Slowing Down

House boats on the river with a financial district in the background

Life in the city runs fast. The relentless river of business cascades down into all of our lives making demands of where we should be and when to be there. Even if you’ve chosen to swim in a different stream, you will still be surrounded by many others rushing to meet these demands. It’s easy to be swept away with them all.

Consciously slowing down your pace is a powerful skill to hone. It will give you a chance to be aware of your reactions and stop things you don’t like. A helpful place to begin is with your speech. Simply talking just slightly slower and making time between spoken thoughts will help you to hear your stream of consciousness and give you a chance to express things differently, more positively or not at all. Then try observing your posture throughout the day. Check in to see if you are hunched over, off balance or feeling tense. Make little changes, relax muscles. Going for a simple walk will alleviate most tension. Think about breathing. Keep trying to see your behaviour. The more you try, the easier it’ll become until it’s a healthy new habit. Be patient with yourself.

If you are a slave to time demands then there really is no real reason to rush. Leave early. Everything is easier when you have time to spare. Where possible take the smart option and travel at quieter times.

The madness of the city is laid bare on the road. It’s a real training ground for rising above other people’s stresses and finding a calmer self. Be kind to other motorists, we don’t know their story. Don’t be offended or riled by their mindlessness — you’re only hurting yourself by entering into that fight. Try driving slowly. I was surprised by how much calmer I felt when choosing to drive in a more relaxed manner. It was a revelation for me. Give it a try.

Keeping your head in chaotic traffic is a real skill. Playing slow music that gives you a sense of peace is an effective antidote to the intensity. It makes sense and it really does work.