Turtle Power, Part 2: 5 Ways to Slow Down and Be Happier

Last week we pointed out the 5 best reasons to aim for a slower pace of life. But slowing down is very easy to talk about. You may even be completely convinced of its benefits. But implementing it into your life is quite another thing.

This week, in part two of this post, we’ll get to some of the nuts and bolts of adopting a slower-paced lifestyle.

Take a day
First, you need to recognize the value of your own time. It can help to regularly take a day which in your primary focus is not to work, worry, or play any kind of role–but simply to exist.

Set aside a day off each week. On this day, try to avoid work of any kind, travel, social media, or consumerism. We call it a day of rest, and the benefits are both long and short-term.

We try to follow our own advice in our business practice, closing up shop every Sunday to ensure our employees have the opportunity to renew themselves and the important connections in their lives. We want the same for our clients, and hope that being closed one day a week will make it just a little easier to do the same.

Take some advice from Faith Hill: Just breathe! (Now that song is in your head! You’re welcome!)
When you wake up in the morning, take a few moments to breathe in and out, slowly and deliberately. Ease into it. As you go, take deeper and deeper breaths. Push away your thoughts about what will be happening today and focus on the white noise of your own breath, the feeling of the light that is your breath entering you and renewing you.

If you have a spiritual or religious tradition, this is the perfect thing to pair with whatever prayer or meditation ritual you may like to incorporate into your routine. In this way, you connect both with your own life, and with its source.

Relax!
Relaxation is more just an activity to incorporate into your routine, (though it definitely should be that as well).

Most people don’t realize that relaxation is a principle of work. The ability to relax is essential for any kind of worthy activity.

Senior woman focused with eyes closed while playing music outdoo
Relaxation is a principle of work. It takes effort to get started, but mastery comes after you stop straining, and start flowing.

Of course, you have to get your game face on and take on whatever task lies ahead. That’s the work part. But once you have your momentum going, there comes a point when you can stop trying so hard and let yourself get into a flow. You can’t get into that flow if you’re rushed.

Ever wonder why you can get through a whole day at work and feel like so little got done? Constant interruptions like meetings, phone calls, birthday cake in the break room–these all stop your flow and make it necessary to start and re-start your work throughout the day.

The late Ray Bradbury put it well when he said “Life is meant to be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at other times move forward with it.” It’s in this state that truly great work, even art, can begin to flourish.

Recognize that civilization is overrated
We’ve inherited a lot from our parents and our ancestors, good and bad. It can help to notice what came from those who have gone before, and how they’ve influenced us without realizing it. The American propensity for overwork goes way back to the Roman empire, and probably even further.

But does that go-go mindset really make sense for you, now? By that logic, pushing your car’s engine to the red line at all times should make it run better, right? Wrong! That’s a good way to prematurely end the engine. So it goes with your life.

Yes, work. But over-work could be shortening your life and siphoning your joy. It may be time to question things it’s never occured to you to question before.

So many other factors come crowding in for the present, as well: the expectations of others, the expectations others put on us.

  • Do you really have to do this or that?
  • Is this or that commitment really important to you?

The first step in taking control of your own time is to recognize that it’s yours. Take it!

Realize that Mom was right …
Chew your food! This may seem like a little thing, but in this fast-food world, this little thing can make a big difference in your life. The speed at which you eat impacts how much you eat in any given sitting and how much you enjoy your meals.

Sunrise
In Tuscany, meals are meant to be cooked and enjoyed in the best way possible: slowly. Isn’t there something to be learned there?

And given that the number of meals you’ll eat in your life are numbered, isn’t it worth making sure each one of them counts?

On a related note, if you feel like fast food is threatening to dominate your diet, try our next suggestion.

Become your own personal assistant
This can apply to planning your meals or just your life in general. While we generally associate planning our lives with a fast-paced life-style, the opposite can be true if you know how to handle it. Planning your life gives you the chance to build lots of gaps between tasks and breaks where you can work them in. Many people find that for things like massage, exercise, focused relaxation, and other forms of self-care, planning is the only way to go.

Imagine how you would feel if, yes, you had your day mapped out for you, and that you had plenty of time for every task?

You may not be able to afford a personal assistant, but a little extra time spent planning your week, say, on Sunday nights in front of Netflix, could help you hit the breaks and slow down.

