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In a stressful world, slowing down is a skill that can be learned and practiced in many aspects of our lives. We tend to rush through our days due to our growing demands and responsibilities. By learning to slow down, and becoming more mindful of our everyday experiences, we can increase our human experience, and become more present for the people and demands in our lives. Let’s take our lives off autopilot and learn to live in the moment…even if it is only for a minute.
How can you begin to practice the art of slowing down?
Do mundane activities mindfully….
When we do activities such as driving, we typically do so on autopilot. Often we get to our destinations and do not even know how we got there. Instead of driving on autopilot, we can take this opportunity to increase our ability to be more mindful, which in result causes us to take the time to slow down. By simply paying attention to your senses, you can bring awareness to where you are and what journey your mind is taking you on. Pay attention to what you are hearing and what you are feeling. How does the steering wheel feel? Where is your body making contact with the seat? Are you hot or are you feeling cold? You can apply this practice to many aspects of your life such as, showering, walking, washing your hands, brushing your teeth, and much more.
My challenge to you, is to do one activity mindfully for one minute…test it out and see how it feels to slow down.
Lower the reactivity during an argument…
When discussions escalate between partners, either one or both partners begin to experience both physical and emotional distress. Partners then begin to say things mindlessly and often find themselves saying things they do not mean and begin to say things that trigger the other partner. At this point, both partners tend to stop listening to each other and become entrenched in narratives surrounding who is right and who is wrong. We put up a defense and the discussion has now evolved into a full-fledged argument. When this occurs, it is often best to be able to take a step back and make an appointment to finish the discussion at a later time. I recommend my couples to not let more than 24 hours pass before continuing the discussion. During the break, I encourage the couple to take time to process the discussion and write down their thoughts. By taking a step back from an escalating argument, couples can respond in a more mindful, thoughtful way at a later time.
How can a therapist help?
As therapists, we can help you slow down on both an individual level and a couple level. The first step lies within awareness. By having the support system of a therapist, we can help you increase your awareness by applying various therapeutic techniques and communication skills to help you live a more fulfilling, happy life.
If you find that you and your partner are often entrenched in escalating arguments that tend to go nowhere, you can reach out to a local professional to help you learn and apply the skills you need to argue in a more productive way. We provide a safe, non-biased environment for couples and would love to help you and your partner heal and grow from your experiences to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.