There is a common narrative that “more is better”, “faster is better”, and that we have to “do, do, do” all the time. But as we’ve discovered during lockdown, many of us learnt to appreciate the simple things in life. Close family, friends, our pot plants, the local parks and beaches. We’ve learnt to simply “be” in the smaller moments. It turns out slowing down not only has benefits for our personal well-being, but also for work performance and our workout routine!
Slowing down and making time for deep exhales, activates your vagus nerve and brings your nervous system out of the stress response into “rest and digest” mode.
Benefits of slowing down for personal wellbeing include: mental downtime, deeper connection with yourself and others, clearer thinking, and appreciating more daily moments (including the first sip of that morning latte(!), or the family gathered to exchange gifts this Christmas).
Other ways for you to slow down your life include: creating downtime in your schedule, meditating to create an alpha brainwave pattern, getting lost in an activity that you love eg. playing with a child, riding your bike, looking at a beautiful summer sunset.
Clarity and Productivity at Work
Slowing down to make time for clarity at work actually increases productivity! If you’re constantly juggling and running from one thing to the other, it’s hard to see where you’re going. An article in Forbes magazine promotes the Dutch practice of “niksen”, that is intentionally taking time to stare out the window or sit motionless. When we are idle our minds naturally wander, and this daydreaming makes us more creative, better at problem solving and we naturally come up with more creative ideas.
Alternatively you can schedule an hour a week to check in and reflect on your intentions, while observing, and strategising around the challenges and opportunities showing up for you. From this clearer place you’ll start to make better decisions (both big and small). (www.inc.com)
Skipping the adrenaline high and having regular slower workouts focused on form, is important to get you into the habit of better functional movement. This ensures you have better habits when you increase the intensity of your exercise. In the long term, switching between slower and more intense workouts is more sustainable than ‘smashing’ it each time, as it can also prevent injury. (Cnet)
We all have an ingrained habit of moving faster than we need to, so why not slow down your pace in different areas of your life and see how it feels!
(Side note – you can also stimulate the vagus nerve by taking a cold shower or jumping into the ocean or a river this summer. This is a great read on the vagus nerve from the Sydney Morning Herald).
Have a great Christmas!
The Stable Team