How to Slow Down

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Today I want to talk about how to take things more slowly.

I’ve been in a whirlwind with the launch of my book, visiting cities all over the country, going to other countries and trying to keep up with all that is around me.

And while it’s extremely exciting to create and wonderful to be busy, we have to have tools to slow down.

Slowing down begins with your conscious choice to go more slowly — to be more simple, more graceful, at ease.

This isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I was born two weeks early. I like to make things happen fast! And I’ve lived in that way for many years, and my fast-paced attitude has gotten me pretty far.

But I’m beginning to notice that if I don’t proactively slow down I can’t sustain all that is around me. That fast-paced energy can help us when we need it, but it’s just not sustainable. If we don’t slow down, we risk burning out.

Tweet: Eat more slowly, walk more slowly, read more slowly, breathe more slowly. @gabbybernstein #spiritjunkie

That fast-paced energy helps us zero in on a specific goal, but in doing so it blocks everything else. It blocks our connection to the Universe, our feeling of receptivity, our connections. We have to be conscious of knowing when to speed up and slow down.

The first step, as I mentioned before, is to consciously choose to go more slowly. Eat more slowly, walk more slowly, read more slowly, breathe more slowly. This is a habit you have to create.

You know where you are on the spectrum of fast vs. slow. You may have no problems slowing down and taking it easy, or you might be like me — moving quickly, controlling situations, trying to be everywhere at one time, taking on too much.

If that’s you, then choosing to slow down will greatly benefit you.

At least 3 times throughout the day — I like this number because it’s manageable but it’s also enough to create a new pattern — for at least a month, check in about your speed. I do this while I’m eating because I tend to blast through meals. So I pause and think: How fast are my thoughts? How fast is my breath? How fast am I chewing?

You don’t have to check in at meals. You may choose another area … maybe you tend to move too fast when you’re sending emails so you can get through that task.

It doesn’t matter what 3 times of day you choose. The point is to witness. The process of slowing down will come naturally when you witness the speed at which you’re moving.

That desire to slow down and witnessing your speed is all you need.

And it’s never too late to slow down. You could be 90% done with your meal and slow down your chewing for that last 10%, and that’s perfection.

And if you recognize that you’re moving fast but don’t know how to slow down? Remember, the simplest way to come back is through your breath. Taking a deep, long breath helps you come back to center so you can slow down your energy and reorganize your nervous system. Then you can continue along your day with grace and ease.

I know this isn’t always easy. I’m on my own path with this, so I totally understand. But this practice is definitely serving me.

Let me know how this goes for you! Share your miracles and share your questions in the comments. I’ll be dropping in to answer questions and say hi.

I hope this serves you.

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72 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Gabby,

    Great video! My life feels like I’m running on auto pilot at the minute so I commit to checking in 3 times a day.

    I’m digging out my copy of Spitit Junkie to study as my marriage ended a month ago and I need your relationship guidance!

    Sat nam, Catherine x

    1. I too resonate with this. My 12 year marriage also ended about a month ago! This is the year of endings & new beginnings!
      Thank you for this beautiful reminder to slow down.
      XO Brenda F.

  2. Hi Gabby, I am full bore all the time, everything I do is fast, I eat fast, pretty well everything, been this way all of my life, but now I am going to take your approach, and consciously slow. I know I need to do this, and you have given me that encouragement. Thank you, by the way your book is fantastic, read it twice now, underline several passage and trying to practice all your suggestions . I finally feel that the Universe does have my back!

    Bob

  3. Perfect video for me!! After breast cancer I simply CAN’T go as fast and hard as I used to, I got my 5 years clear in April this year and I feel good and healthy but, if I take too much on/book in too many appointments/see too many clients etc I burn out really quickly!
    It’s frustrating at times but I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves! I’m learning a new way to ‘be’.
    Thanks so much for reminding me to chill out Gabby!!
    With love and light, Chez xx

  4. Thank you Gabby. This comes at a perfect time for me. It’s getting close to holidays and I’m trying to not get overwhelmed with everything that is expected with this time of year. Not sure if you celebrate or not. Have a great day.

  5. Hey Gabby

    Thank you so much for blessing the world with your talents and gifts and huge congrats on The Universe Has Your Back. Your book as helped me on the path to greater healing after the end of a relationship.

    I was meditating twice daily and now journal afterwards which I learnt about from your teachings.

    I will be observing more ways in which I can slow down and experience the moment. Whenever I do this, my head feels lighter. As a result of meditation and journalling, I was guided to move to Pasadena, California. I had left Los Angeles a year prior and moved to Hawaii but I am now in Pasadena and made this move by trusting the guidance I received. This place immediately felt like the perfect home for me. I am a screenwriter but once I got to Pasadena, I was soon guided to taking piano lessons. I had no prior musical experience, but I acted on that guidance and life has blessed me with music talent also.

