It’s important to allow yourself to go slow now and again.
Life is a game of time. We’re all racing against time to achieve our goals and dreams, hoping to one day look back on everything we’ve done with a sense of satisfaction. Some of us even hope to have an impact that lasts long after our death.
All of this requires doing a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
With all this focus on productivity and achievement, it can be easy to get caught up in worry and anxiety. We start to focus on the future and the past. We try to get to work as quickly as possible, get as much done as we can, rush home, and quickly make dinner. We spend so much time sprinting everywhere that we sometimes forget to allow ourselves to slow down. We forget about the importance of allowing ourselves to take it slow.
I believe being productive and pursuing our goals is incredibly important, but we have to balance this with moments of peace and calm throughout our week.
If we allow ourselves to constantly focus on doing and creating, our mental health can suffer. That being said, here are a few practices that might allow you to slow down a little each day:
1. Leave a Little Early
A few years ago, I used to rush to wherever I was going. Whether it was walking to class or headed to lunch, I’d completely ignore my surroundings. I was lost in my head, solely focused on getting to my destination and overlooking how I was getting there.
Now, when I leave my dorm, I try to give myself a few extra minutes. Those few minutes allow me to relax and enjoy the things around me more.
If something catches my eye, I can stop and take a moment to appreciate it. I now have the time to say hello to people I meet them along my way if I wish to. Not having to rush everywhere allows me to have a few calm moments before I have to block out a large chunk of time to focus on work.
2. Take a Moment to Appreciate Food and Drink
Meals are a great time to focus on slowing down and appreciating the moment. For most people, food is one of the best parts of the day. If you’re like me, however, you may naturally eat quickly without taking a moment to be grateful for the meal in front of you.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on enjoying my food more. I force myself to slow down for a few minutes and practice gratitude. This small practice gives me a chance to reset my intention for the next few hours. It serves as a break from whatever challenges may have popped up earlier in the day.
Since I’ve started allowing myself to appreciate each bit of food, meals have become milestones that break up my day into smaller, more manageable chunks.
3. Allow Pauses in Conversation
Our sense of hurry and need to feel productive often leads us to rush our daily conversations. We become so focused on the next thing we have to do that we don’t listen as well as we could. We neglect to appreciate the person sitting across from us.
A few pauses in conversation can often be a good thing. They allow people to process what has been said and form meaningful questions. A little break lets people shift the conversation into new areas that might prove more interesting to be a part of.
Sometimes, the pauses themselves allow for a sense of connection words can’t express very well. These moments might allow for more expressive body language or a meaningful glance. Instead of trying to rapidly think of the next thing to say, you get to peacefully sit and enjoy the company of whoever you’re with.
When you stop trying to avoid silence, you might find that deeper connections start to arise.
We all need to move fast to reach our goals and dreams, but a little slowness might allow us to enjoy the process more. With a little emphasis on allowing ourselves to move slowly through certain parts of our day, we can face our daily challenges feeling more calm and composed.