Slow down to wake up

Preliminary mindfulness studies in schools suggest a positive correlation between slowing down (to take a few breaths at the sound of a class bell rather than rushing to the next class, for example) and the students’ ability to reduce stress and improve focus.

When I incorporated meditation into a college course I taught, my students were far more focused on the lessons and on our conversations and, over time, far less likely to be distracted by their phones.

We are all students, and we can all benefit from a similar exercise.

One entry point is to determine your “class bells.”

Over the course of a week, make a list of everything that caused you to go into a panic or into rush mode. Note anything and everything, no matter how seemingly trivial. It could be a stop light you always hit on the way to work or the sound of a new email coming in.

From there, determine how you can use those moments as personal triggers to slow down, even if only to take a few deep breaths before proceeding.

The “slow down to wake up” mindset is a practice. Keep at it until it forms into a habit and, at the least, you’ll likely experience a reduction in stress both in those previously stressful moments and throughout the day.

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