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words by Gemma Bolton of Buff-Beauty.com

According to Gandhi ‘there is more to life than increasing its speed’ and we couldn’t agree more. Too often days becomes a whirl of racing to and through work, gym, social life and dinner before snatching a few hours of broken sleep. The result? A serious chance of burnout.

Slow your breath
If there’s something a baby has over an adult it’s knowing how to breathe properly; just watch how their tummies rise and fall with each breath. Breathing shallowly from the chest alone is more akin to hyperventilation, keeping your brain in (an unhealthy) fight-or-flight mode. Practise makes perfect: breathe deeply, focusing on pushing the abdomen out on your inhalation and pulling it back in as you slowly exhale. It feels weird to start but, trust us, it’ll feel great when you get it.

Slow your lists
It’s no wonder we’re all hyperventilating when you look at the length of our to-do lists. But does everything really need to be done before your 12pm? It’s amazing how just shuffling your schedule around can free up a spot of brain space. First, take a moment to scale your list in terms of importance: if there’s anything under a seven, push it back to a calmer time. Next, look at your top to-do and break it down into achievable chunks.

Slow your food
Ever scoffed a sandwich without realising? If your eye’s on the inbox or you’re racing to the train there’s a good chance you’ll end up more bloated, more hungry and less appreciative of your food. Digestion starts in the mouth and requires a relaxed tum. Sit down and – just as your mother told you – remember to chew. If you’re stressed out, take a few deep belly breaths before you continue. Lunch will taste so much better!

Slow to a walk
Good news for the jogging-phobic, our scientist friends in the US say walking is just as good for our hearts as running. What’s more, walking gives you the time to actually see and enjoy your surroundings. Grab a friend – canine or human – and get out there. A golden star if it’s somewhere green where you’ll feel the awesome calming powers of nature. A platinum star if you find time to stop for a long and leisurely picnic.

Slow to stillness
Perhaps one of the hardest at first, but the most addictive of all: schedule some time to be still. That’s absolutely still. No Twitter, no TV. Just you, your breath and your thoughts. It feels truly amazing and, as acupuncturist Andy Green (http://shiatsuandacupuncture.wordpress.com/) assures, ‘when the time for action arrives, we are focused and efficient because our efforts are in harmony with the world around us.’ Start with just five minutes a day and see how you go.

Image by Marcus Ohlsson represented by LUNDLUND for Elle magazine, Sweden

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