Do you recognise yourself in this following article I found in Word for Today? I know that this is who I was for many years until I discovered the amazing benefits of slowing down.
“Have you heard of ‘hurry sickness’? Those who have it zoom in and out of lanes in congested traffic; try to be the first off the plane, even though they must wait forever at baggage claim; honk at you if you don’t take off like a racehorse when the traffic light turns green; tap their fingers against anything they can find when they have to wait; punch the lift button repeatedly to attempt to move it faster.
They remind us of hummingbirds. These tiny birds can fly forward, then hover in mid-air going nowhere. Their tiny wings can move up to seventy-five times each second! The trouble is their average life span is only three years compared to an eagle that lives thirty years.
What’s the difference? The eagle has learned to conserve its energy by riding the God-given wind currents. The message here is simple: when you preserve your energy you last longer and go higher than you ever dreamed.
Adrenaline and Cortisol
Every time you get in a hurry mode, you send a ‘state of emergency’ signal to your body. And it responds by releasing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol that prepare you to deal with danger.
The body cannot distinguish between physical danger, or the danger of losing your job, or any other form of stress and pressure. It only knows that action has to be taken and that it must energise you to deal with it.
Now, this is a good thing if you’re indeed physically threatened. But to live with your body constantly on high alert is like fighting a fifteen-round nonstop boxing match. Sooner or later, you pay the price in the form of heart disease, ulcers, forgetfulness, and a multitude of other conditions.
What’s the cure? A-B-C: Awareness, Belief, Change. Become Aware of your continual high-gear mode and what part you play each time you hurry. Ask yourself, ‘How could I have prevented this?’ Believe that you can change your behaviour. Change – consciously slow down. Talk slower, move slower.
Deciding to move at a slower pace will definitely improve the quality of your life, your health and your relationships.”
I changed and everything changed
It was only a couple of years ago when I was living this high tempo life believing that as long as I was moving fast, I was achieving more. I recognise my old self in the article above and it makes me shudder to think that was the way I was living. I can feel the stress just thinking about it.
I have learned to talk slower, walk slower, drive slower and the benefits of this are amazing. I am very rarely stressed. I am in control of my emotions, and I feel calm and relaxed during the day.
To achieve this, I have to be organised with time management meaning that I always leave early for meetings, I only work on one thing at a time and when I have completed what I can on that particular item I only then move onto the next and fully focus on that. I avoid distractions as much as possible and therefore achieve much more in each hour.
It took me a couple of months to change as I would be calm for a while then I would suddenly rush to the car with adrenaline and cortisol coursing through my body to get to a meeting. Or I would find myself jumping the queue in heavy traffic or in the supermarket.
Slowly but surely it all changed
Slowly but surely however I started to change as I saw the benefits of slowing down. I arrived at meetings and presentations in a relaxed and calm state, and I performed much better.
When I travel to deliver presentations, I always travel late morning the day before and after checking into my hotel I will find a Costa or similar and work there until it’s time to eat then after eating a relaxed meal I will call my wife Julie then watch a bit of TV and go to sleep early.
Then I get up early and arrive at the venue in plenty of time to set up and then relax for a while before I commence the Masterclass. I love this time when everything has been checked and I am ready for the delegates to arrive.
My goal in life now is to see how calm I can remain all day. I aim for at least 95% and the times I am not calm are few and far between.
I know the damage that stress causes but to remind you here is a list of some of the effects of stress:
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed, as if you are losing control or need to take control
Having a hard time relaxing and quieting your mind
Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), and feeling lonely, worthless, and depressed
Physical symptoms of stress include:
Upset stomach, including diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea
Aches, pains, and tense muscles
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
Frequent colds and infections
Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ears, and cold or sweaty hands and feet
Dry mouth and a hard time swallowing
Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
Forgetfulness and disorganization
Inability to focus
Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioural symptoms of stress include:
Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
More use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
Having more nervous behaviours, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Stress is a killer
All of the above symptoms are the result of stress which causes incredible damage to your mind and body. In some cases, stress can cause death. Slowing down reduces stress which reduces the damaging hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
If I feel myself losing my calmness, I quickly reset myself knowing that agitation and irritability will cause stress to raise its ugly head. Taking a few deep breaths helps to achieve this.
Thoughts for the week.
- Do you rush around multi-tasking and working hard to get everything done?
- Are you under pressure most of the day with too much to do?
- This week consider this and see if you can slow down in everything you do?
- When you jump in your car, take a breath and drive slower.
- When you are in a queue accept it and stay calm.
- It takes time but it is so worth it and surprisingly you achieve far more when you slow down.
Well that’s it for this week I will have more tips next week so until then have a wonderful weekend and stay calm.