Slowing down in a fast paced world

handful of berries

Recently I was visiting a family member in the Pacific Northwest and I got to see for the first time the most beautiful wild raspberries that were ready to be picked and eaten! There was no lack of raspberries to pick from, though pulling each one off did take some intention and care. We gently pressed and pulled the raspberries off their stems and placed them carefully in a basket before bringing them in to wash. It was strangely so satisfying to focus on such a simple task.

The thought of doing a simple task with intention and care, and slowing down to do so, is an important one. In our modern lives we are often rushing from one place to another, on auto pilot, sometimes literally with our phones doing more and more of the thinking for us! It can be hard to slow down, even when we want to- pressure to get the bills paid, be productive, take the children to school, dance class, etc.

Being present and taking care with simple things can help manage stress, anxiety and cultivate more satisfaction in our lives. Here are some ways you can slow down throughout your day and be present and grounded in your everyday life:

  1. Set your alarm 5 minutes before your morning wake up call and use that time to sit up in bed (not hit snooze!), take some slow deep breaths and check in with how your body is feeling after a night’s rest. Check in with your thoughts- where is your emotional space when you wake up?
  2. During your work day, take a walk or just leave the office for a few minutes to go outside, take a look at the trees outside and notice- how is the weather? Is there a breeze? What sounds do you hear? Sit down and take a few deep breaths- how does the air smell?
  3. Put some lotion on your hands and notice how the lotion feels- a moment of simple self care during the day can do wonders!
  4. Got a lot on your mind when you get home? Take a few minutes before bed to journal (or as I prefer- sketch!) anything that is on your mind. Creating a ritual such as this before bed can help us wind down (and reflect) from the day.

I hope these simple tips are helpful ways of cultivating being present in your life!


Brooke Bender, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Board Certified Art Therapist in private therapy practice in Arcadia, CA. She specializes in helping children and adults overcome traumatic events through art, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and other modalities.

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