I have a need for speed

I will always choose going fast over going slow. On a clear bit of road I will nudge the accelerator, I like fast food, I’ll speed walk around the dawdlers in a supermarket, I watch most of a program on fast forward X2, I’m in and out of the shower within two minutes most days, as a kid I always wanted to go higher and faster on the swings … basically I choose to live life at a fast pace. 

Living life at breakneck speed has some consequences:

* Busy is worn like a badge of honour. Being busy means people don’t want to impose or interrupted me, which in turn means that I miss out on conversation and contact.

* Feeling like a hare rushing around  a greyhound track, I often get breathless and feel my heart racing, which creates an anxious state of being that is hard to come down from. Being rushed can feel like a self-enslavement as it is something I have created and find hard to escape from.

* I rush between one meeting or commitment to another not giving myself the time or space to reflect. I’ve mastered the art of winging it.

* If I do you slow the pace, or God forbid stop momentarily, it feels uncomfortable. I feel guilty that I ought to be doing something more productive.

*The virtue I need to work on most is patience. Being impatient is not nice and at times downright dangerous.

This year one of my intentions is to slow down. So many people are overworked, time poor and in a 24/7 society were nothing really shuts down or stops. There is a new and growing trend of people that are starting to decelerate by engaging in slow forms of consumption – slow eating, going to Wi-Fi free areas, slowing down a physical pace.

Slowing down enables you to create some thinking space. You can engage in reflection, fire up your imagination and consider things that ordinarily would not have dawned on you. The only time I get this is when I go for a run. If I know my route in don’t have to worry about getting lost, I don’t have anything else to distract me. All I have to think about is my breathing. After a while my mind drifts, it’s like setting a caged bird free, not having any constraints. It is only then that I have the space, time and ability to think. I always end up coming up with new ideas that I ordinarily would not have thought of, it is a wonderful feeling. It’s when you do nothing for the ideas come.

When you put your wellness first, other commitments benefit, not suffer. It is interesting what shows up when life slows down. Playfulness is something that is lost when you are rushing around. It’s hard to be spontaneous when you are living life at break neck speed.

I know it’s going to be tough breaking such an ingrained habit. I will have to challenge the cognitive distortions I have around the benefits of living a fast paced life, such as “it’s more exciting”, “I get more done”, “I build momentum, if I slow down I will end up stopping.” I will need to replace them with new beliefs around the health benefits of micro moments of deceleration and tell myself how a few deep breaths every hour can make a huge difference and that daydreaming is allowing creativity.

Deceleration dos and donts

Dawdle where possible
People watch
Sometimes do nothing
Wake up naturally
Look at the clouds
Put your cutlery down after each mouthful of food
Listen to Nichole Nordmann’s song “Slow Down”

Run for a bus or train
Multi task
Speak scroll through social media
Overstimulate yourself
Live life by an internal to do list
Do one click online shopping