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Quality vs. Quantity: How Slowing Down Can Transform Your Life - by Tad Lusk, LPC

Quality vs. Quantity: How Slowing Down Can Transform Your Life - by Tad Lusk, LPC

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Bueller

Yes, I just quoted Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I’ll explain.

One of the reasons so many people–especially busy, high-achieving people–experience so much stress is the frantic pace they set. With so many obligations, places to be, things to do, it can feel like every day is an exhausting race with way too many hurdles. It forces people to always be getting ready for the next hurdle, cramming as much as possible into tighter timeframes and deadlines to be as productive as possible. 

For many, this way of life has become a self-defeating cycle. When we seek fulfillment through accomplishments, status or similar measures, we try to do as much as possible to fill the need, but never quite “get there.” We feel exhausted and defeated, and the whole cycle starts again.

You’ve probably experienced firsthand how all this rushing can be such a huge source of stress. Learning how to slow down sometimes becomes essential to recovering and truly relishing where you are.

A lot of us live life as if it’s all about quantity: ‘how much can I make, how much can I do, how many things can I acquire?’ However, if you want to get a better handle on your stress, it’s so important not to lose sight of quality.

Slowing down and savoring simple pleasures is about being more present, in order to step out of stressful thinking and actually enjoy a better quality of life, moment to moment.

Life after all, is the present moment. That’s all it ever is, ever has been, or ever will be. Anything you experienced in the past was “now” when you were experiencing it. Anything you will experience in the future will be “now” when it comes.

And even though I always thought Ferris comes across as just a little too smug and self-satisfied in that movie–he’s right: if you go through life always thinking ahead or rushing to the next thing and you don’t “stop to take a look around once in awhile,” you could miss your life altogether.

When it comes to “slowing down” though, this is usually where high-achievers experience some inner resistance, doubt, reluctance: ‘How can I possibly slow down when I’m barely keeping up as it is?’ A lot of this can stem from faulty assumptions.

For now though, I’ll just encourage you to trust and try it for yourself. Remind yourself that life is about a balance of quantity and quality.

When you’re able to create more “space” in your day and savor simple things, you’re making great use of what’s already at your disposal to counteract stress, worry and negativity. You’ll find yourself enjoying more moments of clarity. You’ll be in a better mood. Then, when you do face outside stressors, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind to handle them.

One day last summer, I finished a meeting a bit earlier than expected. I was getting ready to race home and use that extra time to my advantage to get more done. But I drove by a rose garden that has long been one of my favorite places. I decided to pull over and spend about 15 or 20 minutes just strolling through the garden. I felt the sun on my face, the grass under my feet, took in the heavenly scents and vivid colors. I literally ‘stopped and smelled the roses.’

And it was the best thing I did that day. I left feeling light, happy, calm, renewed, ready to carry on with the rest of my day in a relaxed state of mind. 15 or 20 minutes? Such a short amount of time, but I gained so much. And I didn’t lose any productivity that day.

In fact, I don’t even remember what the other stuff was that seemed so important for me to rush into that day. But I certainly remember that rose garden.

Quality of life.

Think About It… 

  • What doubts or resistance do you experience when you think about “slowing down?”
  • What might be some advantages to slowing down a bit?
Share your thoughts in the comments!

Try It: 

  • Savor a meal: putting away all distractions (like electronics), savor the flavors, textures, smells, temperatures, and colors of your food, one slow bite at a time. Most of us are guilty of at least sometimes wolfing down a meal unconsciously, or while doing something else, and not even noticing what we’re eating. Instead, be aware of each bite. You’ll almost certainly enjoy your meal more. Plus you’ll probably eat less because your body has a chance to register feeling full when you slow down your eating. Win-win.
  • Connect with nature: go somewhere like a park, a garden, or even a forest, mountain, trail, or beach if you can get out of the city, and admire the beauty of nature. Savor the warm sun on your face, a cool breeze, the deep green of the grass or trees, the rhythmic crashing of waves, the trickling of water. Humans spent eons closely connected with nature, and we still crave this connection on a deep level. Allowing yourself to absorb someplace natural–even just a small park on your lunch break–can be incredibly soothing.
  • Stare at the clouds: remember when you were a kid and you would look up at the clouds drifting by, seeing the billows and wisps morph into animals, faces, and shapes? Do it again! Even a minute or two of this can make anything stressing you out completely disappear for the moment.
  • Watch the sun set (or rise). Every time I’ve ever been blessed to watch the sun go down (or come up, on those rare occasions when I’m up that early!) it has always been a peaceful, calming–even awe-inspiring–experience. Basically, the opposite of stressful. This incredible beauty takes place twice daily, and it’s completely free. Why miss it?
  • Go to a quiet place and “listen” to the silence. If your mind becomes noisy or distracted, just keep bringing your awareness back to the quiet around you and within you as your mind gradually settles.
If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll love my new eBook: 
 

The Stress Solution for High Achievers, Perfectionists and Busy People: Surprisingly Simple Steps to Calm Your Mind. 

It’s full of practical, transformative skills you can use every day, right away, to conquer stress and enjoy peace & calm like you never have before. Check it out HERE!