Ways To Slow Down

Do you feel like you are always in a rush? That there is never enough time in a day to do all the things you need to do – let alone the things you want to do?

One of the things that has dramatically improved my life for the better was learning how to slow down.

It wasn’t a change I planned on making.

I didn’t want to go slow. I was like most people, always in a rush, wondering where the time had gone. I wanted results and I wanted them now! And I was willing to work for it – staying up late nights, sleeping barely a few hours a day, working, working, working…

Instead of making all the progress I wanted to make, I found myself instead in a hospital from pure exhaustion and stress. The doctors told me I couldn’t keep doing what I had been doing the same way. Their exact words: it’s okay to get back on the horse, but no racing for you.

I had to slow down, whether I wanted to or not.

Fortunately, I’ve found that slowing down is actually much better than being in a hurry or a rush all the time.

When you slow down, it means living in the present moment, noticing the beauty of the small details around you, and enjoying life to the fullest.

Slow down and you get to experience so many beautiful things you may have otherwise had missed.

Here are 18 simple ways to slow down and enjoy life more:

1. Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness will help you enjoy each and every moment to the fullest. Think about the five senses with everything you do. Try to fully experience what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste with every action you do.

When you practice mindfulness, your attention is focused on the present moment. You don’t worry about the past and you don’t worry about the future. Being mindful is one of the most effective ways to slow down.

2. Do One Thing at a Time 

Multi-tasking might make you feel like you are being more productive, but it can actually cause you to be less focused and take longer to complete tasks. Instead of trying to do everything at once, only try to do one thing at a time.

When your attention is all over the place, it’s hard to really accomplish anything. You’ll find yourself with an overwhelming amount of incomplete projects. Instead, try to just do one thing at a time.

3. Eat Slowly

Eating slowly has many benefits. You’ll find that it helps you taste the food better, as well as help you avoid overeating.

Take one small bite at a time and you’ll be surprised at how soon you feel full and how much more enjoyable a meal can be. Don’t eat while you watch TV or do other tasks.

4. Drive Slower

Not only does this help you slow down, but it is also safer for you as well. Go the speed limit at all times. Slow down near pedestrians, animals, and on tight roads. Listen to some relaxing music while you drive.

Don’t pass other cars or weave in and out of traffic. Don’t be mad when you get stuck behind another slow driver. Let other cars in front of you. Leave 15 minutes before you actually need to leave to assure you drive without hurrying.

5. Unwrap Gifts Slowly

I always take time to appreciate the wrapping paper and bows on a gift when I receive one. I very slowly and carefully unwrap the present, to fully enjoy the moment. It adds to the anticipation and excitement to unwrap slowly.

While we usually think of gifts as presents we get during the holidays or for our birthdays, remember there are a lot of little “gifts” we take for granted every single day.

A new bar of soap, a special treat from your favorite bakery, a new book, a new sweater – even a card in the mail – all these things we can appreciate more when we open them slowly.

6. Unplug

Technology is designed to make everything faster and fuels our desire for instant gratification. Unfortunately, it also leaves us feeling very disconnected from reality and unhappy.

Unplug the computer, disconnect the internet, turn off your phone. By disconnecting electronically, it opens up more opportunities to connect with others in reality.

7. Daydream

It’s okay to get lost in your own thoughts and daydream once in awhile. Set aside some time each day to daydream and visualize what you want to do.

This will not only help you slow down, but also helps manifest what you daydream about into real life possibilities.

8. Spend Some Time in Nature

Taking the time to be in nature will always help you slow down. Notice the plants growing, the insects crawling, the rocks, the leaves, the trees, the clouds in the sky. Try to spend at least one day a week in nature or enjoying the great outdoors.

Go for a walk, take a hike, sit on a bench at a nearby park. If you can’t go anywhere, just spend some time outside on your porch or deck. Watching nature documentaries is another option if the weather is bad or if you live in a very developed area.

9. Take Notes

Taking the time to write down your thoughts and ideas as soon as you get them will help ensure you never forget a good idea again.

Keep a small notebook handy in your purse or pocket so when the moment arises you can jot down that good idea. It’s okay to use a note taking app on your phone if that is more convenient for you. If you’re reading a book, always take notes to highlight the most important information.

Writing notes makes you become more consciously aware of what’s going on around you. Taking a pause to write something down helps you slow down and allows you to look back and reflect on something anytime.

10. Breathe Deeply

One way to help you slow down and bring you back to living in the present moment is to take long, deep breaths. By breathing deeply and slowly, it helps you recenter your focus.

Try this simple deep breathing exercise: Sit in a chair and put both of your feet flat on the ground. Do some stretches with your arms and neck to loosen the tension in your body. Sit straight with your shoulders relaxed. Take a slow deep breath in and slowly exhale. Repeat until you feel relaxed.

11. Connect With People

You should always make the time to connect with others. Go out to lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, make the phone call to someone you haven’t talked to lately, and of course cherish every moment spent with your family.

When we surround ourselves with other people, we are forced to slow down and give our attention to that person. We aren’t worried about our schedule, we aren’t focused on the clock, and we’re not distracted.

By being present in our relationships with others, we learn more about them and even ourselves.

12. Create

You should try to do something creative every day. Whether it’s a home cooked meal, an art project, making music, doodling or writing a poem, you should try to create something every day.

Creating will help you feel productive, as well as help you slow down and explore your creative side.

13. Declutter and Organize

Do you find you are always rushing around trying to find things that are misplaced? Take the time to organize your belongings so they are neat and easy to find.

Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past 6 months. You can give it to someone who needs it or donate it to a charity. Chances are you’ll never miss it, but you’ll certainly appreciate the open space.

14. Take Baby Steps

Instead of trying to take giant leaps forward in getting your projects done, break them down into tiny, easy to accomplish steps. By taking baby steps, you will do a better job and be more productive at the same time.

For example, cleaning the entire house is a monumental task and overwhelming just thinking about all the things that need done. Start with the kitchen sink. Then move to the kitchen counters. Then the cabinets. Then the floor. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you 5 days to do all those things.

Breaking stuff down in baby steps helps you realize it’s okay to make small progress. Nothing needs to be done immediately, and doing a little at a time is better than doing nothing at all.

15. Spend One Day Alone Each Month

It’s important to give yourself some time and space to unwind. Spend one day completely alone to give yourself a much needed chance to recharge.

Taking some time out for your personal well-being is a great way to slow down to get back in the groove of things.

16. Stop Watching the Clock

Try going a day without a clock. With no set time to be anywhere or do anything, it can help you slow down and enjoy the experiences you have more. Do activities that make you lose complete track of time.

When you aren’t always worried about how much time you have, it helps you appreciate more of the time you do have.

17. Have a Cup of Tea

I love a good cup of tea, and drinking it can be very therapeutic. A cup of tea can help you slow down, as it takes time to prepare the boiling water, brew the tea bag, and drink the tea.

Reflect about the things you are grateful for or the moments in the day that made you smile while you take slow sips.

18. Reduce the To-Do-List

I used to make to-do lists that were so long there was no way I could possibly ever finish all of the things on my list. What I do now is make a list of 5 things I wish to accomplish each day – no more, no less.

By limiting myself to doing only 5 things a day, it helps me prioritize what is really important, as well as make sure I am spending my time on activities that are truly important to me. It also saves me from having to rush around in worry that I won’t get everything done in time!

What about you? Are you always in a rush or have you learned it’s better to take things slow? What slow activities do you enjoy doing? How do you like to slow down in life?

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