Summer is often jam-packed with adventures, excursions, and activities. And why not? The warm summer air and bright sunny days beckon us to be busy. Yet in the busyness, don’t forget to occasionally slow down and savor the changing seasons and the passing of time. Too many of us are constantly rushing from task to task, or addictively filling our days up with activities and interactions, without taking precious moments to actually rest, relax, and slow down. And slower living brings about surprising health benefits for your stress, your mental health, and your immune system.
The Important Benefits of Slower Living
“The pace of life at this time of year can be overwhelming, dizzying, and numbing,” says Sonoma State University psychology professor Susan Avery Stewart, Ph.D., in her column for Psychology Today magazine. She warns that busyness, even when it’s “good” busyness (e.g., coordinating summer camps, camping trips, sports games, etc.), can ramp up your stress.
This can trigger a host of health concerns for your immune system and general wellness. “Doing too much and rushing around in an effort to get it all done is stressful,” says Stewart, “which can raise the amount of cortisol in the body to unhealthy levels associated with high blood pressure, compromised immune functioning, depression, cognitive difficulties, loss of emotional control, fatigue, and a host of other ills.”
It’s no wonder that health experts and research journals consistently refer to stress as one of America’s biggest health epidemics.
Chronic busyness during the summer season can also impact your sleep schedule, and lack of sleep is one of the most critical risk factors in various disease risks and immune system concerns.
“You can’t hustle if you’re dead,” warns INC magazine. “While this heading is exaggerative, you should get the point: You can’t keep working and creating the life you want if you aren’t able to perform. […] If your goal is to succeed, then you should be willing to take the time to honor what your mind, body, and spirit need to stay healthy. When every day provides 24 hours, there’s really no excuse not to meditate, exercise, cook a healthy meal, or journal.”
The publication also notes that chronic busyness, and not taking time to enjoy slower living, can also:
- Rob you of your creativity and problem-solving potential
- Cloud your thinking and sabotage your mental clarity and focus
- Sabotage your decision-making skills
- Limit your emotional energy and skills, such as the skill of empathy and understanding
“In allowing ourselves to experience the present – rather than rushing toward the future – we become more attentive to what is happening around and within us, and to savor it,” she says. “Even so-called ordinary moments become extraordinary when we move slowly enough to notice and savor them.”
If you want a stronger immune system, a sense of harmony and balance, and a heightened sense of present mindedness and wellness, it’s time to embrace slower living. But as summer winds down, how exactly can you savor the moment and enjoy slower living?
How to Practice Slower Living in 4 Steps
The concept of “slower living” looks different to everyone, but you can begin to soothe your mind, body and immune system with a few foundational steps.
Turn off the television. Put down your smartphone. Shut off the radio. And simply be.
How often do you find yourself sitting in a waiting room, or stuck in work traffic, or waiting for your child, and you immediately try and fill that space of time with busyness?
Even something as simple as scrolling through social media on your phone can pull you out of the present, trigger your stress response, and distract you from being still and mindful.
2. Schedule Literal Breaks
Whether it’s at work or at home, set aside time that’s specifically reserved for rest. Whether that rest is meditating, going for a walk, or curling up with a few pages of a good book, make sure you actually block it off in your schedule or put it into your daily reminders.
“Take periodic breaks,” suggests Stewart. “It’s paradoxical but true that we actually accomplish more – and do a better job – when we give ourselves time off, rather than plowing through mounds of tasks without a break.”
On one of your breaks, you can further promote the health and immune benefits of slower living by taking BioPro-Plus 500. BioPro-Plus 500 contains biologically active purified thymic proteins plus Zinc Gluconate and nanosilver solution which help to rebuild your immune system. These Thymic Proteins are bioidentical to the ones your body naturally creates, making them easily absorbed and assimilated into your body.
3. Get Into Nature
“Many of us are shut in our homes and offices and cars and trains most of the time, and rarely do we get the chance to go outside,” warns slower living expert Leo Babauta at Zen Habits. “And often even when people are outside, they’re talking on their cell phones. Instead, take the time to go outside and really observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air, enjoy the serenity of water and greenery. Exercise outdoors when you can, or find other outdoor activities to enjoy such as nature walks, hiking, swimming, etc. Feel the sensations of water and wind and earth against your skin. Try to do this daily — by yourself or with loved ones.”
The clinical benefits of nature have been proven time and time again. Not only does slower living within the context of exposure to nature relax you and calm you, but it also has significant effects on your immunity.
“Recent scientific findings suggest beneficial effects from nature exposure on human immune responses,” explains a recent research report published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The report analyzed nearly 40 different studies.
“The synthesis of reviewed studies points to positive effects of nature exposure on immunological health parameters,” concluded the report, “such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-asthmatic effects or increased NK (natural killer) cell activity.”
4. Take Longer, Just Because
Our societies tend to prioritize busyness, productivity, and a fast pace above all things. But sometimes, slower living invites you to slow down for no other reason than simply slowing down.
It might seem alien and foreign at first, but try taking a slower approach just because you can:
- Take the longer route to work
- Walk the long way on the hike
- Start your morning at your own pace, instead of immediately jumping into work emails or listing to the morning news
- Embark on your weekend with no pre-planned agenda
See how it feels. Stretch your relaxation muscles. And dive deep into the calming, restorative philosophy of slower living.
Interested in Learning More About Slower Living? Relax With These Resources: