I know its not new year but I am going to make a resolution for this new month. My resolution is to slow down as much as I can instead of speeding up and rushing from one thing to the next. Now this is tricky as this tends to be a very busy time of year for me. Autumn is often a time when individuals and companies want to start new courses so my inbox and phone can be fairly active. This, combined with the return to school and after school activities, can make me feel like I have to move very fast.
Makes sense to speed up to get things done!….or does it?…..Let me tell you a bit about the way our brain works.
When we feel stressed, maybe from time pressures or a long to do list or something else the amygdala (part of the brain) activates the fight/ flight, stress response in the body. When this is activated it kind of feels like everything is speeding up, our thoughts, our movement, our breathing, our heart rate. We can become really speedy and start to rush around. Isn’t this the only way to get things done? …Well consider this….
When the stress response is activated it interferes with our ability to think straight, to respond calmly and wisely to what ever arises and to be creative. Plus it feels uncomfortable. Whatever we have to do will be easier if we can slow down all the stress reactivity thats happening in the body and mind. Now this is where the intention to move slower comes in. When we rush around the brain interprets this as “Wow we must really be under some kind of threat here, lets keep on triggering the stress response so that we can be ready to fight or flee” Now unless you are genuinely rushing to move from an oncoming car or to run for a bus this fight/flight response will probably not help you to cope with what you need to do.
This may feel counter intuitive at the time but when we consciously slow our movements down, slow our breathing down it gives the message to our brain that we are no longer under threat and there’s no need to be in this state of reactivity any more. This will help us regulate our emotions as we move through the day and to feel way more in control. So when you notice yourself speeding up, pause take a few breaths, walk a bit slower for a bit. Notice how the mind responds to this. As much as possible slow down a bit. As someone who has a strong habit of rushing I challenge myself and you, if you are up for it, to spend one day not rushing, just to see how it feels 🙂
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – Albert Einstein