The Power of Slowing Down

Feb 15, 2024
Stress and medications can feel like a hamster wheel

Go, go, go.

Do, do, do.

Think, think, think.

Plan, plan, plan.

Worry, worry, worry.

Have you ever felt that life was just an endless cycle of the above?

There are so many people I talk to in coaching who feel “stuck on the hamster wheel” of life – running and running and barely keeping up with it all.

As a matter of fact years back, “hamster wheel” was the phrase that my first coaching client—an accomplished psychiatrist—used to describe her life. She found herself tired and stressed and working and worrying all the time, and she’d become dependent on a benzo medication to hold it all together.

But in the long run, a medication is not a great adhesive to hold life together. Eventually it takes its toll. It takes more than it gives.

Medications are not the solution they were promised to be by doctors and psychiatrists and big pharma.

Eventually the stitches come apart, leaving a person feeling scattered and unmoored and wondering who gave us the idea that the medications were a good idea in the first place.

Oftentimes I think that people might become reliant on medications because they are unwilling to pause the “status quo” in order to truly care for themselves or realign priorities in life.

Even when the signs are evident—physical and mental pains, anger and depression, worry and sleeplessness—many people refuse to say, “Stop! I’m hitting the pause button and will move in a new direction because the old one isn’t working! I am going to take time to truly care for myself, whatever that means, because if I don’t nothing will get better.”

I was there at one point, too. When I first got on Paxil and Xanax I was experiencing panic attacks in college. I was actually willing to drop out and perhaps seek a different path until the anxiety subsided, but family members didn’t want to see me hit that pause button so close to graduation and the start of professional life.

It was a confusing situation for us all.

A doctor suggested Paxil and Xanax.

In the long run, an extra year or two before graduation—if it had meant no pills—would have saved me a lot of pain.

As humans in the year 2024, we are impatient, and often lured into the idea of  “quick fixes.”

Even if it is obvious that something isn’t working, sometimes we will plow forward so that a quick pace of life can continue without interruption.

But eventually, we are forced to slow down, like it or not.

I was forced to slow down as I got off medications. There was no other option.

At first, I was knocked down by the withdrawal symptoms, but eventually the “forced pause” and realignment in my life was about more than just withdrawal symptoms. It was about recognizing that a different way of life was necessary. One that was more spiritual, more health conscious, more creative, more thoughtful, and no doubt more “outside of the box” when compared with much of society.

There is a quote from Gandhi (one that is also at the front of my Lovely Grind devotional book) that says: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

Isn’t that the truth.

We are humans—soulful beings created in the divine image of God. We are not robots tasked with ceaseless productivity and ever-increasing output.

Our lives are about recognizing and cultivating beauty. In ourselves, in other people, in nature, in our futures.

Our lives are about caring for ourselves, laughing, and finding adventure and little pieces of daily joy.

We need time to rest, to cook, to create, to simply allow the mind to go blissfully blank while sitting in the sun or out in the woods.

We need time to watch the birds, time to read our books, time to wander, to dream, and to converse with God in our heads.

Maybe the withdrawal and healing process is forcing you to slow down in some respects right now. That isn’t a bad thing. Rather than getting frustrated and angry about it, see how an occasional “forced pause” might be useful for you.

What does it force you to notice about the world around you? What does it encourage you to do to care for yourself? What does it cause you to pray to God for, and what can that prayer tell you about how you want your future to look.

I’d bet that you probably aren’t praying for more money right now, or a promotion at work, or a skydiving trip.

I’d bet you are praying for peace, normalcy, joy, and increased wellness.

Think about how the desperate desires for those things might direct your future path.

Be okay with slowing down to heal and restore.

Be okay with downsizing if necessary.

Be okay with creating a life that truly cares for yourself and fulfills your needs.

Be okay with a life that puts a relationship with God and time spent with family ahead of material concerns.

This healing process is truly about pursuing a “new way of living,” one that is perhaps slower than what the world promotes.

Again, we aren’t robots. We are complex and wonderful human beings with eternal souls, and we need to do whatever it takes to heal and then build our best and most spiritually fulfilled lives.

Even if that means slowing down.

Remember, there is more to life than simply increasing its speed.

I hope that you are able to enjoy a few beautiful “moments of pause” this week as you continue to nurture this special journey you are on.

Until next time,


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About the Author

Michael Priebe is a writer and wellness coach who has helped people from all over the world understand antidepressant withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and healing. In coaching he has worked one-on-one with individuals from nearly twenty countries, and his Lovely Grind YouTube videos inspire thousands of viewers each month. He invites you to inquire about his coaching today to find the knowledge and inspiration needed to fuel your own wellness journey. 

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