Be well.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can find him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

Advertisements

Turtle Power, Part One: 5 Reasons Slow is Better

Pretty businesswoman experiencing road rage
Is faster really better? How many times have you been aggressively passed on the highway by someone who just has to go faster than you, only to look over and see them next to you at the next traffic light?

This post is part I in a two-part series. Follow our blog to catch the next installment!

Slow down! Sure, you could probably stand to break your lead foot habit. But slow is more than just a mode or an easier-to-catch version of speed. It can be the way you live your life–a philosophy that can absorb you and enrich your life in ways you may never have considered.

Here are GLM, we try to embrace this way of thinking in everything we do. Of course, we’re prompt and we stick to our schedule, but the way we structure that schedule is informed by this idea: slow is better.

For example, some massage clinics only leave a five minute gap between appointments in which the practitioner is supposed to be able to change the sheets, run to the restroom, take a deep breath, greet their next client, and start the next session.

We actually extend that 5 or 10 minute gap to 30 minutes. We do this not just for the practitioners (though we’re thinking of them, for sure), but for our clients as well. If the clinic becomes a revolving door of clients with therapists striding up and down the hallway in a rush to get the next person on the table, that doesn’t create a relaxing environment for anyone.

Further, we believe stress can actually be contagious. If a therapist is hungry, exhausted, rushed, flustered, and stretched to her limit, is it really likely that some of those feelings won’t spread to the client through the touch therapy?

If your massage practitioner doesn’t have a chance to slow down and take time for self-care, and to make sure the job is done right, we will never be capable of giving the kind of massage you deserve and need.

Think for a moment about how that same principle might be expressing itself in your own life.

No, really.

Stop skimming this at light-speed for a second, close your eyes, and think about how rushing might be harming your life. Just a second or two is enough, but take all the time you need.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

What did you come up with? Write your answer down somewhere.

Answering some of these questions might help:

How could your rushing around and “busy-ness” be effecting your spouse/partner? Your children? Your co-workers and subordinates? Do you really like living life at high speed, or do you just have problems with procrastination? Is being busy too much a part of your self-image and sense of worth? It might be time to questions those ideas.

Let it go
Is being busy a part of your self-image and sense of worth? It might be time to questions that.

If you’re still not convinced that slow is better, we have at least five reasons you should consider lifting your foot from the gas pedal of your life.

Greater awareness
When you’re slow, you’re present in the moment. You’re experiencing the precious time of your life as it passes irretrievably into the future. You’re living your life as it was meant to be lived.

How much time do you have left on earth, anyway? You have no way of knowing for sure. Speeding through your life may help you believe the lie that you’re packing a lot in, but are you really tasting it? Do you appreciate how fragile your life is, and how quickly it’s passing?

The span of your life is like an ice cream cone on a hot day: you better savor it, because it won’t last forever.

Slow is cheaper!
Moving, thinking, living at high speed comes with a high cost. In your rush to get things done, you may find that you all-too-easily stay busy while not actually getting much done at all. While checking to see how fast you’re moving, you may not be noticing in which direction you’re going.

Ever hear the expression “Haste makes waste?” Old proverbs like that get passed along because they’re catchy, sure, but also because they’re true. Have you really saved time rushing out the door in the morning at top speed if you forgot something important and had to go back for it?

Moving fast, isn’t
Don’t believe me? How many times have you been aggressively passed on the highway by someone who just has to go faster than you, only to look over and see them next to you at the next traffic light?

For most things in life, you’re not earning any extra points for speed. So why not take your time?

If a job’s worth doing…
It’s worth doing right, which means taking the time it takes to do a task with your full attention. Here’s a mind blower: you know that multitasking thing you’ve heard so much about in job descriptions? It doesn’t exist. Human beings aren’t capable of it.

You can do one thing–ONE–at any given time, and no more. You may be able to shift between things rapidly, but only one will ever have your total focus in the moment. Remember that the next time you’re playing with your kids, or when you get behind the wheel of a car.

Where you place your focus and attention truly matters.

Your physical health
Ongoing stress can tax your body in ways you don’t realize. It increases the risk of heart disease and several kinds of cancer, not to mention high blood pressure and hypertension. Slowing down puts you in tune with your body’s natural rhythms and pace.

