What's the rush? Slowing down the pace of life can have an astounding effect. It may not be too much of a stretch to say it can make you richer, thinner and even a better parent. Really! When you try to juggle the intense and often conflicting demands of a job and family and still have a fraction of "me time," rushing through the day may seem like the only way to fit it all in. Enter the Slow Movement, a cultural shift aimed at slowing down the frenetic pace of everyday life. "Finding a slower rhythm can improve just about every part of your life and your health," writes Carol Mithers in Ladies' Home Journal, who offers specific ways you can slow down -- and reclaim -- your life.

1. Slow Spending
Slow spending will probably require a major mind change. Instead of whipping out a credit card to make impulse purchases, you embrace spending discipline. That's not to say you'll never get to buy a flat-screen TV or those funky new shoes, but what it does mean is that you ask and answer the hard questions: Why am I buying this? Do I really need it? Can I actually afford it? Will I use it? Is its value in proportion to its cost? Is buying it consistent with my values? Slow spending allows you to reduce or get rid of debt and teach your children the value of limits.

2. Slow Weight Loss
Diets that boast quick weight loss may work in the short term, but there is a very high chance all that weight you lost -- and then some -- will come creeping back soon enough. When you lose weight slowly at the rate of one to two pounds a week, you're far more likely to keep it off. Fast weight loss is fueled by a fad diet, while slow weight loss requires a lifestyle change. Slow weight loss gives you time to break your bad food habits and create new, healthier ones.

3. Slow Parenting
If you need a computerized calendar just to coordinate all your children's many activities and carpools, it's time to chill, Mom. What would happen if you spent a season with no scheduled activities? Your children will likely discover something new: imagination. They'll realize how much fun a big, empty box can be, and they'll create new games that don't require a controller.

4. Slow Hobbies
Knitting a sweater, cross-stitching holiday ornaments or pursuing any hands-on hobby will force you to slow down and sit down. You'll learn patience and deliberation. The repetitive and rhythmic motion of knitting or stitching will create a sense of soothing peace and calm. And you'll even have something to show for it in the end!

5. Slow Conversation
When we talk to one another, we share specific information, instructions and explanations -- usually delivered quickly and to the point. Ah, but conversation is different. It can circle and digress. It is punctuated with laughter and even silence. It is the foundation of friendship and marriage. To engage in real conversation, you have to make time for it. It doesn't work in an e-mail, text or on the phone. It requires in-person face time with no time limit and no cell phones to interrupt. What happens in the end? You'll feel connected.


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