15 Ways To Slow Yourself Down When Feeling Rushed:

by Carole Bourne

“When you calm your body & your emotions, you restore yourself, and restore peace to the world around you.”  Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Are you being pushed around by the speed of the world or starved for time?  According to Pew research center nearly 25% of Americans feel rushed all the time and 50% some of the time.  Rushing, in a strange way, seems to have become the acceptable norm.  Do more, and fit more into your schedule, at any cost.  Who’s idea was that anyway.


Feeling rushed is not a pretty sight:

Feeling rushed turns us into someone we are not.  Our faces become tight and squished, we snap at people, become unkind, make mistakes, drive like lunatics, forget things and stress our bodies to the max, unnecessarily.

To help dissolve that rushed feeling inside and come back to a kinder pace of life I’m sharing a few tricks I’ve either picked up from workshops, personally use or friends have sworn by.

The key of course, is to notice when you are feeling rushed.

If you only have time for one tip (because you are too rushed) remember your breath is the bridge between your body and your mind.  The more you focus on your breath the less chance you have of living in your head, feeling disconnected and rushed.

15 clever ways to stop feeling rushed:

1: Cheat. Take a herbal sedative: I don’t mind saying, I am addicted to the herb, passion flower. I prefer it in liquid form rather than tablet.  Whilst I’m not a herbalist, I do know from years of experience, whenever I’m feeling rushed or stressed passion flower slows me down on the inside and takes off the edge.  It never fails me.

3 potent natural herbal sedatives:

2: Listen to your thoughts in slow motion: This little trick is perfect for when your mind is rushing along at 1,000 miles per hour.  Simply spend the next 30 seconds listening to your thoughts in really, really, slow motion.  You’ll notice how rushed and cluttered your thoughts were before hand.  Slow the speed of your thoughts to feel less rushed.

3: Unhunch shoulders and unsquish your face: A tight, tense and squished up face is not a good look.  Loosen the frown, relax your face muscles (smile) and unhunch your shoulders.  This is a good start to slowing yourself down from the inside and releasing some of the built up stress.

* 12 ways to release muscle tension (on the spot)

4: Empty your thoughts by writing them down: I need to do this more often, especially before bed if my mind is still in rushing mode.  Once the scramble of thoughts are out of your head, and onto a piece of paper you’ll find yourself breathing a sigh of relief.  Sanity will prevail, and you can let it all go until the morning. Journaling is very therapeutic.

* The benefits of journal writing

5: Close your eyes: Your eyes can easily absorb lots of stress and anxiety from what they are witnessing.  Close your eyes, give them a rest and withdraw your visual attention from the outside world. Keep your eyes closed as you  “pull in” your scattered energies.  A few minutes resting your eyes with a yoga eye pillow will soothe your eyes, calm your mind and relax your body.

6: Focus on one thing for 30 seconds: A rushed mind cannot focus; not even for 30 seconds. It’s always jumping from the past into the future and then back into the past again, conveniently forgetting about, the here and now.  Grow your 30 second “slowing down” muscle simply by focusing on one thing, your breath, an object, thoughtful word or calming mantra for 30 seconds.

7: Spend time alone: Often its your external living or work environment that’s overstimulating you. Removing yourself from noisy, busy, hectic environments can be the perfect medicine in allowing yourself to come back centre again and feel calmer on the inside. Turn off the phone, unplug the noise and be with yourself.

* Rest is not a weakness, its essential.

8: Go outside: Nature never lets you down.  Nature has a very natural ability to ground and centre you. Nature is very healing. Try walking in nature, standing and looking at nature (sky, tree, clouds) or simply sit and eat your lunch in nature.  Living in a concrete jungle disconnected from nature, encourages you to live in your head. Let your feet touch the ground, grass or sand, let your nose smell the air, let your skin feel the breeze, let your eyes witness the beauty.  Spend time in nature and get grounded.

9: Stop listening to others: Other people, the news, computers or radio, can contribute to your rushed feeling. Be mindful of what you are hearing and listening too.  Do you best to limit yourself to people who are worry warts and stress heads, particularly when you are feeling fragile and depleted. Use your exhale to push their energies away.

10: Listen to music: Block out the toxic urban sounds around you with a good dose of sound therapy to soothe that rushed feeling inside.  Dr. Emoto, in his research, has proven that listening to the Blue Danube and other pieces of music will nourish your nervous system in times of stress and fatigue.  At the moment I’m listening to The Flow Of Grace by Krishna Das

11:  Walk away: Feeling rushed is not a productive state.  Walking clears your head and shifts the energy in your body.  Treat yourself to a change of scenery by walking and calming your agitated mind.  Walking reminds you that you have a body. As Dr. Christian Northrup says increased blood circulation equals increased joyful feelings.

12: Create some breathing space: Rushed thoughts lead to tight, tense, short and shallow breathing.  You deprive your body and mind of oxygen.   Deepen and slow down your breath to encourage the flow of energy to your extremities.   Spend longer on your exhale, as you imagine pushing it all away.  Use your breath to create space around you, your thoughts and your environment.

* Your breath as medicine

13: Grab a hug: Hugs are for feeling (not thinking).  Hugs nourish your sense of touch, comfort, calm and relax you in rushed times. Hugs simply fuel your heart with the good stuff.  A good hug will get you out of your head and back into your body.   Click here for 10 hugging tips to grab on the run.

14: Think of the word I trust:  Believe it or not this little trick works a treat for me.  Just saying or thinking the word I trust (a few times) reminds me that I can’t control everything, and I simply need to trust in life’s process and that everything happens for a reason.  Repeating the words I trust brings me gently back to my centre and into the present moment.

* A valuable tool for a worried mind

15: Avoid caffeine: A sure fire way to speed yourself up even more is to drink more coffee, soda or energy drinks. Switch one caffeine drink a day for a glass of water, mug of miso soup or green tea.  May I recommend a mug of miso as a great alternative if you are wanting a warm drink, it’s really nutritious.


Photo by: Malias


What I’m enjoying at the moment:

I’m re-reading The Breathing Book by Donna Fahri.  I love, love, love this book.  Each time I pick it up I learn something new.  And, as the Chinese say breath is 100 times more important than medicine.


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Vidyabhushan March 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm


I was feeling and living a rushed schedule for past few days.. your article is of great help.


Melissa March 18, 2009 at 6:46 am

Once again, your advice is right on the money! I’m going to start using the “I trust” mantra right away.
Thanks for the inspiring and informative article. :)


David Cain March 23, 2009 at 2:44 am

Hah! These are excellent.

Point number 4 is a huge one for me:

Empty your thoughts by writing them down!

I never realized how much energy I spend just trying to remember things I have to do. The head is a bad place to store them, they keep talking at you until they’re either resolved, forgotten, or written down. I’m sure there are still to-do’s bumbling around in there from years ago.

Getting them out of the chattering mind and onto paper takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

Great post, it made me think more about the ‘rushed’ feeling, and how I shouldn’t just let it take the wheel like I often do, I should address it. Thanks for the 15-piece toolkit for doing that.


Carole Fogarty March 24, 2009 at 9:33 am

Thanks all for your positive feedback. May we all experience a gentler flow to lives.

Peace, love and chocolate



Ted November 28, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Thanks for your blog and great articles, I have found a lot of answers to burning questions that I had…


Ken October 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for the post..Excellent pointers especially about the I trust advice. Wanting to control and know the outcome to my life’s decisions has been an ongoing downward spiral..But I guess accepting the unknown’s is apart of life..


Lavonn July 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Unbelievable how well-written and informtaive this was.


Joanne April 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Thank you!


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