The Art of Slowing Down

Whatever happened to sitting on a cool and quiet morning, watching the sunrise? Sipping on a cup of coffee, enjoying the steam rise out of the top, fully tasting the sweetness (or bitterness) as it hits your tongue? Driving the backroad to work, a little slower than usual, to observe the world around you? This is what I call “The Art of Slowing Down.” It is a dying art, as the competitive world of social media and capitalism crushes it. Contentment is replaced with shots of adrenaline, further encouraging the need to be better, move faster, work longer, and to always be several steps ahead, instead of focusing on the now. In this new world it takes effort to stay in the present, to focus on the “how am I feeling at the moment?” The day rushes by before you can even answer. 


It takes effort to go against the fast-paced energy the world has endorsed. I am someone who naturally does not like to be rushed, but I find it hard to slow down my pace these days. Yet, with awareness it can be done. It is always the little things in life that make the biggest difference. In the mornings I used to answer all of my emails before getting ready for the day. Now, I have taken up the habit of looking out my window and focusing on the birds outside. I find I am less stressed and my mind is clearer, having been able to properly assess the day.  I used to rush on my way to class. Now I leave five minutes earlier and ignore those who choose to run by me, opting instead to take in the fresh air, or to notice how dark the sky looks. I get to class feeling less out of breath, my mind not whizzing because I slowed down. I have taken to sending letters or calling people on the phone as opposed to always texting. When I do text I take the time to think about what someone has sent me and what I will send back. It has made communication more meaningful and effective. If I have a snowday, I snuggle up and enjoy it instead of thinking about how much work I can fit in.  I have been trying to stay off of my phone more. Instead of getting caught up in everyone else’s lives, I am focusing more on my own. 


These are little things. Maybe some of them are doable for you, while others are not. Whatever works for you. I have been making an effort to slow down for about a year now, and I have to tell you, it has allowed me to appreciate life more and allowed my mind to be clearer. It has helped me to improve my overall mood and has decreased my stress levels. It can be difficult to not let life push you around and force you to conform to its unreasonable standards. It takes awareness and effort, but in the long run it is worth it.