Be Observant, Peaceful and Healthy – Slow Down

Have you ever taken a walk or a bike ride down a street that you usually drive? You probably noticed a lot more interesting things that you normally miss. How observant we are correlates negatively with our speed.

Have you ever noticed that the only time you lose your keys is when you’re in a hurry? When we rush, we don’t even notice our own actions much less the presence of others, and it is hard to break that mindset even when the perceived need to rush is over.

I used to commute 40 minutes each way to work and home every day. After nearly two years of a stressful evening commute, I decided to try to slow my speed down by 5 miles per hour. I can’t tell you how hard it was those first couple of days to keep my foot off the gas and let the cruise control maintain my speed. Eventually, I started to listen to music and audio books more intently, to notice things along the way and to actually enjoy myself. Instead of 40 minutes of frustration and hell, it was 41.5 minutes of enlightened, enjoyable travel.

The greatest benefit was the huge reduction in wind-down time after I got home. It can take a long time to recover from a stressful, frustrating commute. When the journey becomes an enjoyable part of life instead of something to get over with to reach a destination, it is much easier to have an enjoyable evening.

Carrying out actions just a little bit more slowly and with intention has quite a few benefits.

  • It is more productive than speeding.
  • Fewer mistakes are made.
  • The mind retains information and memories better.
  • We’re less likely to forget things.
  • We’ll enjoy our time and life more.
  • Relationships can grow stronger.
  • We notice more and miss fewer opportunities.
  • Stress is reduced.
  • It is much better for spiritual, mental and even physical health.

Try completing a few of your tasks today a bit slower and with focused intent. Notice how it improves your efficiency and ability to enjoy your life.

2 responses to “Be Observant, Peaceful and Healthy – Slow Down”

  1. Shirley Avatar

    That is so true. I used to watch other drivers beside me during the 30 minute drive home. Even though many would go the same distance as me or more, hardly any of them were smiling, singing with the radio or otherwise enjoying the trip.

    What a waste of time and energy. Anytime you can make a “chore” more enjoyable you should give it a try. It’s worth it!

  2. Bob Avatar

    This is great advice. It makes me thankful that I only spend about 10 or 15 minutes getting to work in the morning, depending on how long it takes me to get out of the parking lot at my daughter’s school.

    My morning chat with her makes the commute a pleasant one most days.