8 Reasons To Slooow Down
By Janis Graham
Winding down the pace of your life just a tad can make you happier and
healthier. Here's how!
The Hurried Woman Syndrome. The good news: If you can learn to rush just a
little bit less, studies show that you'll lower your risk for high blood
pressure, have better relationships, and live longer. And no, you don't have to
overhaul your schedule. "Slowing down just a few moments a day can be
beneficial to your health," says Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., coauthor of
Stress Free for Good. Below, the sweet rewards of downshifting — and
simple ways to take it slow.
1. Slow down to lose weight.
One surprising source of stubborn extra pounds: eating on the fly. Gobbling
your food doesn't give your stomach the 20 minutes it needs to signal your
brain that it's full, making it easy to unknowingly cram in more calories than
you need. What's more, postponing lunch or dinner to finish that one last thing
slows calorie burn, according to a British study: If your body can't predict
the timing of its next meal, it's more likely to store calories as fat as
protection against starvation.
How to take it slow: Instead of wolfing down a meal
mindlessly while you're watching TV or catching up on e-mail, turn off the
technology and really chew each mouthful mindfully, paying close attention to
the flavors and textures, suggests Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of 10
Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet. You'll learn to appreciate that eating
is feeding your body and spirit. "And when you don't eat on autopilot, you
naturally eat a little less," says Somer. Think about it: If you realize
you're full before taking those final few bites and drop your fork, you may cut
out as many as 100 calories a day — which is all it takes to drop 10 pounds in
a year. So give yourself at least 20 minutes to enjoy a meal.
2. Slow down to be a better mom.
It's not easy to truly connect with your kids when there are toys to pick
up, meals to prepare, and endless other chores to get done around the house.
But the less time you spend doing things with your children when they're young,
the greater the odds that you'll run into family conflict — quarreling
frequently about curfews, smoking, alcohol use — when they hit adolescence,
according to a study from the Netherlands.
How to take it slow: You don't necessarily need more time
with your kids; you simply need to use the time you do have a little
differently — namely, by focusing your full attention on the little moments.
For instance, instead of assembling lunchboxes at the kitchen counter while
your children eat breakfast, sit at the table with them and chat for a few
minutes while sipping your coffee. Or stop folding laundry for five minutes and
help build a Lego castle. These short bursts of shared do-nothing time really
count: They let children know they're valued and loved and keep you in touch
with the fulfilling joys of motherhood — plus, they pave the way for better
communication when your kids hit their turbulent teens.