For most of my life I've been a productivity focused person. I'm not sure if that comes from being competitive in school or from my desire to see my creative work finished and on my shelf. In any case, I've always been on the go. However, more and more I see the importance of slowing down to think things over.

Why Slowing Down is Important

Several months ago I decided to let go of having an email newsletter. I currently have the option to subscribe to my blog's RSS feed via email, but no more emails written individually by me. Why? Because I enjoy blogging way more than writing email newsletters and having an email newsletter feels redundant. And despite what business blogger gurus say, an email newsletter and freebie is not necessary to have a blog that makes an impact, especially if you're a story creator. Focusing on my blog allows me to slow down and be more aware of what's important when it comes to my writing.

After reading How You Learn is How You Live by Kay Peterson and David A. Kolb, I realized that I definitely have a reflective learning style, which isn't all that surprising since I'm an introvert with high sensitivity. I need time to let my mind wander over things. In fact, when I don't give myself time to reflect on things, I tend to get ahead of myself, causing more problems than if I would have taken a little extra time.

So I've made it a point to use a little bit of time every day to slow down, allowing my mind to process what's going on in my life. I'm still busy, but at least now, I'm directing my actions in a way that makes sense, instead of just running around trying to do stuff that may or may not be helpful.

And taking time to process life and emotions is important because when you don't self reflect, you can lose track of where you're going in life and what you want. There is the danger of getting out of touch with your personal needs.

One of the reasons why I've had to deal with persistent depression multiple times is because I didn't take time to sit down and process what was going on in my life, how that impacted my emotions, what my emotions were trying to tell me, and what actions I could take that would be helpful in making things better. Instead, I just kept going. And not processing life--not taking time to make sense of what is coming at you and into you--is like trying to live without a digestive system.

Using Journaling to Process Life

My number one way of slowing down is journaling. In the morning I take time to write what I'm grateful for and my one main task for the day. In the evening I write down 3 different emotions I felt during the day, what events stirred up those emotions, my reactions, and if my reactions were helpful or if I needed a better way of dealing with things. This allows me to slow down and see if I'm responding appropriately to my emotions instead of getting swept away by them or ignoring them.

Taking Quick Moments to Relax

Another way I like to slow down is cloud gazing. I do this mostly when I'm riding along with someone else in the car. Watching the clouds move and change shape takes my mind away from the rush of the day. Really, taking time to watch anything in nature from moving trees to flying birds and insects has the effect of slowing down time.

I also like listening to relaxing music. If I only have time to listen to one song, I refer to this list of the most relaxing songs ever.I am not one of those people who feels hyper after listening to Weightless by Marconi Union. Once the song is done, I'm about half asleep. If I want to listen to something creative, chill and upbeat, I really enjoy Lullatone.

Breathing exercises is another way I slow down when I don't have much time. A minute or two of deep breathing makes my body feel lighter and relaxed and my mind more clear. Currently I enjoy using the Tide app for Android for deep breathing prompts. If you're on the computer, Xhalr is a good website to try.

My last way of slowing down is to take a bath or shower. My mind loves to run free to the sound of running water. I get all kinds of ideas in the shower or while taking a bath, and it's a good way for me to make some extra time to reflect on things.

Adding more breathing room to my day makes me feel calm and in control, even when the day ahead is hectic.

Are you living a crazy busy life like me? How do you like to slow down?