    Thank you once again, Gabby for being such a positive influence on the world!

    Peace, love and blessings–

    Joanne Rose
    Founder & CEO
    Vegan Vision Productions
    http://www.veganvision.net

  6. Greetings from Sydney, Gabby. This resonates so much with me right now. Thanks for the timely message. Going through a lot of work stress, end of year craziness and way too many commitments and invitations which come with that. Ironic that it’s the season of “peace”. I yearn for calm and simplicity and I connect with this message of slowing down. I think that’s my first step. Great advice.

  7. Hi Gabby

    I just finished your book The Universe has your back (the audible version). Awesome book. Timely as well with where I am in life right now and what I needed to know.

    As for your talk today I found myself rushing through reading it then I was like.. Oh that’s exactly what Gabby’s talking… lol so I had to start over reading it again slowly this time… lol

    You’re an amazing, inspirational lady. Keep up the awesome work you do..

    Avril..

  8. I really needed this message today. Actually a God moment that this came to me when it did. Meeting with friends to discuss “Spirit Junkie” this week–one of my favorite books! Will start your new book soon (it’s on my night stand already, but I have been to busy to start it! Ugh!). Look forward to meeting you in person at an event in NYC in May. Many thanks! Maria, a fellow traveler on the road to happy destiny

  9. Thanks, Gabby. This is something I have been consciously working on over the past month or so, so your message is very timely for me. Thanks for the tips, I have started doing this before dinner but will add the other 2 times to check-in.

  10. Hello Gabby
    Thank you for this. I shall try this out in the way you suggest. I use two meditations of twenty minutes a day and find this very helpful for slowing down. Also I came across an idea for slowing down and that is to keep a stone beside your clock to remind yourself that we live by clock time rushing about to fulfil our busy schedules, but the rock can remind us of geological time as it is billions of years old!! I find too that being with nature slows me down and reconnects me to what is important. With love and peace. Philip Young

  11. For the past couple of months I have been going to Quaker meetings. I really appreciate the collective stillness which I find therapeutic. Sometimes the hour is spent in total silence, sometimes a few people will stand up and speak. I have to say, Gabby, that your idea of slowing down at various points in the day sounds vry beneficial. I’m going to try it out. I have plenty of time when I move to the Philippines in January.

  12. You are amazing! This was mind-blowing. “Just. Slow. Down.” It’s shocking how much wisdom lies withing those three words. Thanks for sharing, especially during the holidays this message is particularly important. We tend to forget about ourselves in order to put someone else’s plan first. I will keep in mind your advice. Blessings!

  13. I completely relate to this vlog. I’m always on fast forward. I get up early and go, go, go all day long. At one point, I was gobbling down my meals in order to rush back to finish up some work. I worked full time, plus casual at another job and also was an author. I loved rushing, always feeling like my days were full to the brim. If I wasn’t working, I was learning new languages, trying to catch up with friends (although poorly so) and a million other little things on my ‘to do’ list every day.

    …and then, I published my most recent book and things slowed down a bit. I felt out of sorts and tired more often than usual, I even got a cold, which was so rare for me. And then I got laid off from my job giving me more time and now, I feel like all the things that I haven’t wanted to deal with, all the things that had been pushed back on the shelf, were suddenly very prevalent in my life. In the past, these were things I didn’t have time to think about because I was so busy doing things…when things slowed down and there was less intensity in my life, I was left with a lot of emotions that I didn’t want to deal with. I had a lot of questions I didn’t want to answer and suddenly, with less to do in a day, i felt completely exhausted, both physically and mentally.

    Now I see that it’s not a coincidence that this happened now. I was on the fast track for too long and the universe was telling me it was time to slow down. I’ve done this all my life, trying to run away from things I couldn’t deal with, from questions I didn’t know how to answer. Usually, it was a physical move from place to place, going from friend to friend, guy to guy, but in recent years it has been work that has been my escape.

    I’m not sure how I will get through this or if I will be able to sort out all the lingering issues that keep coming up but I’m allowing myself to slow down, to accept that sometimes you just feel like shit and you have to get through those feelings and really ask yourself where they are coming from and why. I recognize it’s a time for reflection and think it’s probably good timing since it’s near the end of the year. I guess that gives me a fresh start in 2017.

  14. This is what Im doing this winter too, started about a week ago! We must all be in tune with our needs..So love this Gabby. The lady that commented above me is right on. 🙂

  15. Like you Gabby, I teach people about meditation and mindfulness, but find myself rushing to get things done too.

    Ironically, I even find myself rushing to slow down!

