Do you ever get so caught up with life that you wonder, “Where did the day go?” or, “Where did the month go?” or, “Summer is over already??” This happens because you are so busy doing that you forget how to just be.
Learning how to slow down can be challenging, especially for those of you who feel guilty taking a break or thrive off of always being busy. But continuing to live your life moving from one thing to the next and never taking the time to slow down comes at a cost…
The cost is that you are missing your life. The time you are spending planning, doing, rushing from one place to the next, scarfing down that meal, thinking about the next thing you have to do… And the next… And the next… All of this is time you are not truly in the moment experiencing what it is like to be alive.
This is so profound, yet what is it to be alive? Although I cannot concretely answer that question for you, through my personal and professional experience I have found that people feel the most alive when they are truly experiencing the present moment. Those times when you are able to slow down and pay attention.
The present moment is where your life experience truly lies.
Beliefs That Stop You From Slowing Down
You may hold certain beliefs that keep you stuck in the fast lane. These beliefs may be derived from personal experience, things you learned growing up, or societal pressures. Take a moment to reflect on the beliefs that you have about slowing down and what they mean to you.
Here are some examples of beliefs you may have about slowing down:
The reality is that you will actually be more efficient and more productive if you take breaks and pay attention to what you are doing in the moment because that increases your focus.
When you continue to work yourself into the ground and move from one thing to the next, you are not fully engaged in the moment and you are probably living your life on auto-pilot. This can result in two things:
How Can You Be Fully Present To Start Slowing Down?
While you are busy rushing, somebody else is taking in the moment and time is moving much more slowly for them. It is the same number of seconds ticking by, the same minutes and hours pass by… But it is your perception of those moments that is different.
Your perception is your reality, therefore if you find that you seem to be rushing through life then the answer lies in changing your perception. Some of that may originate in identifying and changing your anxious thoughts.
Additionally, you can practice mindfulness by being aware of your senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell) in the present moment. This is one of the most effective ways to truly bring you into experiencing this moment fully.
Try it now and pay attention to what is around you. Notice how you feel.
I love this scene from the movie Across The Universe in which they discuss what defines you: is it what you do or who you are? Take a look for yourself:
Tips To Help Your Slow Down And Appreciate Your Life
Learning How To Slow Down Is A Practice
If you can cultivate present moment awareness, then you can learn how to slow down and appreciate life. Appreciation comes from actually paying attention to yourself, your body, your environment, and the people around you- not rushing from one thing to the next. So the next time you find yourself caught in a frenzy of stress, overwhelm, and frustration, ask yourself:
“How can I choose to slow down today?”