I am writing this Blog during Memorial Day weekend, day 2 of a 3-day rainy weekend.  The kind of weather that makes you want to sleep in and just do things in slow motion.  We really do need the rain and we really do need to slow down now and then.  This is true for everyone, but especially for those who like to go 100 mph from dawn to dusk.  There are many health benefits from slowing down, taking time to relax, to meditate, or just do some slow deep breathing.

Just drive to work and you can bear witness to frenetic energy on the roads during peak times. Everybody’s got to get somewhere… right now! Work, home, pick up kids, appointments, wherever. We’ve all got to be somewhere other than where we are; and we all seem to be in a rush to get there.

Fast has become the norm and slow is an anomaly.

Notice your own behavior when you’re inline for something and it’s taking a little longer than usual. Take note of how you feel if you get a new cashier who is much slower than the average.  How many times have you been upset because the person in front of you is driving slowly? Or traffic on a whole is dragging?

Mostly, we’re in a hurry because we haven’t budgeted enough time or we are just addicted to hurrying, coupled with this feeling that there’s too much to do and limited time to get it all in. This has become the societal norm.

Speed reading; Speed dating; Fast food; Instant this or that.

We want everything and we want it now. Can you blame us for thinking this way? We’ve been programmed for this. When you can hit a button and get instant website, downloads, applications, connection to people thousands of miles away, doing everything fast has become the norm. But at what detriment? What effect is this having on relationships, health, the environment, in general? You’ve probably heard stories of people who are dying who expressed that they wished they had spent more time with the ones they loved, or doing things they enjoyed. Why didn’t they? Likely because we’re too busy rushing about, and with the rushed pace of our lives, we’ve become impatient.

Patience is a virtue. With high-speed internet, touch-screen phones and other gadgetry, we now have no patience. We buy computers and phones based on their speed. The idea of mailing a letter to someone and waiting for a post response is not only archaic, but against all sensibilities. Or is it? Is this speed obsession diminishing our patience?

Patience is about accepting things as they are and waiting with grace. You can’t speed something up that doesn’t want to be sped up.  It is a waste of energy to get frustrated that something or someone isn’t moving at your desired, hurried pace. It is a result of the rush mentality. Go as fast as you can as much as you can.

There is value to slowing down.

Rushing to do something always feels more stressful, because it is. I’ve long noticed that when I do something in a hurry, I make more mistakes and it takes me longer in the end, because I have to re-do what wasn’t done properly. Perfect example- recently, to save a few seconds making my morning smoothie- I just kept adding ingredients with the top off, then instead of taking the 10 seconds to make sure the top was on securely I hit the high blend button on my Vita Mix and I blew the loose top off!  So, my 10 seconds saved turned into 10 mins of clean up!

Minimizing stress is a goal you should always strive for. I’ve found that actions like taking simple, relaxing walks can be amazing.

Try changing one thing in your life each day for a month; do this one thing slowly. Some days how you eat, some days how you drive, or whatever you feel that you may be rushing.

Chances are you will feel better.  Your focus and concentration on tasks at hand may be sharper.  You will probably sleep better.

Another small step you can take is adding daily meditation or mindfulness to your life, even for just a few minutes. A meditation/mindfulness practice is a powerful way to add a sense of calmness to your daily routine.

Practice telling yourself to slow down throughout the day. Being on over-drive has become so ingrained there will be times you won’t even realize you are doing it. It’s become natural, but an unhealthy natural. Stop yourself by saying slow down and by taking a few deep breaths. You’ll feel better almost instantly.

I wrote a previous blog PNS vs SNS, Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and relax) vs. Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight).  Slowing down will help you balance your PNS and SNS, and you will be healthier for it.

Slow can be good. Slow can be inspiring. Slow can be just what you need.

If you have any questions about this blog or in your health in general you can reach me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com