11th Jul 2018

Doctor offers surprise advice on the benefits of slowing down

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There’s an upside to slowing down?
Janelle Ward

Jane is scared to slow down and smell the roses, even though she is 63 – and her daughter is worried about her. Jane has asked psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray for advice.

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Q. Jane
My daughter keeps telling me to slow down, and I think she’s right, but I can’t help myself. I’m 63 and never been one for going slow, or smelling the roses, so to speak. I think I’m scared to slow down because I’m scared of getting old.

A. While it is wonderful to hear you are so active, I think you and your daughter might be onto something. Slowing down won’t make you feel older – it will make you feel more alive. If we are always rushing about, we can easily live our lives on automatic pilot. In other words, we can stop noticing what’s going on around us because we are not fully present.

Women often pride themselves on being able to multi-task, but the truth is, multi-tasking isn’t good for us. It’s stressful! It’s much better for us to focus on one thing at a time. In psychology, we call it mindfulness, which means focusing on the here and now. It’s the opposite to living on automatic pilot.



You can stay active, busy and young, but by practising mindfulness, you will reduce your stress level, improve your concentration and memory, and you won’t worry your daughter so much.

There are simple ways to practice being mindful. While walking, observe everything around you – what do you see and hear and smell? While stopped at traffic lights, notice what’s around you – what is the most common colour and make of car? While eating your dinner, what flavours can you taste? What colours can you see on the plate? How does the texture of the food change as you chew?

You don’t have to be mindful all day, but taking the time to slow down and mindfully focusing on what’s happening will pay off in so many ways.

Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples, and presents to professionals and community groups.

If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella Murray, please send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au


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COMMENTS

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Bella54
11th Jul 2018
10:37am
I understand totally how you feel. I am 64, retired two years ago and life if busier than ever. They are all good things I enjoy and would find hard to give up but every now and again I give myself a day or even an afternoon off and actually block time off on the calendar. Time to regroup, relax, catch up on reading it things I have put off around the house.
KB
11th Jul 2018
1:37pm
There is more to life than rushing about It is good to take time out to smell the roses so to speak,
Rosret
11th Jul 2018
5:31pm
Hehe - I think this article should be given to the young! - Get off your phone!
Seenitall
11th Jul 2018
5:53pm
The mindfulness advice above is spot on - retirement ideally should give us the space where we can "drop our guard" a little and allow our senses to expand our consciousness. One pursuit I now have time to enjoy more intensely is listening to music. I'm fortunate to live in an area which has very good FM radio reception and I have now set up a good quality sound system in my bedroom to listen to ABC Classic FM which comes through with brilliant clarity.I don't like all the classical music they broadcast but some has the power to almost lift me into a different state of consciousness - probably as good as meditation, certainly better than drugs!
Cheezil61
11th Jul 2018
8:06pm
Wow can relate (except i WANT to slow down but have no idea how!) Great letter & answers, thanks this is helpful.


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