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In today’s fast-paced world, so many people are constantly in a hurry. They are looking for happiness, career growth, progress in fitness, success in university or private life. Of course, having a plan and trying to move forward is perfectly fine. The problem can arise when you are constantly chasing something and running at 150% of your capacity. You try to achieve too much and want success on all fronts of life. You want to be the best in everything and place really high demands on yourself.
As a result, it can sometimes be counterproductive because of the remorse and self-blame for not being good enough and not doing your best. In these situations, however, the exact opposite helps. It is necessary to slow down, take your foot off the gas, learn to rest and, as a result, it will help you achieve the desired results. Otherwise, you are putting yourself under constant pressure, which brings stress and other issues. That is why today we will look together at what it means to slow down and why you should sit back and enjoy your life as well.
What does it actually mean to slow down?
When one introduces the word ‘slow’ with regard to life, many people have no idea what it means. Most people think that this means that after work they should lie down in front of the TV and kill the rest of their day watching Netflix. Just so they can watch all episodes of the new series today, because they plan to watch a different one tomorrow. However, life should not take place in the style of a race focused on the quantity of things you are trying to do today. More important is the quality and perception of the world around you. Slower life is a way of thinking that results in a more conscious lifestyle based on real values. Instead of trying to do everything as quickly as possible, it focuses on making things better and perceiving them more. The point here is that you shouldn’t let life slip through your fingers. Instead, try actually living it.
A slower life can start in the morning. You don’t have to follow the traditional scenario, when you get up from the bed after you snooze your alarm twice, get dressed in the kitchen, where you quickly pour coffee all over yourself and devour a sandwich on the way to work in the car. You can enjoy your mornings instead. This means getting up early, having breakfast and coffee in peace, and thanks to the time saved, having a peaceful start to each day. It is important that you focus on the activity you are doing. For example, enjoy your breakfast and try the principles of mindful eating.
This approach could be applied in every area of your life. The point is to find the time it takes. Thanks to this, you can, for example, appreciate the nature around you, enjoy beautiful weather or focus on the person you are talking to. Instead of being constantly glued to your smartphone. Slower life is about consciously performing one task that you will 100% live through. As a result, you can get to the point where you appreciate your life more, and you are happier than ever before. [1 – 2]
Why is it good to slow down in life?
Mahatma Gandhi once said that there is more to life than simply increasing its speed. If you feel exhausted and spinning in a constant cycle of stress or responsibilities, these may also be the reasons why you should slow down. A fast and furious pace of life can affect mental and physical health, but also productivity or your relationships. However, if you try to slow down, it can bring you the following key benefits [3 – 4] :
- Focusing on what is really important in life – as a result of a fast-paced life, you can often lose track of what is most important. For example, you pursue success at work and forget that, for example, your health or the health of your loved ones is much more important. You are only aware of this at a time when the mentioned health is in danger, and until then you take it for granted. It can happen that hard work and constant rushing will affect your judgment. Only to eventually find out that you were chasing someone else’s dream, and you are where you didn’t want to be at all. A slower life will help you to realize what you already have in life, so that you don’t try to chase after things that are not so important.
- Maintaining your mental and physical health – constant chasing or busyness leads to chronic stress. Its symptoms include headaches, insomnia, feelings of weakness, lack of concentration or a reduced desire to socialize. These symptoms can affect your relationships, but also your overall health.
- Higher productivity – rest is essential for productivity. When you rush through a task, you may be inattentive and make mistakes that force you to do the same task again. Subsequently, you have to rework and repair things that may have been done correctly for the first time. However, if you proceed more slowly, you create space for a deeper concentration on your work. You focus more, and your performance is accompanied by good energy. It is even likely that in the end you will have all the tasks done faster. However, it wouldn’t be possible without slowing down and resting.
8 Tips on how to slow down in life
Although the above-mentioned aspects are really convincing, many people most often argue that they simply do not have time to slow down. In today’s world, everyone is increasingly encouraged to be more and more productive, and many people seem to be feeling the pressure to perform. They then mask their exhaustion in front of the boss with caffeine or sugar, and the feeling of constant time pressure leads them to worse results. However, it should be noted that faster does not mean better and quantity doesn’t equal quality.
People often spend their free time with a smartphone in their hands in order to relax. However, instead of calming and slowing down, it takes your attention away, makes the time run faster and makes you feel even more tired and confused. So what’s the way out? 
Below are some tips that may convince you that every problem has a solution. We will try to show you some effective ways to slow down, which you can easily incorporate into your life.
