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Why Slowing Down Increases the Quality of Your Life

By Joanie Marx August 29, 2022 Mindset

How many times have you found yourself feeling weighed down with an unexpected life crisis that involved your health, finances, relationships, and even the state of the world?

What if I said a life crisis can be avoided, stress relieved, and the overall quality of your life improved by slowing down an overly active life?

In my previous article and video for Sixty and Me, I referenced two specific patterns in the lives of women and men over 60 that lead to a life crisis and how this is directly related to avoiding unpacking your emotional baggage.

  1. Resistance to change
  2. An overly active life

Since we already covered what resistance to change is, in this fourth article of a four-part series on “Unpacking Your Emotional Baggage After 60,” we will look at what an overly active life means in relation to a life crisis and your emotional baggage.

Overly Active Life

When a life crisis crashes into your world, it jars you out of your normal routine, and often places you in fight or flight mode. While these experiences appear to come out of nowhere, the warning signs for them are everywhere.

These signs are often muted by an overly active life.

Even if you are not consciously aware of them, you surely feel their weight. That is because these signs are directly related to the increasing burden of the contents in your metaphorical suitcase.

So, how do you get out ahead of a life crisis before it happens?

Slow down the incessant chatter of your inner critic by slowing down an overly active life. For this is how you also unpack your emotional baggage.

I Found Out the Hard Way

An active lifestyle is essential to our overall well-being, especially for those of us over 60.

Yet, in a society that raised us to believe outer activity equals inner peace, it can be difficult to process what is occurring in your inner world if you are constantly on the go.

This is especially true when life appears to be going smoothly on the outside. In these instances, the signs of a potential crisis are ignored, as is the mounting stress of resisting change.

For even when life is going well, the immutable law of change is ever present. To ignore this is to create the space for unnecessary crises to emerge. Like many in our generation, I found this out the hard way.

Running on Autopilot

When I first went through the process of consciously unpacking my emotional baggage several decades ago, what amazed me was how I forgot about the stress of my emotional baggage when my life was sunny and running smoothly.

In those moments, I didn’t pay attention to how much I was resisting change, let alone what contents of my emotional baggage required unpacking. As a result, I ignored the signs of an oncoming life crisis.

This temporarily placed me in the hospital.

Yet, as I look back on those experiences, I did feel the weight of the contents in my emotional baggage. Convinced I did not have the time to unpack them and believing my constant flurry of activity would solve everything, I was running on autopilot.

The way this looked for me is rather than listen to the voice of my authentic self, and slow down, I was taking advice from my inner critic. This meant my life was speeding up and becoming more frantic.

How did I slow things down and get a handle on what was truly going on in my life?

I took full responsibility for my emotional state.

Your Emotional State

Taking responsibility for your emotional state is about identifying the root cause of what creates these painfully repetitive experiences in your life. This is where unpacking the contents of your emotional baggage helps you get out ahead of a life crisis.

But if you are engaged in constant activity on the surface level of life, you will unconsciously push yourself to the point of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.

This is precisely where a life crisis shows up, forcing you to open your emotional baggage.

What If Unpacking Our Emotional Baggage Didn’t Need to Be Preceded by a Life Crisis?

To answer this question, I went back to my journal. Rather than write about what I did not like about these experiences, I began to write out the breakthroughs, lessons, and gifts I was gleaning from my most troublesome life crises.

In the companion video for this article, I share additional insights and guide you through the same process I have used to reframe my perception of a life crisis.

In the meantime, here are three journal prompts to help you further integrate what you have learned in this article.

  1. How often have you found yourself listening to your inner critic in times of a life crisis and being steered away from the contents in your emotional baggage?
  2. What does your inner critic say to you and how does it manipulate your experiences with your emotional baggage?
  3. What recent or previous life crisis did you feel the weight of but did not address early on because you were distracted with an overly active life? Identify which contents (beliefs) stored in your emotional baggage played a role in this experience.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you find yourself looking for activity instead of looking to slow down? Has outer activity veiled your struggle with your emotional baggage?

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Thank you!

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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