We never have enough time. We scurry to get the kids to school. We drive faster than we should. We stay up past our bedtimes to fit in all the extra things.
With such full schedules, our lives sometimes feel half empty. Slow down for these five things, and see the benefits to your mind, body and spirit. You’ll even see a difference in your most important relationships.
1. Kiss slowly
Whether you’re single and dating, divorced and courting, or a seasoned married person, consider what it means to kiss slowly. Kissing slowly tells your loved one, “I’ve got all day for you.” Kissing slowly gives your loved one something to look forward to when he or she gets home. And slowly kissing your loved one shows that you are dedicated to lifelong courtship. Who doesn’t want that?
2. “Do your abs” slowly
Many of us cringe when we think of exercising our abdominal muscles. (Note: That’s why they put ab exercises at the end of an intense workout class — they wear down our resistance.) When we do our ab exercises, we want to quickly get them over with.
To make matters worse, abs are some of the most important muscles to exercise. They assist in the framework for our organs. They keep our cores strong and help prevent back injuries. But research suggests that “slow and steady” is the key for strengthening your tummy muscles, so slow down for a controlled crunch and a stronger you.
3. Respond slowly
Growing up watching sitcoms taught me one thing — there is power in the one-line comeback. But quick responses haven’t given me the power that I’d hoped for. In fact, the fast reply has usually meant hours of relationship repairs later on.
But you can increase the trust in your relationships by slowing down in your responses. Consider stallers like, “That’s a great question,” when you don’t know what to say. Buy yourself extra time to chew over your words by saying, “I’m thinking about what you said.”
Responding slowly makes others feel that you’ve listened to them instead of thinking about your response the whole time. Responding slowly allows you to discover what you’re feeling in relation to the conversation — and why. Responding slowly allows for dialogue and a more thoughtful response.
4. Read together slowly
For many parents, evenings are the worst. It’s usually been a long day. You’re tired and ready to hit the sack. But take the time to read slowly with your kids.
Reading slowly can help your children appreciate and understand language. (And, for early readers, this can help with their reading skills.) Reading slowly can also set your children up to value reading, appreciating one of the most important life skills. And reading together slowly allows you quality time to connect with your child. It allows children to jump in and ask questions. It helps children feel safe — which eases everyone into dreamland.
5. Pray slowly
The benefits of prayer and meditation are extensive. Prayer can help us feel less stressed and more centered, but prayer may also have an effect on others. Some research suggests that the intercessory prayer (praying for others) can improve the health for those being prayed for. So why not spend a few extra minutes in prayer each day? Reconnect yourself with steady breath. Release your thoughts, worries and concerns of the day. Recollect your blessings. Breathe new life into your spirituality.