By: Brooke Davidson // @brooke_being
When I was 16 I got my first job. In the application and interview processes, I was coached to say things like “I’m good at multitasking” and “I can work in a fast-paced environment” -- things that would, unbeknownst to my 16 year old self, feed into the western world’s notion of “busy is better.” Years later, I realized that while I don’t enjoy monotony, I definitely don’t work best in a fast-paced environment where I have to multitask. In fact, according to a variety of research out there, most people do better in a slower and more focused environment. Studies have shown that “multitasking increases our brain’s production of cortisol, a hormone that creates stress. Once we’re stressed and mentally fatigued, anxiety builds up. And this leads to stress builds up. It’s a vicious cycle of constant stress and anxiety” (Oshin). But even if we recognize how we might benefit from slowing down -- even if we see the need and have the desire -- how do we actually make it happen?
Like anything, there are a variety of practices that can help the process of slowing down become a more attainable and sustainable aspect of your life.
This is a big one, and it took me a long time to learn it. If you are heading a meeting at work and feel like things are too rushed, use your position of power to slow it down. Give everyone a 5 minute breather; ask for the group to take a collective breath; put a pin in the meeting and schedule a time to resume at a later date. You don’t always have the power to do that, but when something is in your control, be sure to both recognize and utilize that.
Be clear in your boundaries surrounding your time. What do you feel comfortable taking on? What level of commitment would allow you to show up excited and fully present? Which engagements align with your deepest values? Only once you become clear in the answers to those questions will you be able to structure your days in a way that aligns with your life goals. And that means you’re going to have to say “no” -- sometimes even to things you really are interested in or would like to do. Sometimes to things that you think would make others like you more. Sometimes to things that you weren’t even wanting to do in the first place.
Some of these no’s will be easy. Some will be hard. But all of them will help you to create more space in your days (weeks.. years..) which will create a slower feel for your life.
For real. Stop looking at your phone while you watch a show. Stop flipping between tabs to tend to various tasks at the “same” time. Choose instead to be fully present with the task at hand. Not only is this more effective (we lose time in transitioning back and forth between tasks), but our brains are wired to find this more enjoyable. When we instead monotask, we allow ourselves to be present with whatever we’re working on, and whenever we are present, we have a more full and slowed sense of the experience.
Ultimately, slowing down is a lifestyle choice. We have to practice it just like we’d practice any other skill or lifestyle, and over time it will become easier and more natural. The time to begin, as always, is now.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re in the thick of the summer season. Long, sun-soaked, energized days offer us the opportunity to do so much. If you’re in the market for some fun ways to share the season with a loved one, consider trying out some of the ideas below.
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