This goes against our nature a lot of times, yet there are a great many health and mental health benefits to slowing down. Today I will mostly be highlighting the mental benefits.
Being able to breathe properly. Not being able to breathe properly is my first sign of anxiety. I remember back in school, I’d be driving home thinking, “Why does it feel like I’m not getting a full breath right now?” Boom! That became my signal of anxiety. My next step was usually then to journal, and afterwards I’d say to myself, “Well no wonder I’m anxious!” Journaling just helped me organize my thoughts and life and well enough that I could breathe. When we slow down, we can catch our breath. Literally and figuratively.
Ability to think clearer. When my anxiety is too high, I can’t think of solutions. Slowing down allows me to find the space between my emotion and logic. It’s a peaceful space where I can separate from my emotions and consider what’s really going on.
Opportunity for thorough evaluation. Once I find the peaceful space, then I can really evaluate things. It doesn’t always change my feelings, but it does help with brainstorming solutions, preparing next moves, and correcting mistakes.
Being able to live in the moment. We get so caught up in our heads and our tasks that we forget to stop and smell the roses as they say. This morning on the way to take my kid to school, I was thinking of all the things that need to happen, and all the sudden my daughter says, “Mommy, look at how beautiful that sunset is!” (She meant sunrise, but that’s neither here nor there lol). I looked up and she was right. The sun was shining through the clouds in a beautiful way. Her saying that triggered me to be more aware, and we were both able to enjoy the view of the ocean that also comes along with our drive to school. Sounds crazy to me as I write this that I could get so caught up that I don’t notice the ocean view, but it’s true. I have been so caught up in my head that I missed my exit, didn’t hear a song that was playing, or forgot where I was going. I know it’s not just me who deals with this, because we are Americans and we hustle and bustle our way through life. Slowing down helps us to enjoy the little things.
Finally realizing that almost nothing is an emergency. I tell my clients that nothing is an emergency, and they look at me side ways. There are a great many things that FEEL like an emergency such as deadlines, start times, getting in trouble at work, labor and delivery, other hospitalizations, etc. Now I know I lost some people with those last few, but hear me out. When a car crash happens, there is very rarely something we can do about it. I’m not saying don’t stop or try to help. What I’m saying is, we call 9-1-1 for a reason when TRUE emergencies occur. Most of us are not trained to properly handle a TRUE emergency, so we either call someone who is or we get the call that says so and so was hurt and on the way to the hospital. If we head to the hospital with the ambulance or we go to the hospital later as a support, what are we doing there? Usually not much aside from waiting. So although there are times when we speed, spazz, or feel under pressure, we usually don’t actually have to do anything IMMEDIATELY. If we don’t accomplish a task, it goes on the to-do list for the next day. If we don’t meet a deadline, it can usually be extended. If we don’t get there on time, we usually don’t get kicked out. If we lose our job, there are usually others to be found. Are you following me? When we slow down, separate from our anxiety, and really break things down, there are very few TRUE emergencies in our lives, which means, we can relax, breathe, and get through things without panic, taking dangerous risks, or stressing ourselves to the max.