Each of us have the same 88,400 seconds per day. How we choose to spend them significantly impacts the quality of our lives and the people around us. What kind of day, month, year do you envision for yourself, your family, your creative endeavors? Choosing a deliberate slowing practice may be one way to help you, your family and the people you serve savor the moments together and get back to a more unhurried lifestyle for a healthy brain and a peaceful soul.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Check your reaction to the following scenarios. What do you do when you are:
- behind a slow driver?
- in the slow lane at the grocery story?
- attempt to chew your food slowly?
- at work with someone who is on a slower pace than you?
- caring for a baby who is not on your same pace?
How could these scenarios set the stage for slowing? What were your initial reactions to those questions? On a scale of 1–10, with 10 being perfectly comfortable with slowing, where would you rate yourself?
With all the beeps, dings and dopamine rushes that our smart phone delivers, moving into a slowing mode takes intention. Our phones and especially our current culture are not honoring to a slower pace. Facebook, emails, messages all pile up if we are not in constant communication with our phones and yet, is it communication?
When our brains are on 24/7, we have no room to rest. Our brains are a muscle and like any muscle in training, muscles need recovery time. Slowing, as well as silence, gives our brains that opportunity to recover between bursts of output.
Slowing also gives our bodies less of the fight or flight response associated with stress. Life in slower motion means we are producing less cortisol- less stress hormones which is healthier for all of our body’s organs.
In addition, slowing gives us opportunities to savor our moments, also good for our brains. It’s a different view of the world and adds pleasure to our brains. Savor means to give oneself the enjoyment of. How often during your day do you stop and take enjoyment of a moment?
My husband and I have been caring for our three-year old grandson periodically. We have decided that the advantage of grandparenting is that you do get to savor more moments than you did as a parent because we are more intentional and not as distracted by day to day responsibilities.
The great thing about slowing with children is hearing the funny things they say, noticing the furrowed facial expressions and seeing them learn.
How to Practice Slowing?
What might happen in your day to day use of those 88,400 seconds, if you experimented with a few of the following slowing practices?
- When you start a meeting or even at the beginning of a family meal, ask everyone to take a deep breath and gather their thoughts or gratitudes before starting.
- When you notice racing thoughts, take several deep breaths. Say a breathe prayer — Lord Jesus, have mercy in and release hurry out.
- When you are with others, look them in the eyes and put your cell phone away, and have a regular conversation with them.
- When you are in the supermarket, intentionally choose the slowest lane. Look around at the colors in the store, relax in line, smile at the people around you.
All of these ideas are a way to slow yourself down and savor the moment — with yourself, with God and with others.
When you begin to experiment with some of these small practices, notice how you feel. Are you feeling some resistance? How hard is it to give yourself permission to slowing? What happens over time as you practice?
The present moment is all we have and we’ll never have this moment again. How does that sit with you? Savoring the moment we have takes intentionality, focus and awareness. Where will you start to slow down your day and savor the moments of your life?
Your brain and your soul will be glad you did.
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