SLOW down to CALM down



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 & EngagedSecure & 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[1]. 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:

  1. STOP what you are currently doing – don’t worry, it will only be for less than a minute! – and create a moment of awareness.
  2. ASK yourself: Am I doing this too fast? Could I slow down?
  3. 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[2] 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.

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.