ADRENALINE CAUSES PHYSICAL changes, some
of which are to make you capable of moving quickly and to motivate
you to move quickly. Moving fast goes with anxiety. Fast, jerky
movements are one of the things adrenaline produces. But here's
another feedback loop. You can actually make yourself feel more
nervous by moving quickly. You see and feel how you're moving
and what the tension in your muscles feels like and it has a
psychological effect on you.
So when you feel tense, or when you want
to feel more relaxed, try moving deliberately slowly and calmly.
It tends to make you feel calmer and more confident, sometimes
dramatically so. I have noticed myself many times doing something
quickly when I have no reason to be moving that fast. It is merely
a habit. I might be taking a walk and suddenly I notice I'm marching
along at a furious pace, especially if I'm feeling tense. When
I deliberately slow down, it has an immediate and noticeable
effect on my state of mind.
I sometimes find myself driving quickly
or doing the dishes as quickly and efficiently as I can
even walking down the hall from the living room to the bedroom
like the house is on fire. When I notice it and consciously slow
down I'm often surprised at how much calmer it makes me feel.
The surprising thing is that sometimes
when you move slower, the task gets done almost as quickly. Which
means your striving for efficiency isn't doing any good and actually
does harm because it creates an unhealthy feeling of pressure.
This is such a simple method. All it requires
is for you to notice yourself hurrying and change your speed
to something slower, calmer, and more deliberate.
A related principle kind of an assistant
principle is to give yourself extra time. If it
takes twenty minutes to drive to work, give yourself half an
hour and take your time. Go to bed a little earlier if you have
to, and get up a little earlier. It doesn't take much extra time
to give you a feeling of calm control. The night before you may
need to watch a little less television, but watching television
tends to increase feelings of tension anyway, so that's a good
Do the dishes or yard work while deliberately
avoiding efficiency. We forget how efficient we try to
be. Go at your own pace and do only one thing (or less) at a
time. It is very calming.
This method goes against the grain of modern
Western culture. You don't have to make this your lifetime modus
operandi, but try it once in awhile on a task. Try this method
on a different task until you've tried them all. You'll discover
something about how you stress yourself out. You'll find out
you normally eat faster than you really want to, you try to do
several things at once, you try to be efficient with your time,
and you try to cram as much into your day as you can and you
wonder why you feel stressed!?
It's not your fault. It's the culture we
live in and the times we live in. But that doesn't mean you can't
do anything about it. You sure can. Consider this technique as
a kind of training. Think of it as a one-day vacation or even
a one-hour vacation and deliberately get less done and take your
sweet time doing whatever you're doing. It is surprisingly relaxing.
Notice when you are moving quickly and
slow your speed. It's a technique you can use just about any
time, and it's easy.
Deliberately move slower and
less efficiency once in awhile.