The Overlooked Gifts of Slowing Down


hurried walk

Life today is moving quicker and quicker and so it makes sense to slow down. (Photo by Christian Fregnan) 

In an age when society lauds speed and efficiency, hurry, haste, and multi-tasking are kings. Time is precious, right? Nevertheless, distraction is obvious and then we wonder why we get sick or out-of-synch. To get more done, take this counter-intuitive advice and slow down.

Hurry robs us of our present. Deep down, most of us realized we have a problem, but in our many varied races we never quite pay attention. We have apps for scheduling and organization, but they come at a dear price. Busyness numbs us, robbing us of precious awareness. Overloading saps our personal, business, and financial lives, not to mention our health and relationships.

If you value friendship, love, humor, beauty, and peace, how does a menu of speed and haste help you appreciate them? Rather slowing down improves your mental and physical health, enhances your sense of awareness and gratitude, and allows you to gain control of your life… while everyone else is scrambling. Be different.

Slowness and patience (not procrastination mind you) can be a very real asset in successful money management. It has been for me and I cringe at the talking heads on cable television trying to outguess the stock market with risky investments and quick-tempered timing. Reacting slowly in a patient manner always works better over time. Ask Warren Buffett.

Slower breathing is one of the simpler methods to better health. It allows oxygen to get down to the smallest airways in the lungs where the exchange is most efficient so your organs become better oxygenated. Slower, deeper breathing lowers stress and reduces systolic blood pressure.

Slowness has never been known to harm your love life either. As Actress Mae West remarked, “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly… very slowly.” Married folks, when was the last time you enjoyed a long, lingering kiss or a slowing lingering love session?

Slowing down prevents accidents. Speeding, haste, and multi-tasking are a leading, but preventable cause.

Eating slower will not only allow you to enjoy your food more, you will ease the burden on the stomach by digesting better in the mouth. Increasing the lag time between bites and the stomach receptors will also signal the brain that it is time to stop eating. Yet another benefit is that researchers have established that more deliberate eater consume on average 70 less calories per meal. Multiply that out and some may drop 20 pounds over the next year!

The ways we communicate with each other can also be enhanced by slowing down to respond rather than react. That can apply to a text, email, letter, memo, call, speech, or conversation. Better we take a breath, consider, and pause before we reply. My worst failures to communicate always came when I rushed or hurried. Many times when I’ve had the luxury to sleep over something, I responded in a much more effective fashion.

You can probably add other examples in which slowing down can help you. Pause, slow down, reflect, and then respond rather react to life. Life will flow more smoothly for you.

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