“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor
It may sound odd, but taking vacations from work was initially very challenging and even guilt inducing! Prior to going into full time private practice, I spent over 10 years as an employee working for agencies that gave on average 2-3 weeks of vacation a year. Previously, I didn't appreciate the value of taking a vacation. I now wholeheartedly believe that clinicians who meet their own physical and emotional needs are better equipped to care for others. Moving forward, I am now committed to taking 3-4 vacations a year.
"Clinicians who meet their own
physical and emotional needs are
better equipped to care for others."
I recently came back from a vacation retreat where I spent a lot of time in silence and the concept of mindfulness was explored. Being a busy New Yorker balancing many responsibilities, it's rare that my mind is quiet. I didn't realize how blissful silence can be until I left my life for a week. During this time away I did a full digital detox in which I turned my phone off, disconnected from all technology and stopped communication with the outside world. The time away taught me how powerful and extraordinary feeling peaceful can be. I am now committed to slowing down and bringing greater mindfulness into my life.
We live in a world that tells us we need to hustle and go, go, go. So often we overvalue accomplishments and undervalue the importance of being kind and patient with ourselves. I know how challenging it is to slow down when you are full of adulting responsibilities. Therefore, I have launched #attunedinjune on social media. My goal is to have all of us (myself included) commit to at least one act of mindfulness a day. While getting away for an extended period of time may not be possible, slowing down in small ways can make a significant difference . If you find yourself always rushing, the #attunedinjune challenge is for you! Below please find 4 psychological benefits on slowing down. Just imagine what would happen if we greater appreciated each moment of our lives for what it has to offer.
Psychological Benefits in Slowing Down
1. Your Relationships Will Be Enriched.
When we are constantly rushing, we are unable to really be emotionally available for the people we love. An article I recently read shares that the number one life regret most people have includes working so much that they neglect spending time with their loved ones. Slowing down allows you to be more present and loving in the company of others, enjoying your friendships, intimate relationships, and career relationships in a more meaningful way.
2. Your Productivity Will Increase.
I have witnessed how the demand to be productive in the workplace by forcing people to work longer hours, take on greater tasks and to do more with less support is stretching people to their breaking points. Sara Robinson, wrote an important article in Salon magazine, on the issue of overwork, “Bring Back the 40-hour Work Week,” says “150 years of research proves that long hours at work will kill profits, productivity and employees." Accordingly, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell shares, “Working more slowly, producing less but higher quality work results in greater levels of success.” When we slow down, allow time for breaks and work together as a team, we will create a situation that allows greater productivity both long and short-term.
3. You Will Have More Room For Creativity.
Psychologist Adam Grant gave a wonderful TED Talk where he shares that those who slow down or even procrastinate — tend to be more creative, original thinkers. Grant further shares, "Slowing down can make you more creative: unfinished tasks are more likely to stay active in the back of your mind." Furthermore, I have seen how our anxiety often causes us to be hypervigilant, impulsive and left-brain dominate. The challenge with relying heavily on our left hemisphere of brain is that it limits our access to creativity and intuition which is located on the right hemisphere of the brain. When we slow down, we will have greater access to both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, allowing us to access objectivity and creative ideas.
4. Anxiety and Stress Will Be Reduced.
It is impossible to permanently rid yourself of all anxiety and stress. However, you can better manage anxiety and stress by taking a moment to be mindful and slow down. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School first developed a technique known as relaxation response in the 1970s. Learning how to slow down will produce a relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. Slowing down and relaxing is not a passive activity. Feeling the relaxation response described above requires strategies. This experience can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Can you relate to this post? If yes, please send me an email and let's set up a complimentary phone call.
Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.