It is a fast-paced world. Every one of us at a young age is encouraged to keep pace with the hypersonic modern lifestyle. However, how satisfied are we with our busy lifestyles? Have we lost the art of being happy in the midst of the rush and the rat race? Can the haste be maddening at some point?
Hurrying with your daily routine leads to a perpetual state of alarm and unquiet in the body resulting in stress. Long-standing stress takes a toll on your body and mind. It is linked to an array of problems like sleep disorders, elevated blood pressure, worsening of painful conditions, gastritis, indigestion, constipation, worsening of skin diseases, reduced immunity and susceptibility to infections. Stress can also disrupt the mental health of an individual causing disorders like depression and anxiety disorders.
Does it pay to slow down? Yes, to slow down is to de-stress and there are many health benefits from it. Surprisingly, the proverbial tortoise does win the race!
The next question, how to slow down? The answer lies in the way you breathe. When I was young I was informed by a wise man that the slower you breathe, the longer you live. My skeptical mind thought that this was some bogus claim. However, years later after understanding how our body reacts to stress and how slow breathing can regulate the stress response, I am convinced beyond doubt that slow breathing makes you healthy and increases longevity. No wonder all forms of meditation, yoga and other ancient techniques rely heavily on the control of our breath. So, keep reminding yourself to slow down your breath whenever you are feeling stressed.
We have known from time immemorial that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Our body influences the way our mind feels and vice versa. We feel sad when experiencing pain. We are fidgety when we are anxious.Understanding this mind-body link is crucial to good health.
Be aware of your body and behaviour. Slow down when you are walking. Open up your senses. Be mindful of the beauty around you. Take a moment to notice the wind in your face. Notice the blooming flowers and the green trees after rains. Smile and greet people you meet on the way. Drive slowly. Start early and enjoy the journey. Rushing will save you a few minutes but your body will feel the stress all day long. Slow down when you eat food. Enjoy every bit of it. Notice the texture of the food and how it tastes as you chew. Slow down when you talk with someone. Listen to them attentively without rushing and closing the conversation with a quick answer.
Slow down your mind. It is always trying to rush in to the future. Drag your mind and make it to pay attention to the task at hand. Don't worry about what's next, focus on the here and now.
Most of us are unhappy of our present state and wish to move ahead in life. We want to grow up fast when we are young. We want to finish school and get into college. In college, we want to get into a job. This goes on till the day we realise that what we left behind was way too precious. Slow down and take time to appreciate wherever you are in life, rather than chasing the place of your dreams.
Slowing down is an art. It is going to be difficult at first, given our habituation to rush with our daily routine. "Slow down" -- make this your mantra for the next few days and watch yourself transform into a happier and healthier person.