How to Slow Down Time
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein
All of us want to slow down time, to stop the ticking clock.
One of the reasons I was inspired to practice mindfulness is that I wanted to start appreciating and noticing the small, simple moments of life again.
I felt time racing by. I was so busy, I often felt absent from my own life. Life had sped up and I wanted it to slow down. It’s so easy to rush from point A to point B, not noticing all of the steps it takes to journey between the two.
The Little Moments that Pass Us By
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
We often reside in the past or the future, but hardly ever the present. It’s easy to forget to notice the small, little moments that happen so quickly every day.
33 minutes into a one-hour flight.
Mixing the butter and eggs together before adding the remaining ingredients.
15 minutes on the bus or train commuting to work.
Writing 10 pages of a 300-page book.
Those 20 minutes when dinner is heating up in the oven.
While it’s not possible to slow down time, when we are present and aware of the small passing moments it can often feel like time is expanding. We are awake to more of the moments in our lives, and so it actually feels like we have more of them.
This feeling is available to anyone who is willing to practice the art of mindfulness.
Three Simple Ways to Slow Down with Mindfulness
Here are three ways I have learned to appreciate the small, seemingly mundane moments of everyday life.
- Make mindful moments a ritual throughout the day. To bring more awareness to the present moment, take mindfulness breaks throughout the day. You could do this while making breakfast or lunch, driving in the car, or waiting in line at the coffee shop. I like to take a mindful moment during transition times in my day such as arriving at work or arriving home.
To cultivate a mindful moment, follow these simple steps:
Breath in for five seconds
Hold the breath for five seconds
Breathe out for five seconds
Hold the breath for five seconds
Take note of the present moment; look around you and really notice your surroundings
- Celebrate the tiny joys in life. Life is composed of tiny joys and victories that lead us to exactly where we want to be.
Take time to reflect on, or to write down in a journal, all of the small things that happened to you each day that you appreciated and felt grateful for.
The items can be relatively small in importance (e.g., “My co-worker complimented me on my presentation at work”) or relatively large (e.g., “I earned a big promotion”).
What we focus on grows. As you take note of the simple joys and victories in your life, notice how more of these types of moments flourish.
- Bring meaning into the mundane. We all have a tendency to only notice very good or very bad things. (This is why it often takes a great loss in our life for us to slow down and take notice of the smaller things.) Because so much of our life is spent in these normal, everyday moments, we hardly notice them passing by.
We want to savor the beauty and meaning of life, but much of the “stuff” that fills our days doesn’t feel very beautiful or meaningful.
The way to make the mundane meaningful is to bring feelings of gratitude and meaning into the land of deadlines, traffic, and laundry: The warmth of the towels as you grab them out of the dryer. The dance of the leaves in the wind as you walk to the car. The laugh of a friend as you wait in line for a movie ticket.
The secret to making the mundane meaningful is to look for the beauty and sacredness in the simple things.
“The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything.”
By being more mindful of the small moments, my life is richer, more intentional,and moves at a slower pace. I find that I’m less likely to want to fast-forward to something different or better down the road.
This moment is all that we have. It is only in the present moment that our lives are actually happening.
When you tune into these simple moments, you will feel time expand.