How to Reduce Stress by Slowing Down
Jul 11, 2019
A fast-paced life can happen so easily. With the internet, social media, and every type of technology at our fingertips, we’re constantly connected—and it can take a toll. But if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, feeling better can be as simple as slowing down your life a little.
Rest is often underrated in our society, even though our bodies need downtime to recover and restore balance. The power of slowness and relaxation can have huge influences on your well-being in a variety of ways.
Slowing Down Brings You Back to the Present Moment
Many of us live in the future: thinking about what we need to do or accomplish next on our endless to-do list. This can create a lot of worry and anxiety, making it hard to stop and experience what’s happening at this moment.
Pausing and slowing down helps bring you back to the present. You can take time—even a few minutes at a time—to notice what you see, hear, smell, or touch. This act of mindfulness doesn’t eliminate your to-dos, but it can help remove some of the urgency and remind you of what’s important to enjoy right now.
Deep Breathing Can Benefit Your Physical Health
Slowing down periodically is good for you both mentally and physically. Taking time to breathe deeply and be in the present helps reduce stress and anxiety. In turn, this lets your body know things are okay. Your blood pressure might level out and your muscles relax as you exhale and tell your system there’s no immediate danger.
Deep breathing, meditating and taking time to rest taps into your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, often known as the “rest and digest” system. It slows your heart rate and promotes relaxation in all body systems.
Slowing Down is Good for Productivity
It might seem counterintuitive to talk about slowing down as helpful in getting things done. But you can also be more productive and efficient over time by practicing mindfulness. That's because slowing down helps your mind:
- Reduce anxious thoughts that keep you from thinking clearly
- Better organize and manage your life
- Accomplish things from a place of rest rather than exhaustion
When your mind and body have time to rest, you have more room to feel in control of your life, which can naturally reduce emotional stress levels, even during busy moments.
Relaxation is Beneficial for Relationships, Too
Think about what really matters to you in life. Chances are, it’s not material possessions. Although there’s nothing wrong with working hard, a life full of “busy” can make it hard to connect with the most important things—such as friends and loved ones.
Slowing down and fitting relaxation into your life can allow more time for relationships and precious moments that hold far more depth than money or stuff. In fact, some of the most meaningful memories come from “doing nothing” with the people who matter most.
Try Fitting Slowdown Moments into Your Routine
Slowing down your life can help reduce stress, benefit your health and well-being, and remind you of what’s most important. Think of some ways you can fit more rest and relaxation into your daily life. That could be making time to read, going for walks in nature, mindful eating, getting coffee with a friend, or anything else that can bring you back into the “now” more often.