1. Work less
This will probably be difficult to read for people who think about work 24/7 and can’t turn off even when they’re not physically there. But you have to realize that it’s hard to slow down when you’re trying to do a million things and life is slipping through your fingers. Instead, try applying the work-life balance principle. If your working hours are flexible, it does not mean that it should affect you throughout the day from morning until you go to bed.
Establish boundaries between work and free time by clearly defining working hours. Even if you are your own boss. Offices have their opening hours, and it is really not necessary to pick up the phone at eight o’clock in the evening. No one is forcing you to operate 24/7, and your clients should have an understanding of this. They can’t expect for you to immediately reply to an email they’ve sent at midnight. Nothing is going to happen if you respond to them in the morning.
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Therefore, don’t forget to turn off your work phone right after you get home so that emails or messages that you receive don’t bother you. Instead, during working hours, try to focus on what is really important and necessary to do today. Keep everything else for later. Also, if you feel stressed at work because all the pressure is on your head, it may be a good time to think about getting some help. You can delegate less important tasks to another person.
As a result, you will have more time for the most important activities of the day, and you also have a great chance that you will not end up at work until 8 pm again. Also, try to leave some space between tasks or meetings so that your day can run at a slower pace. After all, even students at university have short breaks between lessons to ease their minds a little and increase their concentration. So if you are planning appointments, take at least a 10-minute break between them, and you will see for yourself that your focus will be better.  
If you are more interested in work-life balance, read our article Work-Life Balance: How to Successfully Combine Work and Personal Life?
2. Be aware of your limits and set realistic goals
Do you ever feel like the Superman? I mean, when you feel that your task is to save the whole world, and the path to the salvation of humanity is littered with hundreds of tasks that need to be done. Of course, you will face them with all your bravery, but it may not turn out well in the end, because whether you like it or not, there’s only one Superman.
You should therefore realize that the world will continue to spin even though you have not done 20 tasks today, but only 5. The important part is that those 5 tasks were done properly, without stress, and you didn’t have to return to them and do them all over again. If you set 20 tasks as a plan, of which you can only manage to do 5, you will probably feel frustrated for not fulfilling the plan. On the other hand, if you focus only on the 5 tasks from the beginning and divide the remaining 15 over the next days, you will have a pleasant feeling that you have managed everything you have planned for today. If you accept your limits, you will gradually learn to understand the fact that you also need space to rest. You are not a robot, but a human being who has his limitations and needs to rest, and not only while sleeping. 
If you’re interested to learn more about this topic, be sure to check out our article: What to Do if Sleep Doesn’t Work? Focus on These 7 Types of Rest.
3. Learn to say NO
This is very important in connection with the previous point. The real magic of slowing down or resting more can often be hidden in a simple formula covered by the word NO. And you don’t even have to wave a magic wand. All you have to do is learn to say no to things that aren’t worth it.
It may seem complicated at first. Especially if you love the people around you and don’t want to disappoint them. But realize that whenever you say yes to someone, you lose your time, energy, and attention. Learning to say no is a great tool for setting boundaries in life to protect your time and comfort. It will help you slow down and focus on the things that are really important to you. 
4. Disconnect from social networks
In the age dominated by smartphones and social networks, this step seems really unimaginable. But have you ever wondered if you really need to be online all day without a break? Many people spend a senseless amount of time endlessly scrolling social networks. As a result, it can easily steal from them a few hours a day, which could be used much more efficiently. Not to mention that the constant scrolling on social networks can trigger mental issues, which then manifest in real life as well. If you don’t think that this is your problem, try visiting the digital health settings on your smartphone. You will find the exact time spent in each specific app, such as Facebook or Instagram. If you don’t have similar settings on your phone, you can look at third-party apps to help you with this. You will get a better idea of how many minutes or hours your phone has stolen from your day.
If you want to know more about this topic, be sure to read our article How Does the Endless Scrolling on Social Media Affect Us?
Instead of pointlessly browsing Facebook or Instagram, learn to stop staring at your phone whenever you get a chance. It will be even better if you turn it off completely from time to time. Alternatively, you can choose the airplane mode and at least for a while you will cease to be its slave. If you work on your computer most of the day, be sure to disconnect, so you can focus on other things. Detox from social networks can start in the morning. If you know that your phone is taking away valuable minutes, do not keep it at hand before going to bed. The same is true in the evening, as the blue light from the display may prevent you from sleeping. Try to follow the rule that the phone does not belong in the bedroom. After all, it’s hard to slow down when you’re constantly checking likes, incoming messages, or just scrolling senselessly. 
