Do you feel pressured by others to move faster? To make them happy and calm their fears? You don’t have to be a people pleaser to be caught in someone else’s anxiety and frustration.
If you find yourself speeding up once again to superhuman speed, it may be worth it to slow down and see what’s contributing to your frenzied pace. Where does all this pressure to speed up and over-do come from?
First we have to slow down, breath, and reflect. Our thoughts need air to gain awareness. Many variables can contribute to our speeding up to super-human speed.
10 Ways to Slow Down Instead of Hurrying
What helps you slow down? I am referring to slowing down your automatic reactions as well as slowing down your activity level. Here’s what helps me:
1. Schedule more breaks instead of more tasks in your day.
2. Take a nap.
3. Sit, watch, and listen to nature.
4. Read a book for fun.
5. Journal without turning it into a creative or productive work.
6. Unplug from computer, phone, or electronics for a day.
7. Go for a walk with no destination or time in mind.
8. Get a babysitter and do something gentle for yourself.
9. Limit the amount of time you check email and social media.
10. Connect with people face to face.
Increase Awareness About the Pressure to Hurry
Once you slow down, ask yourself where the pressure is coming from, inside or outside of yourself? If you look closely, you will probably recognize it comes from fear and tension in both places. I think anxiety drives hurrying. We may put pressure on ourselves or absorb others anxiety.
For example, I can temporarily absorb someone else’s anxiety by picking it up. In other words, I take responsibility for someone else’s emotion. And to keep the peace, I will automatically (without thinking) start moving faster. But in my head, I am thinking that I really need a break and the task could really wait. My head says one thing but my body does something else.
A Choice to Be Different But Connected
So slowing down isn’t just a list to follow for yourself. It’s also making a choice to live more self-directed (and connected). The more you speed up to make others happy (or keep the peace), the more stressed, resentful, and disconnected you become. You stop telling them about yourself and it stops being intimate.
But the more you learn to let your loved ones carry their own anxiety, the freer you are to move at your own pace. And the easier it becomes to be personal. Now you are free to connect with them without walls of stress and resentment building. You can be present for them without taking it on yourself. Really!
To recap, first slow yourself down. Second reflect on what contributes to your frenzied pace. And third recognize the choice that you have even if others pressure you to do it their way.
Let me know how slowing down works for you, even if it’s different than others want you to do.
Photo Credit: “In a Hurry” by Victor Rosenfeld