in: Wellness

How to Make 2016 Awesome (in One Step): Slow Down

There’s one thing separating you from the most bad ass year of your life: a willingness to slow down. Our friends at Care2 are here to spread the good word.

2016 is here and you’re as busy as ever. Being busy is a great thing, but it can be incredibly stressful, which taxes your body and your health over time. Instead of trying to force more stress onto your plate, make a concerted effort to lessen it this year. Our modern world is filled with stressors at every corner. Even if you don’t feel consistently stressed, the constant checking of emails, multitasking, and taking phone calls can distract and overwhelm the mind on a deeper level.

Research has shown that it takes 25 minutes for the average person to mentally recover from a single phone call or other such interruption during work. The problem is, research has also shown that these sorts of interruptions occur in our daily lives every 11 or so minutes. So when you’re halfway de-stressed from one interruption, another one comes blundering along into your life. It’s like consistently getting four hours of sleep when your body craves eight; it’s going to catch up with you—and it’s not going to be pretty.

Chronic, unrelenting stress is dangerous to our health, happiness, and longevity, being at the root of myriad chronic diseases and imbalances. But the benefits of reducing stress and slowing down in life are universal:

  • increased happiness and enjoyment of life
  • better, deeper focus
  • less tension and and stress-induced musculoskeletal imbalances

Small life changes–like reducing an addiction to technology–can help you experience less stress in your daily life, and deal with stressors more healthily when they do come thundering along.

Take a card from the techies at Google: take a technology sabbath. Shut your electronics off for one day or an entire weekend. Read books, play games with your family, go outdoors, experience creativity-inducing boredom.

Even if you don’t have the luxury to take a technology sabbath, you can still slow down your daily routine. Make yourself a hearty homemade breakfast instead of rushed buttered toast, and give yourself the time to mindfully enjoy it. Eat dinner with your family without checking your phone midway. Listen to the sounds of birds instead of blasting music on your walk to the local cafe. Every little bit helps.

Here are four additional ways to slow your life down:

1. Do a few important things instead of many trivial things.

2. Leave early for events so you don’t have to rush.

3. Practice basic meditation for 5-25 minutes a day. Become comfortable with ‘doing nothing.’ It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

4. Spend as much time as you can in nature, undistracted; even if all you can spare is just one day a month. It revitalizes you.

5. Eliminate what is unnecessary in your life—people, technology, fragile furnishings, et cetera; anything that requires trivial efforts, causes stress, or serves no function. “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” Thoreau

We are bombarded by facts and information in our everyday lives—so much so that it is impossible to absorb more than a fraction of it. Slow down and let yourself learn, hear, and see new things. Stop opening your browser window; slow down and open yourself up to the world.

Written by Jordyn Cormier

This article was originally published on Care2.

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