Internationally best-selling author, journalist, and speaker Carl Honoré, advocates for parents and families to SLOW down in order to foster calm in their lives. He has worked extensively with schools and families to teach the benefits of SLOW and how to get there. He teaches that when we go too fast, our health, relationships, and quality of life often suffer. Through slowing down, we are able to be present, enjoy our relationships, and find greater meaning in our lives. Through the lens of Heart-Mind well-being, this translates into an enhanced ability to feel Alert & Engaged, Secure & Calm, and Get Along With Others.
"Speed Check” is quick and easy exercise developed by Carl Honoré to help parents, teachers, and kids slow down. It asks us to check in with how fast we are performing a task, and then provides tools for slowing down if needed through connecting to breath and the present moment. Speed Checks can be performed at any time throughout the day, and are particularly beneficial during transition times that are typically hurried – such as getting out the door, mealtimes, and bedtime.
To perform a Speed Check:
- STOP what you are currently doing – don’t worry, it will only be for less than a minute! – and create a moment of awareness.
- ASK yourself: Am I doing this too fast? Could I slow down?
- If the answer is yes, then take 5 DEEP BREATHS, and return to what you were doing more SLOWLY.
Slowing down really is that simple! When repeated over time, bringing awareness to the speed we are living at can help us build a habit of SLOW – which, Carl Honoré reassures, really means doing everything at the RIGHT speed. Doing less, disconnecting from technology when appropriate, and incorporating “slow rituals” in our lives, such as the Speed Check, are other ways that Carl advocates families embrace SLOW in their lives – or, as he puts is, “finding your inner tortoise.”
A 2016 neuroimaging study found that mindful attention to breath reduces emotional responses in the amygdala, the fear center of the brain. It also found that mindful attention to breath increases connectivity between the amydgala and prefrontal cortex, the brain region responsible for reason, logical thinking, self-regulation, and other executive functions.
A US study found that people are viewing their smartphones more often than ever before, on average 52 times per day.