For change, SLOW IT DOWN!

Tom Kearns, LMSW

When a speedy NBA or NFL player steps on to the practice field, inevitably they are told by a coach: slow it down. Drafted because of their speed or quickness, they are now being asked to pump the brakes. Why?

The speedster must learn to let the play unfold; to not rush or overreact. The athlete needs to understand the importance of letting things develop. Once the play unfolds, they can use their techniques and great physical attributes to burst through the opening. If not, the play can bog down and talents rendered ineffective.

The same idea holds when trying to change parts of our character. There is a need to slow down our reactions, thinking or worrying if we are to manage situations differently.

When the boss is upset with the work, our partner judges us too quickly, or a family member gets under our skin yet again, it is too easy to fall into our defenses of over reacting, worrying, staying silent or plotting a revenge.

As challenging or stressful situations happen, we need to respond with a slower speed. Try to concentrate on over-reactions and bring a calm to the situation so the moment does not get too intense.

By slowing down our reactions, we can usually manage situations more effectively. Then we can utilize our intelligence and implement the skills we have read about, observed in others, or discussed with a therapist or friend.

So try to skate along more in life, particularly when stressful situations come up. It always helps everybody. By slowing down our reactions we are usually more effective, less stressed and can create smarter opportunities.

Tom Kearns, LMSW