How Slow Thinking Can Help Reduce Stress 

Let’s talk about how slow thinking can help you feel less stressed while getting more done.

It may be hard at first glance to notice a connection between taking the time to stop, think, and plan and feeling less stressed. After all, if we jump in and get something off the to-do list quickly, it should reduce our overall level of stress and our list of things that need to get done. Right? 

Wrong! Rushing into things and checking things off your to-do list randomly is one of the worst things you can do. You’ll feel more stressed than before and all that mental clutter will make it harder to relax at the end of the day. Instead of giving in to the feeling of being rushed and always running behind on everything you do, start by taking a deep breath and relaxing. 

Then make a list of everything you need to do or think you need to do. Some people call this a brain dump. The goal is to get it all out of your head and onto paper so you can stop worrying about it. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t edit. Don’t try to sort through it or come up with things in any particular order. Just write. 

Next, it’s time to put that slow thinking to work. Read through your list and see what you can cross off. Do you really need to tackle each item personally? Are there some things you can delegate? Transfer them to a different list along with a note on who you will delegate to and cross it off your list. Just as important is to cross off the things you think you “should” do, that don’t really need to get done at all. We all have those. Give yourself permission to drop them and never worry about them again. 

By now, your list should have shrunk considerably. If it hasn’t, go through it again. Then pick a few related things you want to work on this week or this month. Transfer them to your current to-do list and cross them off the master list. Stick the master list (what’s left of your brainstorm) in a drawer. It’ll be there when it’s time to tackle new projects. If it makes you feel better, rewrite it so none of the crossed-out things are on it. 

Now look at your current to-do list. This is the only thing you need to worry about right now. You’ve used your slow thinking skills to take the overwhelm out of your life. Do you feel less stressed? I hope so. Rinse and repeat this process as needed and you’ll be a slow thinking expert in no time.

Photo by sharon wright on Unsplash

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