In our busy, fast-paced world, it can often be hard to know exactly how to slow down. The expression “time flies” exists for a reason—and often, it’s because we don’t slow down enough to enjoy each moment. But slowing down is incredibly important, which is why we’re here to help you do just that.
When we don’t slow down, our time perception is warped and we perceive time differently. And sadly, this can make it so that we end up missing out on life. And life is way too short for that. Here are 15 ways to slow down.
How to Slow Down
1. Walk more slowly
This means, quite literally, slowing down. Walk more slowly, stopping to smell the flowers and enjoying the fresh, clean air. When you’re in too big of a hurry, life will pass you by without you noticing all the little things that are so important.
2. Take a social media break
Social media is designed to be addictive, and it can warp our perception of time. Anyone who has ever gone on a scrolling binge only to look up and realize that an hour (or more!) has passed knows that it’s a very clear way to not slow down. So take it from us: Scroll with caution, and set time limits on how long you’re scrolling for. It will help you slow down.
3. Find a stress relief practice that works for you
Stress relief looks different for everyone. For some it’s a long run, for others it’s a bubble bath, for still others it’s reading a book. Finding a stress relief practice that works for you is a great way to stay in the moment.
4. Do a body scan
A body scan is an excellent way to tune into the present moment and slow down. By focusing on each part of your body slowly, starting from your head and ending at the tip of your toes, you can slow down an appreciate what each part of your body can do for you.
5. Do whatever you can to be fully present
Our minds have a tendency to race forward to the future or get stuck in the past, but when we make an effort to be fully present, it can help us stay in the moment and ground ourselves in what is. In short, it helps us slow down and exist in the moment.
6. Set limits around work
When the pandemic hit, it became a lot easier to work 24/7. Whether this was because we had kids at home that needed attention during the day or because the lines between work and home became blurred, setting limits around work is now more crucial than ever. When we have more downtime, it becomes easier to slow down.
7. Give in to sleep
Sleep is amazing for your body, so give yourself permission to sleep a little more. Sleep in on the weekends, go to bed earlier, and hey, if it’s your style (and if you’re able to) take a midday nap! Giving in to sleep and rest will help you slow down and be more present in your waking hours.
8. Cook a nourishing meal
When we think about the act of cooking, we don’t usually think of it as something that helps us slow down. But cooking can be an incredibly mindful act that helps us slow down and enjoy life a little more as we assemble ingredients that nourish us.
9. Write in a journal
Whether you’re writing in your journal on a daily or weekly basis, a journal can help you slow down and appreciate life more because you’ll get better at capturing those little moments of joy and happiness. As a nice bonus, you’ll be able to look back at those pages and remember that joy. Plus, journaling is correlated with an increased sense of wellbeing.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a pre-technology world, do you remember the days when you would just lie on your bed after school and stare at the ceiling? Some might call this daydreaming, and with the ever-present distraction of our phones, it’s often hard to achieve this state in 2022. But try: Try to lie there with your eyes open or closed and let your mind wander. This will help you slow down.
11. Get to appointments, meetings, and social engagements early
You know that rushed, anxious feeling you get when you’re late? You’ll be able to slow down quite a bit if you build in a little extra time to get places, and then you’ll never have that heart-pounding feeling of always running behind.
12. Spend undistracted, quality time with the people you love
Nothing slows time quite like putting everything aside to spend time with people you love, so make appointments with friends and family members and undistracted, quality time with them as often as you can. This will help you slow down and remember what’s important.
13. Focus on whatever task you’re actually doing
Try this: The next time you do the dishes, instead of listening to a podcast or even music, just do the dishes. Focus on the suds on your hands and carefully, mindfully washing each dish. If you have a garden, carefully tend to each plant, pruning it, and making sure it has the proper sunlight and water it needs.
We often think of play as something reserved for kids, but adults can play, too! Identify what play means for you, and get the ball rolling. Play can mean playing sports with friends (in a totally relaxed, non-competitive way), seeing a movie, playing a board game, taking a vacation, the list goes on.
15. Engage in creativity
Similar to play, engaging in creativity is an excellent way to slow down and stay in the moment. Try drawing or painting something, writing, gardening, dancing, or whatever creativity means to you.
16. Cut out caffeine
No one wants to hear that they should cut out coffee, but if you’re looking to slow down, this one can really help. By creating less stimulation, whether in the morning or all day long, you’ll get a lot better at slowing down.
Slowing down isn’t always easy in our society, but with enough patience and intention, you can make it happen.
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