On Slowing Down

The concept of slowing down keeps presenting itself in my life in a variety of ways- and I’m paying attention.

Last month, I wrote about gratitude and its impact on our perspective, health, and well-being.  To practice gratitude, we usually have to slow ourselves down a bit and pay attention to what’s happening in the moment.  We might take a deeper breath, shifting our nervous systems from frantic fight-or-flight mode to that sweet spot of greater ease- you know, that place where your shoulders start to melt away from your ears?  That place.

As someone who loves to be active and productive, I am learning to take moments to “pause” and Be.  Carrie Contey, PhD, says that we do best when we allow ourselves time and space to integrate what is going on in our lives and bodies.  We have access to so much information in the course of a day- just five minutes spent on Facebook can be absolutely overwhelming.  Taking time to breathe two or three mindful breaths can be enough to break the “spin cycle” of doing, doing, doing, and actually helps us to self-regulate in a very busy world.  When we pause, breathe and slow down, Contey says we stay “emotionally and physiologically resourced.”  We give ourselves the space we need to be our best selves for our family.

In the book, Slow Family Living, author Bernadette Noll offers 75 simple suggestions for slowing down, connecting, and creating more joy in family life.  Her ideas include: starting the day with four deep breaths (before you even get out of bed), Spend Nothing Day, Pondering invitations (and practice saying no), Keeping a Family Journal, and so many more.  Most are practical, commonsense suggestions, yet can seem radical and rebellious in our fast-paced culture of constant movement and always doing more.

If you’re a family at Shady Oak, you most likely at least appreciate these values, as the school’s mission is to preserve childhood and all of its wonder.  To do this, we all have to slow down and pay attention.

When we slow down as adults and caregivers, not only do we model this healthy behavior for our little ones, but we also shift our perspective to see more of the wonder and beauty around us.

We usually take deeper breaths, relax our muscles, and feel more joy (releasing those endorphins), giving our bodies a great big dose of goodness.

As summer winds down, many families begin to wind up for the upcoming school year.  Whether the start of school can’t get here fast enough for you, or you’re wishing for another month, what would it be like to take a pause, slow down, and connect more with your family?  What are the ways you and your family slow down and enjoy the end of summer?



4 Responses to “On Slowing Down”

  1. Erin August 10, 2013 7:00 pm #

    We’ve started saying a good night prayer as a family before G goes to bed. She loves it and often requests “more” when were finished. It’s a nice way for all three of us to have a few calming minutes together.

    • Brandie August 11, 2013 12:29 pm #

      I love that Erin.

  2. Peggy August 12, 2013 7:41 am #

    A and I used to say good night prayers when she was small (now a 24 yo woman). We always ended with “Thank you for the blessings of this day….” Sometimes it was a stretch to find things to be grateful for, the sunshine, the new blossoms on grandma’s rosebush, her homemade salsa or a visit from Uncle E. It’s a beautiful way to close the day.

    • Brandie August 12, 2013 1:59 pm #

      Peggy, that is so beautiful. I sometimes have a hard time starting a gratitude list, but then once it gets going and my perspective shifts, I can see more things :) I love that you did that with your daughter. Just lovely.

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