Mind & Body

Stressed Out?...Slow Down.

All the dashing around we do doesn't just make us feel frantic, it also ages us faster and can lead to illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

Stressed Out?...Slow Down.
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4. Start a Slow Hobby
Hobbies that require mindful, solitary activity–such as knitting, painting, sculpting, crocheting, or quilting–can act as a brake on your hectic pace.
HEALTH BENEFITS "Slow hobbies help you cultivate the lost art of concentration and being in the moment. They have a meditative quality to them,"says author Carl Honorè. "And that calming effect goes beyond the act itself. Maintaining that inner stillness enables you to negotiate the fast–moving waters of the rest of your day."
GETTING STARTED Sixty–four percent of people who knit or crochet say they use these crafts to help them reduce stress and relax, according to the Craft Yarn Council of America. Visit craftyarncouncil.com for information. To learn about drawing, visit drawspace.com. Check with a local college or community center for other craft classes.

5. Eat Slowly
Eating too fast creates stress in the body, says nutritionist Marc David, author of The Slow Down Diet (Healing Arts Press, 2005). That causes a spike in cortisol and insulin, which in turn diminishes your ability to burn calories and makes you more likely to gain weight. Eating quickly also leads to overeating. "The brain demands more food if it doesn't have time to register its needs for taste, aroma, and satisfaction,"says David.
HEALTH BENEFITS Taking time to eat creates a relaxation response, which means you'll have fewer digestive complaints and your body will be able to take in the nutrients it needs. Plus "we make better food choices, and we know when to stop,"he adds. sunny/getty images
GETTING STARTED To ease the pace, double the time you spend on your meals; for example, if you usually eat breakfast in five minutes, stretch it out to ten. "Focus on your food: Taste it, enjoy it, notice it, savor it,"says David. "Find relaxed time between bites by slowing down your internal conversation. Let go of any sense of urgency, and allow the moment to be sensual."The cooking process can help you slow down too, says David. "Instead of microwaving something, make a soup from scratch."