Today, I’m taking some time away from our wonderful houseguest to write this missive. The past two days have been very calming for me. I really needed to step back from the somewhat frenetic pace of recent months. Slowing down comes in many forms. I start with my mind; I intentionally think peaceful thoughts, engage in long conversations, take the time to read a book (for pleasure, not work). Negative thoughts are banished, to be replaced by more contemplative thinking. My body appreciates the break from my usual pace; I move more slowly, am cognizant of deepening my breathing, and relish an extended morning yoga routine. I take naps. As I slow down, my emotions also shift as I become more relaxed and centered. Anxiety falls away. There is no dread of tasks; instead, I slow down and look for the learning and the joy of completing them. I notice that I smile more when I slow down.
Lily Tomlin once quipped “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” In today’s world, it seems that everyone is in such a hurry. Many clients tell me that they feel swept along at breakneck speed, work long hours, yet still struggle to get everything done. Our minds, bodies, and hearts (physical and metaphorical) were not designed to go at such a pace, without a meaningful rest. The benefits of slowing down start with the physical: slower heartbeat, deeper breathing, relaxed muscles, and fewer aches and pains. Taking time for true relaxation results in clearer thinking, more focus, and more energy. Personally, when I go long periods of time without slowing down, I get grumpy (just ask Jim). When I relax and unwind, I have a lot more fun. Laughter comes bubbling up. Life feels more spacious.
Summer is here. I hope that you will take time to slow down often in the next couple of months. Relish each day, and kick back as much as possible (or, perhaps, more than you thought possible). Notice what happens to your mind, body, and spirit when you take time to slow down. Enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer. I’m off now to play, relax, and recharge.
Sharon Keys Seal