You’ve heard the saying ‘more haste less speed’, but have you thought how it applies to your own life? Constant rushing around exacerbates cortisol in our bloodstream, a major contributing factor in stress-related diseases. Stress also inhibits production of dopamine, our feel-good brain chemical. The more we rush, the unhappier and less focused we become.
Psychologist Prof. Wiseman’s new book Quirkology reveals research that shows the average person now walks ten per cent faster than 20 years ago. We also sleep less, consume more processed foods, are more irritable and we have far more road accidents. But do we really have to keep exhausting ourselves in this way?
Many clinical studies agree that by hurrying a little less, we lower the risks of high blood pressure and obesity, have better relationships and live longer*.
Research by the Thai Medical Association found Mindful Meditation powerful in reducing cortisol while boosting positive hormones such as serotonin. Take a quiet pause before you leave for work, sit back, close your eyes and concentrate only on your natural breathing for 10 minutes. Let your thoughts drift by, and observe but don’t engage with them. The morning is also the perfect time to take some time with your skincare regime; ensure your skin is fully cleansed, and hydrated for the day ahead and protect it from harmful UV rays with a broad-factor sun cream.
Take your lunch-break outdoors, preferably in a park. Savor the tastes and texture of your food to ensure better digestion, and avoid overeating. Live in the moment and don’t allow petty irritations to get the better of you – slow down, regulate your oxygen intake and remember how calm you felt when you meditated this morning.
An hour before bedtime, turn off your cellphone, TV, computer and enjoy a soporific herbal tea (rather than a caffeinated drink) as you wind down for the evening. You can also help your body to relax before bed with your skincare regime; apply a rich night cream after cleansing, taking the time to massage it gently around the eyes, across the cheeks and upwards along the neck and jawline. Finally, add a drop of de-stressing lavender oil on your pillow and enjoy a good book and an early night.
* North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and Carl Honoré: “In Praise of Slowness”.