The Benefits of Mindfulness

Why slowing down is good for your mental health

When we were first married, my husband and I liked to play video games. One of our favorites was Guitar Hero – do you remember that one? You’d have this guitar-shaped controller and you’d “play” along with whatever song. When you got high enough scores on the “album,” you could move on to the next level. One song I had a particularly tough time with in the beginning was “Slow Ride,” by Foghat. It doesn’t seem like that difficult of a song to play along to, but it was hard for me!

I find that for me, things that are slow or require a long period of concentration or work is hard for me. Crocheting, for instance. I like to do it, and I’m working on a blanket now for my daughter that’s taken a full year to complete. (Her bed is not that big.) I’m so used to things moving so quickly – my Internet, phone, etc. – that I have a hard time waiting.

“Slow ride…take it easy”? I don’t think so! If there’s something to know, I’d like to know it right now, please!

But I read the other day about a great concept of “slow entertainment” that was made popular in Norway a few years ago. A Norwegian filmmaker strapped a camera to the front of a train that was embarking on a seven-hour trip, and filmed the whole thing in its entirety. Norwegian state television aired the whole thing uncut, and it was a huge success! People loved it. It wasn’t flashy, wasn’t loud or terribly exciting, and yet people embraced its slowness.

Young children love to embrace slowness, too, especially on walks. This time last year, when the pandemic was first really becoming a reality, the kids and I would take walks around the block to watch Spring unfold before us. And you’d better believe that there was a splash (or several) in every puddle, a look under every big rock, a pointing finger at every blooming tree where the birds’ nests were still visible in its branches. Those walks, which normally take about ten minutes at a decent clip, took far longer with the kids because it was necessary to slowly take in all the wonder of it.

Life has certainly slowed down for all of us. But as it (slowly) begins to pick back up, what are some things you’re going to keep doing? Is it reading a book, enjoying a meal or time with friends and family? It could be anything that brings you joy, be it big or small.

It may take time to adjust to the new wonders that will come out of all of this. But I hope you find them and savor them as much as you can!

Until next time, be well!
Christy

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About the author: Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. Christy also blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com and tweets @agapeflower117. You can  follow her here on eTalkTherapy for inspirational articles and different perspectives as they relate to good mental health.

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