Why is slowing down important especially in big cities like London?
I remember the first time I came to London as a visitor. It was around 2007 for work and I remember having a smile on my face because of how fast people were moving. Especially in the underground, I would see people keeping on the right as the signs would prompt them so that those on the left could move faster. It felt quite robotic and mechanical but at the same time funny.
This is also how our mind thinks. I believe it is in Hinduism (I don’t remember where I’ve read that particular bit) that claims that our mind is like a monkey. It jumps from one branch to another without being able to stop.
As I am writing the blog post, it is 2018 and I am now a registered psychotherapist. Being able to see people for a consultation in London that I have my private practice in, I am becoming more accustomed to their ultra-fast way of life and what might be needed there.
So does someone need to slow down?
I think yes. I think our natural rhythm was never meant to be so fast. This is why mindfulness has become such a huge success and a trend here. People are struggling and are trying to get back to something that feels more natural. It is great that we can still have access to the parks in London and be able to have that instant access to a more natural way of life.
When we are at a constant fast pace, breathing becomes shallow and fast. This creates stress and anxiety as the stress hormones’ levels (adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisone) in our bloodstream are way up high. This can also contribute to us being a bit more negative than usual and on the brink of thinking about the destruction of earth as we know it…
Another thing that goes on when we can’t wind down is that we keep up a pace of expectations from ourselves which goes by largely unnoticed. We can’t utilise a slower rhythm to become more aware and more self-reflective. In this fast pace, our life goes by unexamined. This means that we will probably need several lives to find a meaning that is nourishing for our soul (which might be more than what we currently are able to see).
Another issue that we face in high inner speeds is how our assumptions are affecting us. They might go by unnoticed while they do tend to have a great impact in our lives. Have you been thinking about the following?
- “They only say that because they are arrogant pricks” (what is an arrogant prick for you btw?)
- “They just don’t care”
- “Noone likes me”
- “People are just awful”.
And this list can go on and on. But what the thoughts there have in common is an element of being an absolute opinion – everyone, all, people, no one, always and never are part of those inner assumptions.
What would you suggest for slowing down?
Mindfulness might be a good solution for you. Focusing on breath and trying to take a few full breaths a few times a day might be a good idea.
Meditation is also a spiritual practice that can slow things down. However, it might be connected with some religious backgrounds so you need to be clear if this is for you or not.
Body awareness systems can be helpful – tai chi or 5-rhythms dance might provide some space for winding down.
Therapy or coaching might also be able to slow you down by providing the necessary elements of self-care, self-expression, self-discovery, self-exploration and ultimately self-reflection. By slowing down our “human doing machines”, we might be able to bring more awareness and ultimately become more present in our lives.
Does any of these resonate with you? Other ways of slowing down might be available and I am open to hearing them in the comments!