Slowing down our rushed, anxious mind

January 26, 2020

If you are like most people, you probably rush through your day and all of the moments throughout the day. The problem is that we give ourselves a big “to do” list while already being pulled in a lot of different directions with work, social media and just our regular social circles, and family, making it difficult to not feel rushed and be able to devote quality time to the people and things we love most. It feels like we don’t have enough time for anything.

This is something I struggle with and why I wrote this, because I know I am not the only one. I often feel rushed no matter what it is that I am doing. The following example is one I often use because it is so ridiculously silly. There have been times that I was running late for something and had to be in the car for about a half hour drive to get there. I hadn’t eaten yet, so I brought food to eat while I was driving. Because I was late and felt rushed, I felt like I had to eat quickly. So, within the first five minutes of the half hour drive, whatever I was eating was gone because I wolfed it down. My mind tricked me into believing that I didn’t have enough time to eat because I was late, yet I had a full 30 minutes to slowly eat my food. My adrenaline was pumping so everything seemed like it was moving faster, or needed to move faster, than it really was.

If this sounds like you, I bet you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If so, I encourage you to look for opportunities each day to practice slowing down your mind. If you live with a health condition like I do, a neurological movement disorder called dystonia, that requires you slow down, it is even more important. The old saying, take time out to smell the roses, is something that we should apply to our lives as often as we can. For example, when you see a sunrise or a sunset, stop and take notice for a few moments…or many moments. Get lost in the sky. The next time you get caught at a traffic light or stuck in traffic, be grateful that you are going slower. Embrace what it feels like to move more slowly. Instead of getting angry at the driver in front of you who is going below the speed limit, thank that person for helping you slow down.

Unless it is an emergency, don’t answer every text message right away. Let time pass. If it is too hard at first, start by putting your phone in a different room. When you’re watching a television program or listening to the radio and there are commercials, sit through the commercials without changing the station. Browse stores in the mall. Write a handwritten letter. Start journaling. When shopping, look for the longest line and get in it. Make a home cooked meal from a recipe book. And when you see a rose, STOP and smell it. The phrase, “take time to slow down” could not be more literally spot on! It’s okay if you don’t get to everything you feel you need to do.

Above are just a few examples of what we can do to train our racing mind to slooooow dooooown. We have to practice more than most of us probably do. We have become prey to the fast moving, instant message world in which we live. There are studies to show that stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise because of the way society is now, but we don’t need the studies because most of us live it and we feel it every day. We ARE the walking, talking study…

Along with practicing things like meditation, breathing exercises, exercise itself, etc., we should be practicing mindfulness type behavior all day long using the things I mentioned. The more we practice doing this the more it becomes habit and we don’t have to think about it anymore and purposely look for the opportunities to slow down. We simply slow down because it becomes our nature… and when we slow down, we begin to see all that we have been missing in our lives.

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Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers NetworkThe MightyPatient Worthy, and The Wellness Universe. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his book (also on Amazon), or schedule a free coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.

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13 responses to “Slowing down our rushed, anxious mind”

  1. Debora Nigro says:

    I forwarded this article to a friend of mine and she was most appreciative to receive it. Please post more helpful information. thank you

  2. Debora Nigro says:

    I forwarded this article to a friend of mine and she was most appreciative to receive it. Keep them coming.

  3. Evon Letourneau says:

    At times I need to slow down but, I have also found that burning off that excess energy helps me so much. I swim and excercise at the YMCA and if I miss those times do to weather if feel a big difference. At night I need to slow down and keep my mind away from stress. Just my take on it…

  4. marsha says:

    Tom,
    this is a very good message and a great reminder. It helps so much to slow down. I read a very good book called, ” The practicing mind” It helped me so much and you should check it out.

  5. Great article, Tom! Thank you for the reminder!

  6. This is such great advice. I suffer from a racing mind, which gets worse when I’m in pain. Thank you for writing this.

    • Tom Seaman says:

      I am so glad you liked it! I think this is a common things for many of us so I hope it resonates with many and helps, even if just a little.

  7. Susan Bleich says:

    I love reading your articles. Just stopping to read them helps remind me to take time out of the day for myself. Living with Dystonia is many times difficult. I have to keep telling my self that there are a lot more people out there that are worse off than me. Thank you for all you do to encourage us and sharing your life experiences makes me feel the courage to keep going!

    • Tom Seaman says:

      Thank you, Susan. That is so nice of you to say! You made a really good point that I am going to take to heart… slowing down to read. It requires us to really be in the moment and was something I used to do a lot more than I do now. I am again getting back into reading to get myself to slow down and escape the rigors of my day. Thank you!

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