how to slow down

5 Important Reasons to Slow Down Today

Do you find yourself rushing from one task to the next, trying to cram as much as possible into each day?

It’s great to live a full, productive life … but sometimes that doesn’t mean speeding up. It means slowing down.

Slowing down could be as simple as taking ten minutes each day to meditate. It could mean giving yourself permission to sit and read a novel all evening, instead of catching up on your to-do list. Or it might involve having a vacation somewhere relaxing, to get away from the busyness of daily life.

If you struggle to slow down, perhaps one of these reasons will convince you to give it a go:

#1: You’ll be Healthier

Your health is one of the most important assets you have. If you get sick or injured, you could end up losing months of productive time – you might even cause yourself problems that last for the rest of your life.

Even if your health isn’t brilliant right now, slowing down is almost certainly going to help you too.

When you slow down, you might:

  • Relax more – reducing your stress levels
  • Take time for exercise – perhaps a leisurely walk with your significant other
  • Notice health niggles before they develop into major problems

#2: You’ll Appreciate the Little Things

When did you last really savor a cup of coffee – instead of gulping it down at your desk while frantically answering emails? When did you last gaze out of the window and enjoy the view?

These lines are from the poem Leisure by W.H Davies, published in 1911:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?

(You can find the whole poem here.)

Our busyness today is little different from the busyness that people faced a century ago: like them, we too don’t really live full lives unless we have “time to stand and stare.”

#3: You’ll Find Clarity

When you’re busy running around doing things, it’s very difficult to see them at a slightly higher level. Maybe you have a small business and it’s not going as well as it should, or you’re not happy in your career path … but you’re so busy that you never stop to actually think about solutions.

Often, simply taking some time out from life can stir up new thoughts and ideas, and give you much more clarity about your current situation. This could mean having a quiet afternoon in a coffee shop with a notepad and pen and your own thoughts, or going on a weekend-long retreat.

You might decide you need to take action as a result, making changes in your life or work. Or, you might find you come to terms with something that’s been bothering you – perhaps you can recognize that, while it’s not a perfect situation, it’s one you can endure for the time being.

#4: You’ll Have Time for Others

Do the important people in your life ever get short-changed? Perhaps you’re often too busy to play with your kids (or to actually listen while they chatter to you), or you struggle to find time to have a conversation with your spouse.

When you slow down, you open up space in your life for other people. They might be family members, friends, colleagues … people who you want to treat well, but who you often don’t seem to have time for.

This has huge benefits: you’re much more likely to build strong, lasting relationships in both your personal and professional life.

#5: You’ll Make Fewer Mistakes

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of making a silly mistake while in a rush – I know I have! When you live life at a run, it’s very easy for things to go wrong. Maybe you speed, and get a ticket – or have an accident. Maybe you trip while hurrying through the house, and sprain your ankle.

In your work, a small error could cause big problems. Perhaps you finish that big report, but completely forget to email it to your boss by the deadline. Maybe an important client meeting slips your mind because you jotted it on a post-it note while in a hurry, and it never made it into your diary.

Of course, all of us make mistakes sometimes … but by slowing down, you have a much better chance of catching and correcting little slips (like misspelling a clients name in an email) at a stage where you can still put them right.

 

Do you need to slow down today? What reasons will help you make that a priority? Let us know in the comments…

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  • http://twitter.com/BlitheNiche Lori Stalter

    Our society is in a sad state when it values completed to-do lists and checked-off bucket lists more than face time with friends and loved ones.  Taking a little time to slow down and actually listen when spoken to, to rest and relax the body and mind, pays off huge in benefits many have forgotten.  My favorite time of day is supper with my kids.  Most nights, we gather at our dining room table and share our day with each other while we eat.  It’s a great time to connect.

    Thank you for the reminders!

  • http://glynisj.com/ Glynis Jolly

    I take from 10 minutes to half of an hour each day just to sit and stare out the window or go sit on the deck. Of course this is governed by how much I need to do that day. The clarity I usually get is amazing.

  • http://www.inlpcenter.com/ Mike Bundrant

    It’s so true Lori – everyone is always rushing around trying their hardest to get everything done that they forget the most important things in life – LIVING. Living is such more than just getting stuff done, it’s about reflection and improving your life through that reflection. Many people who complain about how horrible their life is often don’t understand that they are just spinning their wheels because they don’t ever take the time to actually slow down and pay attention to what it is that isn’t working, so they can do something that does work. I think everyone should just stop, take a deep breath, and reflect. Thank you for the great post!

  • Allison

    Why is “speed” and “quantity” (vs. quality) valued in our society so much? Sometimes, I just make myself STOP and look around. Even if for a minute, I stop and appreciate the present moment, no matter what it is. It can be easy to forget what is truly important, and rushing around is definitely not the meaning of life. It seems almost counterintuitive, but I’ve been using http://www.EasyGoals.com to help center my life and focus on what really matters. It’s a goal-setting program (another list!), but it’s helped me filter out the junk and focus on the gems.

  • Tim

    As I sit on an airport shuttle on route to the airport to take ‘time out’ I thank you for your article; it snapped me into gear to simply slow down and enjoy my trip; in my other life I am a busy business owner and father to 2 lovely girls….

  • http://twitter.com/Mark_Bowness Mark Bowness

    Ali, I was actually thinking about this yesterday on a train journey as I was hearing people shout on the phone, laptops open cramming in work and the general hussle and bussle of life as a human being. It came to my mind that we don’t often relax enough, get things into perspective and appreciate that we live life only once so we need to slow down every now and then and enjoy what we have and who we are. Great reminder!

  • Zivana Anderson

    Such good advice. We all need o slow down and enjoy the ride.

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