Slowing down is not just a subject I talk about a lot, it’s all over the internet. People talk about wanting a simple life. They post nostalgic memes of cosy cottages with fireplaces and happy people taking a walk on the beach.
We also spend a significant amount of our time on complaining about how busy we are. Two friends meet in the street, and you can bet they’ll talk about how much they have to do.
We obviously hate being so busy. So what’s our problem? Your mission today is to learn why it is so hard to slow down.
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Task 1: Why it’s so hard to slow down
We tend to think of being busy and stressed as bad. It’s what makes us tired, irritable and whiny. We basically bitch about it all the time! Therefore, what I’ll say next will come as a bit of a surprise.
The real reason why it’s so hard to slow down is that it’s easier to be busy.
This may sound ludicrous, but stress addiction is a thing. If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll briefly explain it: Stress causes our bodies to go into alert mode. Amongst other things, adrenalin is produced. This is a good thing if we need to escape a dangerous situation, which is what stress is meant for.
If stress becomes (semi-)permanent, though, it’s a problem. Constant high alert is really bad for the body. We get addicted to the adrenaline. And that, right there, is why it’s easier to stay busy than it is to slow down.
Task 2: How to escape
No addiction is broken in a day. It’s usually a process and involves more than one step. I’ve listed a few things you can do in a previous episode, but today I’d like to focus on one particularly effective aspect: Your body.
Stress accumulates in the body, and the adrenaline circulates there as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to use your body to get rid of stress as well. You can do this by moving in any way whatsoever. Obviously, a walk in the forest would be great, but even walking inside your building is better than nothing.
Sport is great, too, but dancing is just as good. Get up and pace up and down for a minute or two. Do a five-minute yoga session. Every physical activity helps to reduce adrenaline and get you back into balance – and then you’ll be able to actually put up your feet and read, rather than rushing towards the next adrenaline fix.