Take It Easy: The Benefits of Slowing Down

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From work to errands to even hobbies, people are often in a rush. We feel we have to fill our lives with important tasks, increase our productivity, and rush between different places. But speeding through life can cause problems, from stress and burnout to even speeding tickets. 

There are many reasons why slowing down will benefit your life and wellness. We will discuss the issues with speeding through life as well as the importance of slowing down and numerous tips to do so. 

Issues With Speeding Through Life

The issues with speeding through life can affect not only ourselves but also our friends, family, and colleagues. These problems can be anything from minor annoyances to serious consequences. 

Minor annoyances can include squabbles with others. You might also be distracted during family time or fun events. It can also cause problems with communication or making decisions. 

If we are always rushing from one place to another or focusing on our to-do list, one serious concern can be a car accident, a speeding warning, or a speeding ticket. 

Getting a warning does not increase insurance rates, but a citation with a speeding ticket can increase car insurance rates by almost 25%. It’s best to prevent a warning or citation by slowing down and focusing on your driving. 

We can only focus on one thing at a time, so trying to multitask means you are giving less time to each task. It can also affect your mental and emotional health by increasing anxiety, worry, and frustration. 

Speeding through life can also take a toll on physical health. It can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, affect your immune system, and cause more release of adrenaline and cortisol. Continually high levels of these hormones can affect your physical health in many ways.  

Tips for Slowing Down

These tips will help you slow down and enjoy life while still being productive and efficient. Some of these tips can also improve your relationship with yourself and others. 

Take a Deep Breath

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to slow down. When you feel overwhelmed, busy, or stressed, take a few minutes to do some deep breathing. Even just two to four deep breaths can slow your heart rate, bring down your blood pressure, and make you feel more relaxed. 

Write a To-Do List

Sometimes writing tasks out on a to-do list is helpful in recognizing what needs to be done to be productive. This can give you a broad perspective of all of your tasks in one place, helps you prioritize, and keeps you focused. 

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Focus on One Task at a Time

When we have a long to-do list or a lot of tasks to accomplish in a short time, we want to try to multitask or get as many things done as quickly as possible. The issue with this is we may sacrifice quality and feel more stressed. 

When you focus on one task at a time, you can give your entire effort to the task at hand. One task allows you to focus on quality over quantity. Deliberate and consistent effort is more sustainable and less likely to cause burnout. 

Ask for Help 

Sometimes it can be difficult to ask others for help, but it can lighten your load and burden. Most of the time, family members, friends, or neighbors are happy to help when asked. 

Sometimes it is worth the extra cost for help, which enables you to do less and relax more. You might pay extra for grocery delivery because it gives you more time to do other things or allows you to relax instead. Or you might hire a cleaning service to help you keep up with the household chores. 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great technique that can be used by anyone. This practice allows you to be present and direct your attention and focus. If you are new to mindfulness, there are many online resources to help you learn and practice this technique. 

For example, mindful eating involves slowing down and purposefully enjoying your food. We usually shovel our food in quickly because we are pressed for time or too busy to really enjoy our meals. 

Mindful eating involves slowing down and using all of your senses to enjoy your meal. It means seeing, smelling, tasting, savoring, and making the eating experience a more focused activity. 

Exercise and Stay Active

Physical activity and exercise are great ways to manage stress and anxiety. We know there is a connection between exercise and our mind and mood. Exercise also makes you feel calm and happy, which can help improve focus and concentration. 

Turn off Electronic Devices

Cell phones and mobile devices are a necessity, but they can also cause stress. Take some time every day when you turn off or put away your devices and focus on yourself or others. 

Mealtimes like dinner can be a great time to turn off devices and connect with your family. If you go to lunch or grab coffee with a friend, put your cellphones away so you can focus on the conversation. When you go for a walk or exercise, leave your phone behind. 

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Enjoy the Outdoors

Taking some time to enjoy nature is a great way to slow down. Put your cell phone away and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. It can be easy to find pleasure in an afternoon nature walk or having a picnic lunch by a lake. 

You can also engage in exercises while outdoors. Bicycling, kayaking, hiking, or rollerblading can help keep you active while enjoying the outdoors as well. 

Keep Your House Clean

Keeping your house clean and organized is not always the most fun task, but it has many benefits. You can enlist family members or a cleaning service to help you. You can also do chores around the house regularly, like vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen, so it isn’t overwhelming to do them all in one day. 

A clean house can lead to less stress and an easier time finding things. The indoor air quality is improved and you will have fewer household germs. It can also keep you and your family healthier and happier. 

Really Listen

When we interact with others, we may be thinking more about the things we need to do that we aren’t able to listen to the conversation. Being more mindful and present during conversations with others is a great way to focus on the present and stay in the moment. 

Get Enough Sleep

Sometimes we are moving at warp speed and we don’t allow our body the time it needs to rest. Sleep is so important for health, productivity, and well-being. When you get enough rest, you will also experience improved energy levels

Have Some Fun

When was the last time you sat down and had a good laugh? Playing and having fun is important for life balance. Take a step back and enjoy some fun and playtime just like a child does. 

Plan a trip, take a class to learn a new hobby, watch a funny movie, or enjoy an evening out with friends. It’s important for adults to laugh, have fun, and enjoy themselves just like children. 

The Power of Slowing Down 

When you are more intentional with living your life, you will feel more at ease and happier. Slowing down can help prevent mental health strain, improve your physical health, and keep your insurance rates reasonable. Your relationships with others may also improve because you can connect more deeply. 

Melissa Morris writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, Clearsurance.com. She is a university professor of health sciences and human performance and tries to model living a healthy lifestyle.