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How To Slow Down: 5 Relaxing Tips To Fight Stress

Updated on September 10, 2013

Don't Hurry, Be Happy! How to Slow Down Your Life!

You know that too much stress is bad for you, but do you know how to slow down? Somehow slowing down seems to scare of people. What about you? Are you always in some sort of hurry? Are you stressing out to meet your deadline(s)? Do you think that a "running the marathon" life style will make you more productive and help you accomplish things better? I know I used to think like that! And it was a waste of time!

Living in a fast way does NOT help you achieve what you really want! If your pace of life looks like a car on the racing circuit, perhaps it's a good idea to slow down!

Slowing down improves the quality of your life and makes you more productive. People who maintain a relaxed life style are healthier and happier than those who are always rushing around. If you can't slow down your mind you might be missing out on what really matters in life. There are plenty of reasons to start living slower! The only problem is that a lot of people have no clue on how to slow down, but it doesn't need to be so difficult. I picked my top 5 personal tips to help you relax better. They work for me and I'm sure you will benefit from them too!

On this photo starring: my sweet little dog Kitty who has no clue what stress looks like!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yep, that's me!)

Want to read more about slowing down your life? - Check out this great book!

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed
The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed

This excellent book teaches you exactly why so called 'quick fixes' don't work. A book about problem solving you've never heard of before! It works in almost all areas of your life, no matter whether it's personal or job related. By taking time you will gain time. And you feel more relaxed during the process! Leading to excellent results!

 

Poll: Are you stressed out right now?

Do you know how to slow down? Photo Credits: wikimedia.org
Do you know how to slow down? Photo Credits: wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Do you know how to slow down?

See results

Slow Down Tip 1: Walk slower

Boomer was never in a hurry! He taught me to walk slower!
Boomer was never in a hurry! He taught me to walk slower!

You should have seen me 20 years ago. I was running through life like a total idiot! Even in my spare time I always walked fast, looking like a person that was in a hurry to catch the last train home. I felt stressed out most of the time, but I thought that was normal and helping me to perform better. Even after I ruptured the ligaments in my right knee I still tried to walk as fast as I could. Leading to tons of frustration, because I couldn't "run". When my knee was healed I continued my crazy life style. And this went on for many years in a row.

Until a new dog came into my life. Boomer was his name. He was the best dog I ever had! He was also a big challenge for me, because Boomer was NEVER in a hurry. Boomer always walked terribly slow. He took his time for everything! In the beginning this was driving me nuts, but I had no choice but to adjust my walking pace for him. After a while I even started to enjoy it. Not only did I enjoy my time with Boomer, I also felt better in general. For the first time in my adult life I felt more relaxed and less tired! I discovered that this new way of walking helped me think clearer! I became more productive too!

I'm so grateful Boomer came into my life. He was my Angel and taught me how to slow down!

Nowadays I am disabled and use a walker. I have no other choice than to walk slow. I don't advice you to walk as slow as I do, but I recommend you to start walking slower. There is really no need to run!

This is what happens when you slow down your way of walking:

  • You will enjoy every step you take
  • Because of that you will feel happier and more relaxed
  • Happiness and relaxation lead to an empty mind which results in being more productive
  • You will have more energy and feel less pressure on your shoulders

Slow down!

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you

(John de Paola)

Slow Down Tip 2: What if.... so what! - Push the NO Button...

One of the reasons I felt stressed out was the fact that I worried all the time. I was working as a producer for live television in the Netherlands and the pressure was extremely high. I took my job very serious and wanted to deliver quality. Thoughts like: "What if I can't make it in time", "what if I lose my job if I'm not good enough", etc. were going through my mind a lot. Failing was not an option, I had to be "Mrs. Perfect" 24/7. No need to say that my performances were not as perfect as I wanted them to be...

I persevered untill I was burned out and went to see a counselor. This was a life changing experience! He taught me to set limits and say 'No'. How scary! I was terrified... The counselor asked me: "What is the worst thing that can happen?" after I bombarded him again with my famous: 'what if...' questions... I told him I could lose my job! So he continued asking what the worst thing that could happen thing was if I indeed lost my job... I fell into deep silence.... I couldn't answer his question. Would it mean the end of the world? No! Would I stay jobless forever? Most probably not!

Your how to slow down strategy:

Become aware of your "what if..." thoughts, write them down. For example: "What if I get fat again", "what if my partner doesn't love me anymore", "what if my boss fires me", etc. Now write down what could possibly happen if you for example get fat again or if you get fired... and so on... what if you're jobless... what if you'll never find a job again...

Make a fist. Speak out loud what your worst nightmare is and say "So what!" Shout it out loud! And when you're finished let it go! You'll soon discover that the world doesn't end if your "what if" nightmare would become a reality. Believe in yourself that you can handle whatever situation!