5. Discover mindfulness meditation
When you’re constantly chasing something, your brain repeatedly goes through the to-do list so you don’t forget anything. In the morning, you start working on a task from yesterday, which was supposed to be done the day before yesterday. You will get another 3 new tasks with urgent priority, but you also must not forget to buy groceries, the list of which you also carry only in your head. On top of that, you have to go to pick up the kids from school, and you almost forgot about the delivery which was expected today.
In this case, it doesn’t matter how fast you complete each task, because your brain runs like crazy anyway, trying to help you not to forget anything. Therefore, from time to time it is useful to clear your thoughts, which mindfulness meditation can help you with. It can teach you to slow down racing thoughts, calm your mind and get rid of negativity. It’s based on you perceiving the present moments and focusing on just one thing that you pay maximum attention to. You can read how to practice it in the article Why Is Stress Dangerous and How to Reduce It?  
Yoga can also be a great way to relieve stress and to relax your body and mind. You can learn more about it in the article Yoga: The Key to Physical and Mental Balance.
6. Get out into nature
A trip to nature can also help you break out of the constant hamster wheel and slow down. This brings a wide range of positive influences. Staying in nature contributes to mental well-being, lowers blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and also reduces the production of stress hormones. A bonus is also the fact that in nature you come up with great ideas, strengthen your immunity and physical condition.
If you are more interested in the benefits of spending time in nature, be sure to read our article Mental Well-Being, Weight Loss and Better Sleep. What Are the Other Benefits of Hiking?
However, you don’t have to go to the mountains every weekend to slow down. All you have to do is include short walks in your life or sit somewhere in the park for at least a few minutes. You will see that your body and mind thank you for that.  
7. Spend time with the people you love
The fast-paced world can also cause that you forget to spend enough time with your loved ones. This is also one of the things you should fix on the way to slowing down. Relationships with the people around you form a skeleton of life that has a purpose. Sharing secrets, problems, worries or ideas with loved ones can be a great way to slow down and enjoy your life.
Without the people we love, we will quickly become cold and lonely beings. Therefore, dedicate some time each day to the closest people to your heart. It will allow you to slow down, and at least you won’t have to blame yourself one day for neglecting your loved ones. 
8. Enjoy the world around you
Fast-paced times often make you miss important moments. And some of them might be magical. Whether it’s hugging your kids or cuddling with your pet. Alternatively, enjoying a tasty lunch or lying down in a freshly changed bed. Every person has little things in his life that makes him happy. And if you are present in those moments and don’t take them for granted, it will have even more value. This can be the key to slowing down and, ultimately, to a happier life. 
There may not always be the right path to take you to your destination. If you put high demands on yourself and try to achieve too much, it can often have the opposite effect, which brings the self-blame for not being good enough. However, the magic of success can be hidden somewhere else, and instead of working at full speed, you just need to take your foot off the gas. If you are spinning in a constant cycle full of duties and you feel it is time to slow down, individual steps can help you put this feeling into practice. Then you will see for yourself that exaggerated effort may not be the best thing, and that slowing down makes your life much more meaningful. In addition, its positive impact is reflected not only in work but also in private life.
 What is Slow Living? – https://www.slowlivingldn.com/what-is-slow-living/
 Leo Babauta - The 10 Essential Rules for Slowing Down and Enjoying Life More – https://zenhabits.net/the-10-essential-rules-for-slowing-down-and-enjoying-life-more/
 Christy Wright - 12 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Life More – https://www.ramseysolutions.com/personal-growth/the-beauty-of-slowing-down
 Chronic stress – https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/stress-disorder
 Our Top 11 ways to slow down – https://www.theworldinstituteofslowness.com/our-top-11-ways-to-slow-down/
 Tchiki Davis - Slowing Down: 14 Science-Based Ways to Enjoy Life – https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/slow-down.html
 How to Slow Down: 20 Simple Ways to Slow Down & Enjoy Life – https://simplelionheartlife.com/how-to-slow-down/
 Kendra Cherry - What Is Mindfulness Meditation? – https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-meditation-88369
 How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? – https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
 Enjoying Life in the Slow Lane – https://www.becomingminimalist.com/enjoying-life-in-the-slow-lane/
 Amy Crawford - 10 reasons why you should slow down to go faster – https://www.theholisticingredient.com/blogs/wholesome-living/10-reasons-why-you-should-slow-down
 Boost your immune system, shake off stress by walking in the woods – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003132112.htm
 Health effects of a forest environment on natural killer cells in humans: an observational pilot study – https://www.oncotarget.com/article/24741/text/
 Stress – https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress/