking the time to slow down can benefit every area of your life.