    I catch myself trying to get through my to-do list at double time just so that I can slow down and relax. And I have to laugh when I sometimes find myself rushing to yoga class.

    I agree that picking some trigger (such as mealtimes) is really useful. I use traffic lights in a similar way, and have recommended coffee (or even cigarette) breaks for a similar purpose. Some people even choose to slow down on the toilet (which isn’t such a bad idea), or to ‘stop and smell the roses’ when in transit, or even filling up the car.

    And just now, I thought, perhaps I can type a bit more mindfully, and slow down and enjoy composing this comment.

  16. Great timing to hear this message, at the end of the year, in the buzz off so much… to do, or to choice. Thank you Gaby! It reinforces my choice to slow down, around meal, grat idea, and mostly when i see my mind engaging in inner conversation that serves… nothing.
    Thank’s again for the reinforcement.

  17. Hi,

    I have been resisting your offerings for a long time. A dear friend gave me ” The Universe has your back ” for by birthday this October. I am almost done. It has opened me further.
    Thank you.

  18. Hi Gabby! I love your work! It has helped me in so many ways. I am a survivor of molestation and have struggled with an eating disorder for 30+ years as well as various addictions. Reading and listening to your books has given me new hope and I actually feel a little better each day. I started a daily yoga practice and also have begun to practice breathing work. I am on a spiritual journey to learn how to connect to the universe. It has been very hard for me to have faith, but I continue to work on it and you give me such hope. So a big ginormous thank you! Beth

  19. Wow, thanks for this post and the recent comments from others. I feel better there’s others feeling the same exact way. “Slow down” was definitely what I needed to do today. I felt the pressure of being back at work after a long weekend, deadlines, holiday planning, not eating healthy, commitments to friends, and feeling worried about choosing outfits for the upcoming holiday festivities. I also got aggravated just looking at text messages today from friends today who were chatting it up in our group chats.

    At lunch, I found myself trying to walk past people on the sidewalk and realized that mostly everyone gave me some odd looks as I whizzed by them like a maniac. I decided I needed to slow down as soon as I saw an older man in front of me that gave me a hard stare.

    I’ll definitely try this! 3x it is! 🙂

  20. Perfect timing. This is exactly how I run my life. Constantly moving.
    Fast pace at work, get home and start pinging around the house — bills, phone calls, dinner, catching up with my daughter, driving her to/from something, running back home to work, and then flop into bed…and can’t slow down my brain enough to get good sleep! And here comes the holidays!
    I have been seeing a huge decline in my Icognitive capability and physical capacity because I’m on speed dial.
    I’m going to give this a try!

  21. Hi Gabby ,
    Good morning from Muscat,Oman..
    Thank u for this tips ..I ll begin to practise this today …I am following u from one month now and i read your new book .
    It s really an amazing book
    Thank u
    Love and peace

  22. I force myself to slow down all day long. From walking to talking to doing laundry to eating to driving to breathing….and so on. Boy this changed my life. It wasn’t easy at first but now I live each moment with grace and ease. Many people have noticed and in some cases it has rubbed off. I’m so much less stressed and feel so content. It had allowed me to simplify my life.

  23. Sat Nam

    Thabk you. Being an ADHD And an entreprenuer with 4 companiess I totally get you. Try Mindfulness practices, it helped me a lot. In Amazin’s audible I had purchased a course called Practicing Mindfulnessnby Mark W. Muesse as well as Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner and both helped me a lot ,
    I pay attention that desication and attention to the topic each and everyday is a bliss and one must atick to this commitment, if not it fades away. Thank you for this reminder, I totally get you :)) Love and Light
    Shlomi

  24. Thanks for the reminder xx
    My speediness is in my head. Then I project it onto others with demands or requests for help and end up feeling guilty and it all ends up in a big mess!! I really hope this works.. Thanka again ✌️

  25. Hi Gabby! Thanks so much for sharing this. I have recently had a serious health problem that has forced me to slow down!!! Slowing down has been humbling and I still find myself wanting to go go go which is my natural tendency like yours. I recently really slowed down cooking my family an amazing healthy meal and I realized I really like cooking! But before, I was always speeding through and rushing and never enjoyed it, always viewed it as a chore. This was a miracle for me. Thank you for the tips for bringing this concept into my life even as I heal from disease and for always being real with us about your own journey. Much love!

