Fixing the need for speed

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Fixing the Need for Speed

When I first heard that there was something called speed yoga, I knew culturally we are in a mess. Life has been speeding up for some time. Fast food is now an ingrained part of the North American diet. Jam packed schedules with people running from one thing to the next is the norm. Speed dating seems to be an acceptable answer for some people to find their soul mates. But speed yoga? Really?

Life in the 21st century comes with expectations that everything will be done as fast as possible – eating, communicating, working. We are so busy rushing from one activity to the next that time seems in short supply. Ask anyone how they are and they typically reply, “Busy!” But just because we can speed through life, doesn’t mean we should.

There is a backlash happening in response to our fast approach to life. It’s called the Slow Movement and refers to everything from slow food to slow travel to slow parenting and even slow sex. Some people have started to figure out that fast is taking a toll on us and the answer is to slow down. Carl HonorĂ©, author of In Praise of Slow, has been warning us about the cult of speed for almost a decade. In his latest book, The Slow Fix, he provides a pretty good case for getting over our addiction to speed at work and at home.

That doesn’t mean that we should all start moving at a snail’s pace. He suggests that you live at the right speed for your personal metronome.

What does that mean?

Slow doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some people can handle more speed than others. Some tasks can be meaningfully accomplished faster than others. So how do you know if you are moving through life at the right speed?

Ask yourself:

Are you present in the moment or are you thinking about what’s next?

Are you mindfully engaged in your current activity or are you busy multi-tasking?

Do you feel a sense of satisfaction or feel like there’s always more to do?

Are you enjoying life or just watching it rush by?

One of the reasons that we feel like there is not enough time, is because we are too busy thinking about what has happened or what is about to happen, rather than paying attention to what is happening right now.

One way you can start to slow down, is to…slow down. Stop before you begin an activity and take a few breaths. Ground yourself in the present moment. Direct your focus to the task at hand. When your inner critic starts grumbling about needing to speed up or distracting you with the next thing on your to-do list, take it as a sign that you have too much on your plate.

Start small. Remove one commitment. Sit at the dinner table to eat. Unplug from technology for a bit. Say no more often. Listen rather than talk.

Take baby steps. You don’t have to be in a hurry to slow down.

Laurel Vespi is a certified life coach and motivational speaker.

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