Slow Down You Move Too Fast
Slow Down, You Move Too Fast
For those old enough to remember the Simon and Garfunkle song, The 59th Street Bridge, you might recognize those lyrics and there is much to be said for those six words. The constant rush of doing has become a national modus operandi but studies have shown it doesn’t make us more productive. The side effects of this constant strain (also known as oxidative stress) can lead to a variety of illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart, disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. It can also have an impact on our job performance and family life. The more we cram into our schedules the more likely we are to make mistakes and lead to exhaustion. If your body was a car engine all the red lights would be on! WARNING!
So, how do we start to slow down? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Seize the Moment (instead of the whole day). Instead of jumping out of bed with an alarm blaring in your ear and rushing full speed ahead, give yourself about 10 minutes to start with a morning routine. Do some gentle stretches, have a glass of water, and set an intention for the rest of the day.
- Take One Minute Breaks (the more the better). When you begin to feel rushed or have been running from task to task, find a moment to press the pause button. Just STOP. Take a deep breath in through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Keep doing this until you feel settled. One way to make sure you get these breaks in throughout the day is to set an alarm on your watch or phone.
- Create White Space (leave holes in your schedule). Create time/space between meetings and appointments. It gives your mind and body a chance to regroup and start the next task with more focus. You don’t have to fill every time slot on your calendar. In fact, I prefer a planner that doesn’t have the times marked out as that gives me the opportunity to design my day.
- Try Uni-tasking (not multitasking). In a 2017 study in Human Brain Mapping, Finnish scientists looked at the brain scans of people while they multi-tasked and found that frequent changes interfered with brain activity and they had less focus and poorer results than those who focused on one task at a time.
- Reevaluate Your Priorities (try a different kind of measurement). Focus less on what is getting accomplished and more on how we treat others and ourselves. The never-ending to-do list will not bring you the fulfillment you seek.
- Put Down the Devices (at least one of them). Disable unnecessary notifications, set one day a week for a digital sabbatical, plan what you will do with your “downtime” – such as read a novel, listen to music, take a walk, and when you do resume slow your scroll. One way to check yourself from getting sucked into the mindless scroll is to put a rubber band around your phone so that whenever your finger runs into it, that’s your reminder to pause and ask yourself, “What was I looking for?”
It’s not always easy to reprogram ourselves, but really, your health depends on it.
So, again, remember the lyrics…
“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestone
Looking for fun and feeling groovy…“
Until next time…