Dammit Doll Classic, 12 Inch, Random Color
Dammit Doll Classic, 12 Inch, Random Color

A great tool I use is this 'Dammit Doll'. It doesn't talk or so but it's perfect to smash on the floor, to squeeze hard, to yell at, to talk to, etc. You name it and I do it.

I've also given this doll to friends who are always stressed out and they really love it. It helps you relief stress and makes you laugh at the same time. I use this doll for my 'What if, so what' strategy, I look at the doll and shout out loud: "What if I can't make the deadline" and of course the doll doesn't say anything, so then I shout: "So what" and beat it to the wall or so... Whatever helps me at that moment.

Squeezing only is fine to when you're at work and others can hear you. But I'm sure your collegues will love this doll too and so does your boss! before you know you and your collegues have your daily shout, squeeze, smash, beat, etc. session with this Dammit Doll. Big fun and it leads to a much better working atmosphere! Stress relief also means you'll be much more productive and can accomplish a lot more!

 
Talking Stress Ball Toy - Stay Positive Guy
Talking Stress Ball Toy - Stay Positive Guy

Another great way to support you to stay positive whatever happens is this Talking Stress Ball. I bought it and when I need a positive boost I squeeze it to hear him say: "Captain Smiley here. Stay positive. Don't stress, and have a super smiley day! Yay!"

It is so funny! It makes you laugh out loud I promise! My 'Captain Smiley' lifts me up when I feel stressed and/or a bit down. He is a member of my 'desk friends' together with the 'No Button' and the 'Dammit Doll', the three of them make such a cute family!

 
Fruits and Vegetables: great stress fighters!
Fruits and Vegetables: great stress fighters!

Did you know that vitamin C is a great stress fighter? Scientists agree about it: An experiment at the Alabama University in the United States proves this: the researchers tested it on rats. The rats were given 200 Mg vitamin C 2 times a day and ques what: the secretion of the so called 'Stress Hormones' almost stopped!

They became 'Zen Rats' (joking!)

Cook Time

Prep Time: Maximum 1 minute

Total Time: Maximum 1 minute

Serves: 1 relaxed human being/day

Ingredients

  • 1000 Mg of Vitamin C
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Vegetables
  • Fresh Juices

Instructions

  1. Humans need more Vitamin C than rats do. You need at least 1000 Milligrams of it per person per day. Best way to fulfill your "C-needs" is through food. Fruits and vegetables contain high doses of it. You can drink Orange Juice or other fruity juices, take at least 3 large glasses per day.
  2. If you don't like fruits or veggies you can take a Vitamin C tablet instead.
  3. If you're a smoker you need 4000 Mg of Vitamin C a day!
Cast your vote for Slow Down Recipe!

Slow Down Tip 3: Practize Laughing Meditation

Many years ago I was introduced to a new phenomena called "Laughing Meditation" and I have practiced it ever since. I was at a seminar where there were many workshops and the Laughing Meditation was one of them. I have always been curious to find out about new things so I attended. At the beginning I was a bit shy, and didn't know what to expect. The teacher was such a great person, that my uncertainty soon melted away and was replaced by enthusiasm!

How laughing meditation works

You can practice this meditation in the comfort of your own home. Do it in the morning after waking up for a cheerful start of your day. Settle down, either on the floor, in a chair or on a pillow, whatever feels good is okay. Now start giggling a little bit. Do it, even when you don't feel like it at all! Giggle and swing your body along with the giggles. Close your eyes and boost your giggles to laughter, start laughing from your belly and spread the laughter throughout your entire body.

Visualize the laughing vibes flowing through your body. Your whole body is laughing! Go laugh louder and shout out all that is bothering you. Like this: "I had an argument with my boss yesterday", end with a huge laughing serenade.

Do this with all misery that is going on in your life. Laugh from the belly, clap your hands, jump, dance, be like a child again! Do this for 20 minutes in a row. Exchange loud laughter's with less noisy ones and vice versa. End the laughing meditation with 5-10 deep breathes and feel the instant peace and stress relief! Enjoy the moment. You're ready to continue every days business!

Laughing Meditation is the same as Laughter Yoga. This video is a live demonstration of people doing it, I love it, I couldn't stop laughing while watching. Enjoy!

Laughing Spice Mice make you smile!
Laughing Spice Mice make you smile!

Slow Down Tip 4: Smile at the world

Smiling is different from loud laughter's, but the result is the same. Laughter is loud and expressive, smiling is more peaceful, you focus full attention. Set it as your daily intention to smile a lot, everyday, smile at people you know, at strangers, at a child, a beautiful tree, the food you prepare, your family... There is an abundance of things and people to smile at. Do this even when you feel bad. Force a smile and with a little practice it will become your natural state of being.

Smiling slows you down, it relaxes your mind and body, which relieves stress big time. I love smiling, no matter how I feel. It always lifts me up. I simply smile without expectations, most of the times people smile back at me.