While vigorous exercise is important, consider the exercise methods that also bring outstanding health benefits, but which are much slower by nature.

Handsome young man resting after workout in gym
Working the free weights–slowly and steadily–increases muscle control and endurance.

Yoga and tai chi are great examples of this kind of exercise. But this approach isn’t limited to eastern traditions and practices. Even good-old-fashioned weightlifting has benefits when you decide to slow down your reps and focus on control. Your mind can focus more intently on each motion of your body as you go through your routine. If possible, consult with a trainer for a session or two. You might find that your form is much worse than you ever thought!

Also, slow-lifting increases your muscle endurance, de-emphasizing the explosive motion and training your muscles to endure great weight for longer periods of time.

Are you convinced yet? If you’re not sure where to begin, that’s understandable. In the next part of this series, we’ll address the nuts and bolts of throttling down your life and living with more intent and focus.

Tom Gunn is the director of marketing and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. You can find him online at http://www.tgunnwriter.com.

Get Free From Abdominal Pain: A Primer on Visceral Manipulation

The following is a guest post by one of our founders and practitioners, Amy Gunn, LMP. To learn more about her, please see our previous blog post or our website.

Kylee_Amy88
Amy Gunn, LMP, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my personal experience with endo. I also wanted to tell you about what a massage technique that changed everything for me–and which could change everything for you if you suffer from any kind of chronic abdominal pain.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis after suffering years of severe chronic abdominal, hip, and back pain. I was also unable to conceive. While abdominal surgery and hormone-altering injections helped with my pain, the benefits didn’t last.

I started to use my knowledge of massage to create a treatment plan for myself. I directed others as they performed bodywork on me. After just a few of these treatments, I had the first pain-free period of my life. I continued these weekly sessions for a year, at which point I was able to conceive naturally and carry a child full-term.

While I can’t promise an identical outcome for everyone who receives these treatments, I’ve made it my mission to offer an alternative to others with chronic pelvic pain. I’ve seen amazing results. I love helping my clients find the relief they’re looking for.

What is visceral manipulation good for?
Many people suffer from chronic pelvic pain from female disorders (e.g., endometriosis or fibroids), surgical scarring, old injuries, or other underlying conditions. Some have to put their lives on hold because the pain gets so bad, nothing they try seems to help.

If you fall into this category, you may be looking for some alternative to pain meds or surgery. Some people have found regular abdominal massage to be an effective pain management tool.

Studies have shown that massage can:

  • Reduce pain spasms and cramping
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce post-surgical adhesions and swelling

The benefits of massage compound and multiply with consistent sessions over time. A single treatment can be beneficial, but regular massage will have deeper and longer-lasting results.

What can I expect during these sessions?
A typical abdominal treatment at The Good Life Massage only takes 30 minutes. Since we want to be able to spend the entire session length on the actual treatment, we ask that you arrive a few minutes before each scheduled appointment. That way we can take the necessary time discussing your health and treatment plan before we start.

Our goal is to help you feel safe and relaxed on the treatment table; you are encouraged to let us know if you are uncomfortable with the pressure or focus of the treatments at any time. Professional draping techniques are always used to keep you warm and secure.

Firm pressure and friction are used throughout your abdominal region to break down adhesions and scar tissue. The pressure can feel temporarily uncomfortable to some, but your practitioner will work to help you breathe through each stroke so you can get the most benefit out of every session.

While your abdomen will receive treatment every time you come in, each session will have a different focus (e.g., lower back, hips, side wall muscles). Because of this, you will probably notice more freedom in your movement over time through your back, legs and hips, as well as a decrease in your chronic pain.

What sort of treatment schedule will I need to set up?
It takes regular treatment to break down scar tissue and adhesions, so it is essential that you start up a consistent treatment schedule. Most people start out with weekly sessions and then cut back on the frequency as they feel more relief from pain between visits.

We have discounts on pre-paid packages available in either a 5 or 10 week series, depending on your needs. For more information on these packages and how they work, you can visit our website or our previous blog post.

Please feel free to contact us with any quesions or to set up a free consultation. Let’s get started on a treatment plan that works for you so you can get back to living the life you’ve been missing out on.

Our email address is thegoodlifemassage@gmail.com
Our phone number is 425-243-7705.

You can also contact us or book your first session on our website.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.