Shifting into the slow lane

October 16, 2015  |  no comments yet

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.

In the classic feelgood “59th Street Bridge Song,”* Simon and Garfunkel point out one of life’s quirks:  The more slowly we move, the more slowly time seems to pass. Slowing down really does make the morning last.

But doesn’t rushing help us get everything done? Doesn’t hurrying give us more time? Not according to our nervous systems. The faster we move, the more rushed life feels and the more stress our nervous systems perceive.

That’s why we give relaxation massage with slow hands.

According to neuroscientific research reported in a Huffington Post article and elsewhere, “how the brain perceives time passing determines whether our days feel luxuriously long, or short and harried.”

“Mindfulness allows people to appreciate their surroundings and can lead to the feeling that time is passing more slowly,” says clinical psychologist and professor of psychology Dr. Steven Meyers in the same article.

So we encourage clients to attend to the sensations of the body and the breath. We offer cues that help anchor us in the present moment.

We provide sensory input that your nervous system appreciates: Soothing touch, comfortable support, relaxing music (or silence), pleasant scents (or no scent), and pleasing temperature.

One of my favorite prompts during guided relaxation is, “Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to be.” Simon and Garfunkel capture that perfectly:

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.


* “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Paul Simon. Feel groovier by listening to it here.