Photo: My spice mouse, if I squeeze his belly he starts laughing! He always sits on top of my PC monitor

Slow Down Tip 5: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

A great way to learn how to slow down is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT works like Acupuncture but without needles. Instead of needles you use your fingers. You tap the acupuncture meridians and repeat affirmations, positive short statements. While tapping you release stress and negative emotions that block you from being happy, relaxed, balanced, etc.

EFT is easy and painless, it only takes a few minutes of your time and brings great results. I've been tapping for many years and it helped me tremendously! You don't need expensive therapy sessions, you don't need a therapist to learn EFT. Once you know the technique it is as easy as 1,2,3! The books and DVD below teach you the technique of EFT. They are all great resources I highly recommend. Buying one or more of them are the only expenses ever you have to make. After that it's all free. And the products below are really cheap, so don't worry!

The Tapping Solution
The Tapping Solution

If you don't like books maybe this great DVD is the best choice for you!

 

I love to hear from you, your feedback, questions, tips, experiences, struggles, or what is important to you. Share it all. Stay respectful. No HTML allowed. No spamming of links (if you have a related Lens contact me and I'll be happy to see if I have room to add it to my related Lenses)

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    • darkflowers profile image
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      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @aesta1: It works great! Enjoy!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love laughing meditation. I will surely add this to my slowing down strategy.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Stephanie36: Thanks a lot Stephanie, wishing you a relaxed day!

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      These are some great tips for decreasing stress!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @ValerieJoy: Hi Valerie! Thank you for your kind comment! You have to plan EFT in your daily schedule at a set time. It only takes 5-10 minutes and the reward is huge :) Good luck!

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a very nice lens. I learned EFT about 5 years ago and it really does work when I use. The challenge I have is to remember to stop and take time to actually do EFT.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @TanoCalvenoa: I can sure recommend it to you TanoCalvenoa! It works fantastic!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I like the info about EFT. I've heard of it but didn't really know anything about it. Looks interesting and worth trying.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @jennabeezer: Thank you Jenna! "The worst thing that can happen" scenario brings you back to reality and makes you realize it is not all so bad as it looks like when you're stressed out. You had a great boss back then!

    • profile image

      jennabeezer 4 years ago

      Very nice lens. I remember being in a panic about something one day at work (my first REAL job), and my boss sort of brought me back to reality by saying, "What will they do? Take away your birthday?" That whole "what's the worst that could happen?" idea has stayed with me and helped a lot over the years.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 4 years ago from Canada

      I lead a slow life style, but I have to show this to my step-daughter, and she can tell her husband about it, as he is the one who stresses her out by wanting everything done NOW, including simple things, like wanting the kitchen cleaned up immediately after eating. He actually picked a fight 3 years ago on Xmas Day, because one pot was missed, because she got distracted by the grand children.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @steadytracker lm: Playing music is also a great way to relax, thank you for sharing your way to relief stress, a very good one!

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 4 years ago

      I had not played an instrument since middle school. But I took a piece of advice from a friend and bought a guitar. An hour a day of playing helps me to reduce my stress levels.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @WriterJanis2: A lot of people will recognize this Janis, I wish you a relaxed day! Take a deep breath and smile ;-) Thanks for your comment and your like!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I really do need to slow down more.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @rakesarm: Music is a great tool for relaxation, I'm glad that works great for you!

    • profile image

      rakesarm 4 years ago

      I listen to music It used to release my stress, Now that the stress is high for me, I listen to more music. It soothes down my stress.

      Cheers everyone!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Elsie Hagley: Even when you lead a busy life it's important to slow down, a few minutes a day is enough. It doesn't mean you work less hard, it means your mindset is more relaxed :) You can be very happy and relaxed and still have a lot work to do. I'm happy that you are happy, enjoy your farm and thank you for your kind words!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Great article, we all need to learn to slow down, even in my seventies I still haven't learnt, my be when I retire it will happen, that's being a farmers wife, there's always something that needs doing.

      But I am happy that's the main thing.

      Thanks for sharing some great tips with us.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Coffee-Break: Thank you so much! The laughing yoga video is great indeed, and laughing is so healthy!

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      This is a great lens, as all of your lenses, and nicely written.

      I loved the the laughing yoga video, and by the end of it I couldn't stop laughing too.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @SusanDeppner: Dogs can be Angels too :) I Loved him a lot!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love that your dog slowed you down. Good dog! :)

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @SavioC: Thank you for your kind words! EFT is really fantastic! It is easy and doesn't take much of your time. You can even use it while using the bathroom ;-) I'm happy to hear you found my tips helpful! I wish you a happy and relaxed life!

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      I am quite intrigued by EFT and I want to check it out. Sounds interesting. I liked your lens as there are times when I do get all pumped up when I know I should relax. Thank you for sharing this as I found it very helpful.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @fleecemeister: Thank you for your kind words! And I agree, walking is a great way to clear the clutter of the brain!

    • fleecemeister profile image

      fleecemeister 4 years ago

      Some excellent tips here. I always find walking helps. It gives me time to think things through and clear my mind.