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Practice Slowing Down When the Stakes Are Low

For me, fall always prompts me that it's time to slow down.

Literally, because I'm usually doing less stuff as the days get shorter and colder. Figuratively, because the change in temperature and sunshine is a stark reminder that things are always changing. In the spring and summer the change feels less distinct, simply because my own body prefers the warmth.

Oh, how challenging slowing down can be. And how necessary. In trauma therapy, we often say we have to go slow to speed up.

Why? Slowing down helps us to a) notice our experience and b) encounter whatever we're afraid of in the slowness. And often, hopefully realize we have the capacity, or can begin to grow our capacity, to hold what's there.

Slowing down in the context of the things that actually make us anxious, however, can be a big ask -- at least at first! So I recommend slowing down in contexts when the stakes are lower.

Do you tend to rush around the house cleaning? Speed through workouts? Do you fly through everyday work tasks? Use these as your opportunities to slow down and either a) notice what's uncomfortable about taking your time or b) actively seek out a comforting resource or something else that can help you feel a little more tethered.

If you have the capacity to be with what's coming up, be extremely curious about your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. And remember that this is just practice. You can get back to your speedy ways as soon as you need to, though you may find that you actually like slowing down more than you thought.

I can admit this practice here is perhaps the thematic practice of my life. I'm a sensitive bb who needs lots of space to integrate information and function, but I've also adapted to the speedy ways of capitalism culture. So please, know you are normal if this is a sweet challenge for you!

When we get to this point in sessions, many clients will ask, "well, then what?" And, well, it's not that there isn't a 'then what', but that often the 'then what' will reveal itself with greater ease in the absence of the resistance we tend to feel about the initial trigger / our initial feelings.

As long as we are physically safe, this liminal space is safe. Crisis does often require some level of acceleration. But otherwise, in safety / when the stakes are low, not knowing exactly "what's next" is OK. Think of it as an experiment. If you can access creativity or play, allow those attitudes to carry you through until you have more clarity.

I've got some new offerings on the horizon for 2022 to help you explore these embodiments. If you're not already, sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Instagram so you get all the announcements. Can't wait to see you there.

Photo by Song Kaiyue from Pexels

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