5 Ways to Slow Down for Your Mental and Physical Well-Being…
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” ~Eddie Cantor
Possibly coming soon to a television near you is ‘Slow TV’, a Norwegian public broadcast television show where many hours are focused on a fixed camera watching anything from knitting to salmon fishing to a 7 1/2 train ride. And that’s only the beginning. I’m not sure it’s going to fly here in the fast-paced United States. We’re so stuck with doing this and that at ever-increasing speeds. Yet, we are paying a heavy price with our physical and mental well-being. Maybe the Norwegians are onto something.
We are among the most stressed, most unfit and most obese people in this world. Yes, my fellow Americans, we are not healthy overall as a group. We spend more on healthcare per person than anyone else and it’s not paying off. We look for the quick fix instead of what is proven to work. Want to know why? Because we have become a society of instant gratification. We want it now. Heck, we want it yesterday.
We see the ads for weight loss… “Lose 30 pounds in one week!” “In 30 Days You Can go from Obese to Sexy Fit!” “The Magic Formula to Having a Bikini Body by Next Week!” While I exaggerated those ads, you get what I mean. Instead of working consistently over the next year, if we don’t have success fast, then we give up. We get stressed because it didn’t happen. It’s not good for you and for those around you.
It’s time to learn how to slow down and “stop to smell the roses.” There are many health, social and mental well-being benefits to slowing down. One is simply eating slower. When you chew longer, you start the digestive process in your mouth and it helps your overall health when you do. In social setting, the art of the small talk reaps many benefits regarding connecting with others And when you slow down mentally, you have lower stress, lower blood pressure and a better digestive system too.
“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let’s look at 5 ways to help you slow down and gain an increase in both your mental and physical well-being…
- Notice the details and small things. One day I was in my kitchen and watched this fly as it walked around in my window garden. Normally I would have gotten the fly swatter and smashed it hard and fast. I didn’t this time. All I did was to observe. I noticed how it would clean its wings and eyes. I would do this over and over. It was great at cleaning itself. I was fascinated. I had not noticed the time until 30 minutes had gone by. Yet, this little thing had helped my to relax and to smile.
- Stop multitasking and focus on the one really important thing. We’ve gotten into trying to do too many things at the same time. The truth is that multitasking is a myth that our society and even business has bought into. So stop it! Instead, focus on doing one really important thing at a time.
- Be present. I believe that it’s time to let mindfulness be a big part of our life. While stress and anxiety has to do with being out of the present and instead, living in the past or the future, it’s time to be present as much as possible. Meditation will help to train your mind to be more present. Do this regularly. Empty your mind of judgement and thoughts of the past or of the future.
- Get into nature. Go for a nature hike. Be observant when you do. Take in deep breaths of nature’s wonder. You’ll also get a good exercise while healing your soul. When you’re out, don’t engage in taking pictures to remember those experiences later on. Fully engage in nature at the moment and have your soul remember it.
- Stop trying to change everything and change only what you can. We become so fraught when we think we can’t change everything. So we tend to become reactionary instead. Stop it! Instead, control what you can change and what you can change is how you respond. When you respond, you’re also taking responsibility for yourself. Let go what you can’t change and simply smile. If you make a mistake, smile. You can’t go back and try to change something that’s already happened. Simply make an adjustment after you smile and move forward.
This year is the year for you to start slowing down. Find more joy out of life and stop taking it so seriously. Smile more. Live more.
Cheers, Bob Choat