Relax! The Power of Slowing Down
Have you ever found yourself craving downtime - only to get it and feel like you can’t really relax?
Our brains crave downtime; studies point to the physical and emotional benefits of hitting the ‘pause’ button, for a minute, or an hour, or a day. But slowing our pace down can be challenging for many of us. It’s tough if the ‘slow down guilt ‘ creeps in (the by-product of too much to do). When it happens to me, it’s like my body is just itching to unwind, but my mind has other plans. All of the things that are waiting to be done are rolling around in my mind. I have a moment where I think, “ I don’t really need to take this break, with X and Y waiting to be done!”
But the benefits of pausing in your busy day for a moment of mindful (or mindless) R&R are vast, so it’s important to learn how to create and enjoy those moments.
When we take a break—whether it’s a week long vacation, an afternoon away doing something pleasurable, or just catching a few minutes of R&R in your busy afternoon—we give our minds a chance to reboot. These ‘life pauses’ (similar to taking 20 minute ‘cat nap’) boost our energy and strengthen productivity, according to a recent study in Scientific American. Just like turning your computer off and on again, shutting down your system for a brief period of time refreshes your nervous system and reboots your focus and concentration.
Reprogram yourself to think “I deserve time to recharge.” Help your mind shift from go mode to slow mode by using a few calming words. Studies show that repeating a word or phrase can stop the mental wheels from spinning. Mantras can quiet the mind and help the sympathetic nervous system to relax. Now you’re ready to enjoy a pause that refreshes.
Set a goal for one day next week. Consciously hit the ‘pause’ button, with the help of the self-talk phrases below. Which resonates the most with you?
I have the power to hit ‘refresh’ and relax into the moment.
By taking breaks from my fast-paced life, I’m actually boosting my productivity.
I give myself space to slow down and enjoy one moment at a time.
I release all tensions in my mind and body. I will relax now.
I find calm within myself.
I deserve some down time and will make the most of it.
It might feel odd or silly to quietly or silently use a mantra to get into the R&R zone, but meditation experts confirm that almost any series of words, repeated over and over, can bring inward focus and calmness that is hard for some of us to otherwise find. Do yourself a favor and embrace the power of slowing down on a regular basis. Your body and mind will thank you!