Slowing Down, Big Time

When was the last time you really slowed down?

I don’t mean that you drove under the speed limit or that you got stuck behind someone you thought was too slow at the supermarket.

When was the last time you slowed down enough to take a breath?

When was the last time that you noticed something that you had never seen before despite the fact that you’ve been there dozens of times before?

When was the last time that you let yourself linger over a good dinner, a good cup of coffee or a good book?

When was the last time you didn’t add “and I’m in a rush” to the end of most sentences?

Better yet, when was the last time you didn’t think “If only they could hurry up!  Don’t they know I have to be somewhere?!”

Slow Down!

Studies have proven that rushing and hurrying around adds to our already high levels of stress.  Combine high stress levels with our bodies and bam!  Here comes Cortisol!

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol, simply put, is our body’s stress hormone.  The more stress you have, the more cortisol you’ll have in your body.

Not Good!

Cortisol is the hormone getting the bad rap for excess fat storage in the body

We’ve all seen the commercials.  Is that enough to scare you?

Rushing= Stress

There is no way around it.

But it gets worse.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands.  The adrenals sit on top of the kidneys.

(That’s why when you get nervous and the adrenaline kicks in that you need to go to the bathroom!)

Cortisol as the stress hormone is directly involved in our reaction to stress.  It increases blood pressure and blood sugar and also reduces your body’s immune responses.

Not only will high levels of cortisol act as a diuretic, but it will also inhibit (slow down or stop) bone formation.

Translated: High stress levels lead to high cortisol levels which lead to a lowered ability for the body to maintain and create new bone.

The chance for bone loss becomes maximized, also known as osteoporosis and it’s precursor, osteopenia.

Cortisol also decreases the learning mechanism.  Short term memories remain sharp but long term learning suffers because of the adrenaline-stress-cortisol connection.

This connection can also lead to Adrenal Exhaustion and eventually Adrenal Insufficiency.

Bad news folks, bad news.

The Silver Lining in this raincloud

Now that you know just how bad stress and rushing around  is, you can now consciously make changes to your lifestyle to help counteract this stress-cortisol combination.

Slow down!

There is so much to do and so much going on that we can all be afraid of missing something BUT if we don’t slow down, we are going to have some pretty un-fun consequences.

So stop and smell the flowers.

Have a long conversation with a good friend.

Take your time to eat dinner.

Exercise and move your body.

Still not sure what to do?

Ask me.  I can help you figure out how to counteract stress and all it’s nasty cousins.

Making Slowing Down An Easy Part of Your Day

  1. Give yourself extra time before you go to bed to lay out your clothes, prep for breakfast or anything else you find yourself stressing over in the morning.
  2. Just for the time being, drive the speed limit.  How hard do you find it to not speed up with everyone else?  How has it affected your stress levels?
  3. Take a deliberate, deep breath before answering the phone.  Don’t rush to answer it on the first ring, unless your job depends on it.
  4. Window-shop.  Try to rush less and look more.  You don’t need to buy anything but start just looking more.  You’ll be surprised at what you find.
  5. While running errands, park the car further away and walk the difference.  Same goes for riding the subway or bus, get off one stop before your destination and walk the rest.  Bonus for exercise too!
  6. Turn off the tv at least 20 minutes before bed.  Let your brain slow down before you crawl into bed.
  7. Here’s a hard one- put the fork down between bites when you eat.  Yes, one bite and then put the fork down.  Same goes for sandwiches, soups and drinks.  Then, chew your food.  Well.  10 bites minimum.  Really.
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