  26. For the past 2 weeks I have had to recover from my eye surgery so I have kind of been forced to slow down.. It took that for me to see how active I was.. I was also aware that when I really got to that still place I could really focus on some of the really deep spiritual teachers like Rupert Spira and Dr. Shefali.. When I am multi-tasking I just don’t really connect with these people.. I have always been a reactive person and by me slowing down in my daily life it takes me into a more responsive mindset.. With the holiday season upon us I sure needed to hear this message.. Thank You Gabby;)

  27. Thanks Gabby, Love this video! I know we all need those reminders every day! Blessings to you on your path, soul sister. Keeping that heart as you’re keeping that momentum. 🙂
    Sat nam,
    So much love,
    Gloria

  28. Great reminder. I was born 3 months premature so I understand the split between wanting to just go go get it done done and slowing down. I definitely find I am more happy and at my best when I take it slow and steady. Thanks Gabby!

  29. I’ve also got a chronic health condition which basically forces me to slow down and focus on the positives as well as finding creative ways to heal through affirmations and being in alignment xx one step at a time

  30. I love this message. I saw the email a few days ago but didn’t read the entire thing or watch the video until now, but I feel like it was totally meant to be that way… I came to this message exhausted and overwhelmed and just looking for something to slow me down. Sometimes you really do just need an outside reminder to chill out, breathe and connect. Thank you for being that reminder

    Sat Nam,
    Violet

  31. Hey Gabby! I’ve been a fast paced, high energy gemini my whole life. I woke up 6 years ago and constantly have to work on slowing down to be present and mindful. I subscribed to your newsletter several years ago and I’m so grateful for your inspiration and extremely helpful reminders <3 from Boston 🙂

  32. Thank you Gabby! Your words are right on time for me. I am noticing that even with my meditation practice and regular work outs, when I eat during this holiday season it is sometimes with reckless abandon. I don’t want to give myself a pass just because it is the holiday season. I am going to use these tools and do it different this time. I have lost 20+lbs in he past few months and refuse to pack it back on.

    With much gratitude,
    Melissa

  33. Hi Gabby
    I’ve been following your site for a little while now, and this message really struck a chord with me. I have chronic health conditions and have been practicing mindfulness and connecting to my breath to slow down, and just trying to pace myself more. Though life gets in the way with work, child, appointments the list goes on, these things need to happen. But today, when the universe actually did what it does best and forced me to stop, literally, so I quietly find your email and read it…slowly! So once again a message from the universe! Thank you for your wonderful insights
    Lia

  34. Hi Gabby,
    I appreciate how you end your messages with “I hope this serves you.” I also just looked up the meaning of “sat nam.” Can’t believe I’ve never heard that before. Thank you for being my newest teacher!

  35. I smiled at your genuine admission of being on your own path with this. I’m slowly sipping hot tea, enjoying a tranquil moment after a stressful (I created it) afternoon, and cherishing a beautiful genuine moment. My best to all.

  36. Simple meditative mindful things can make a difference in your day I had to put post notes around the house to remind me to be more mindful.

  37. Hi Gabby,
    I have been in the fast lane a lot in my life! Creating a new business has lead me into the fast lane which I acquired two speeding tickets along with anxiety and a whole lot of stress by moving so fast. Ayurveda says when we move fast we age fast. I am back on the mat with yoga and meditation. Listened to your book The Universe Has Your Back 5 times in a month!!! I am now doing your 40 day practice and listening to Marianne Williamson A Course in Miracles. You have created a big shift in my life….Thank you!!!!

  38. Dear Gabby, thanks for you great message! I”m doing this already, it works really well!
    You are mentioning that this is the first step for slowing down. So, now I’m curious, what is the next step?
    With love,
    Karlijn

    1. After you’ve made the conscious decision to slow down, make sure to check in with yourself often & re-calibrate any time you find yourself moving too quickly 🙂

  39. Hello Gabby,
    Thank you for the lovely video … I myself also have a hard time slowing down in my daily goings and practice slowing down my breathing. It most definately works as a technique.

    On another topic, I have a question … How do you stay centered, practice living in the now and base your life on love when you are surrounded by people in your family that always judge others ?

    Thanks for your input and all your help !!!

    May God bless you always !!!

    Maria

  40. Gabby, I love you! Thank you for this reminder. I have been racing through life since I came out of the womb! But lately, I’ve been realizing that so much magic exists in the pauses – the moments in-between the racing. The sense of urgency that has been fueling me for most of my life is no longer serving me, it’s the surrendering to s l o w i n g d o w n, the allowing, that is opening me up to so much healing, transformation, and grace. And of course MAGIC! So thank you again, for the reminder. Practicing takin’ it all one step at a time. xo

  41. Hah. I been moving so fast I never finished watching this video til now. Lolololol. Right there with ya Gab. Hare needs to balance with tortoise. Namaste xoxo

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