{Friday Musings} On Slowing Down

There is so much more to eating than food.

Along with all of the food recommendations I give my clients, I also tend to focus a lot on stress relief and slowing down.

The environment in which you eat has a direct effect on how well you digest and absorb nutrients.

If you are in a constant state of stress–or chronically stressed– and your brain/adrenals are in overdrive, your digestion will be disrupted.

Sometimes, clearing up gastrointestinal discomfort can be as easy (or hard) as slowing down, reducing your stress and being in a more positive frame of mind.

In my experience, taking time to slow down is one of the hardest things for people to do.

Snacking on nuts instead of peanut butter crackers? No problem.

Eating green veggies everyday? Usually no problem.

Taking time to slow down? Big problem.

It’s the slowing down that involved making some actual changes to your lifestyle.

Changes that most aren’t willing to make given the fast paced society in which we live.

The fear is that if you slow down, you’ll be left behind.

You’ll be missing out.

Missing out on the opportunity to get more work done.

Missing out on the chance to do things with your kids.

Ultimately, missing out on the chance to truly heal themselves and reach their goals.

Sound drastic? Well, I believe that healthy digestion is the key to reaching ANY kind of health goal.

This past week, I realized that I might not be moving as slowly or as relaxed as I could be. I tend to get more stressed in the summer time–when I want to be out vacationing, when I have to opportunity to put work on the back burner for a few days.

The thought of putting work on the back burner stresses me out. Just like it may stress you out.

I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to connect with people.

I don’t want to fall behind.

So, this week when I found myself feeling guilty for wanting to slow down, I realized that I need to be working toward slowing down all the time.

My relationship with stress relief is similar to my relationship with stretching: I do it consistently for a few weeks after I throw my back out, but once my back is healed, I don’t feel the need to do it anymore….until I throw my back out.

Well, this week was the breaking point and now I know I need to slow down.

Here are the top 3 ways that I use to slow myself down (in no particular order)

  1. Focus on the things I appreciate. The best way for me to slow myself down is to do a little meditation. For me, meditation means sitting quietly, breathing slowly and deeply, and envisioning all of the things I’m grateful for in my life. This takes a little as five minutes. The BePeace Practice is wonderful for this as well.
  2. Chew my food better. When I’m rushing around I notice that I only take two or three bites of food. Taking time to really chew my food not only brings mindfulness to the eating experience, I feel like it also relaxes my entire nervous system, making my digestion run more smoothly. When I’m paying attention, I try to chew each mouthful at least 30 times.
  3. Do one thing at a time. In the evenings, I’m usually that girl who’s watching TV, and simultaneously looking up all kinds of stuff on her iPad. It seems like I’m doing two things at once, but I’m really not doing either thing. I have no idea what’s going on in Mob Wives, and I can’t focus long enough on the touch screen to really read an article. Doing one thing– even if it’s just actually focusing on the TV can make a difference.

What does it take for you to slow down? How do you do it once you’ve seen the need?

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2 Responses to {Friday Musings} On Slowing Down

  1. Claude July 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Slowing down and mindfulness go hand in hand. There are two books that I’ve found helpful in my quest for mindfulness. Both have brief examples that are simple yet effective. “How to Train a Wild Elephanr, and other Adventures in Mindfulness by Joan Chozen Bay, MD and Just One Thing:Developing a Buddha Brain With One Practice at a Time, by Rich Hanson.
    Your emphasis on slowing down also reminds me of a recent column in the NY Times by Pico Iyer, which I also highly recommend.

    • Allison July 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM #

      Thank you for all of the info, Claude! I’ll have to look into those books. I’m finding that slowing down in one area of my life helps me to slow down in ALL areas of my life– it’s amazing what chewing your food a little bit slower and longer can do!

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