Action Item #5: Slow Life Down

Of all the Action Items, #5 can be the hardest or the easiest for people. (Confession time: it’s the one I still work on.) It’s probably the most far-reaching of the AIs, but likely the most fun. In the midst of great Primal fare and Grok approved exercise, there’s the rest of life after all. This Challenge emphasizes genuine transformation, and that means optimizing all the major fronts of life and lifestyle. Overhauling your diet and movement will absolutely reshape your health, but true thriving encompasses a broader, more nuanced sense of well-being. It’s about fulfillment, contentment, and vitality – both physical and mental. Just as the other Action Items guide you to examine and often revamp your daily choices for better health, #5 brings the same scrutiny and strategizing to other aspects of life. The purpose is familiar by now: to let go of practices that don’t serve your well-being and implement those that do.

What does it mean to “slow life down”? It means releasing the white knuckle obsession with speed and efficiency, connectivity and complication. It means adopting a rhythm that allows you to cultivate attention and intentionality in your life. We’re better able to be present and enjoy everything from a good meal to a meaningful relationship. We’re more focused on how our body feels during a workout or a meal rather than on what the latest health magazine tells us. Ultimately, slowing down calls us to bring life more in balance with evolutionarily defined patterns. It’s about connecting with those Primal expectations that nudge us toward everything from sleep to simplicity, intimacy to productivity. When we understand our Primal patterns, we’re able to optimize the benefit of modern conveniences and minimize their drawbacks. We’re able to cut out what is simply modern static and feel back in control of how we enjoy our daily life.


A lot of people come to the Primal Blueprint having tried all kinds of complicated and regimented diets. Meals have been more about counting or weighing than enjoying. For others, eating has long been more of an afterthought in their lifestyle. A meal is an exercise in speed, and convenience has trumped both actual healthfulness and a deeper satiety.

Slowing down your diet means realigning your relationship with food. It’s about getting back in tune with your body’s response to food. It means learning to differentiate between real hunger and the past roller coaster of carb cravings. It’s about recognizing your body’s response to authentically filling, nourishing food. It means enjoying the full experience of a meal and walking away from the table (yes, the table and not desk/kitchen counter/car) fully gratified. Let yourself savor your food again. Rediscover dining as a leisurely indulgence.

What to Do:

  • Plan and prepare meals that appeal to all your senses.
  • Eat when you’re genuinely hungry rather than when the clock suggests it’s time for another meal.
  • Give yourself the time to enjoy cooking. Make it part of your time with friends, a partner, or family.
  • Take the time to sit and savor each meal. Make eating a fully gratifying experience by setting the table or finding a perfect spot under a tree. Put on some good music. Taste each bite. Enjoy the company of good friends and family.

Further Reading:

You Are How You Eat
Mindful Eating: The Art of Being Present at the Dinner Table
Cooking as a Spectator Sport


I’m a big fan of the convenience and entertainment modern technology offers. I have my favorite shows, I like my smart phone, and my business these days depends upon the Internet. Nonetheless, I don’t let my life revolve around a digital sun.

With mobile technology, it’s too easy to get caught up in a pellet mentality – obsessively checking email, pulling out the PDA whenever there’s a spare ten seconds. When we buy into hyperconnectivity, we too often disconnect from the reality in front of us. Even when we put the digital device down, we’re distracted thinking about the status update or gloomy news story we just read. The constant state of interrupted thinking becomes addictive to our vigilant hunter-gatherer brains and can leave us feeling jangled and exhausted for no good reason. When this happens, the digital realm isn’t a convenience to us anymore. It’s a burden. Get back in control of your time and energy. Set practical boundaries for your media usage, and situate your mind in the present concrete reality. You’ll enjoy what you’ve been missing.

What to Do:

  • Set “business hours” for your PDA, and stick to them. Your family will thank you, and you’ll be surprised how much extra time you have without the major time suck in your hand.
  • Prioritize your media viewing. Choose the social media groups, websites, and shows that you truly enjoy or learn from the most. Then see if you can focus your media time by using a DVR or watching online streaming versions of your favorite shows. Doing so will allow you to be in control of your own schedule and let you skip past or reduce commercial time.
  • Avoid the overstimulation of screen time before bed and choose something relaxing instead.

Further Reading:

Mired In Media
How the News Impacts Your Health (and What You Can Do about It)


So many readers tell me they’ve spent years running themselves into the ground with punishing workouts. Others have gritted their teeth each day going through the motions of a dull, uninvigorating exercise regimen. It’s time to get back in touch with what cultivates genuine vitality.

Learn to listen to your body. What’s your physical condition today? What’s your level of mental energy? How does your body respond to different workout practices or environments across the spectrum of physical and mental vigor? Check in with your body and not just your agenda. Hone your intuition.

What to Do:

  • Harness the power and motivation behind your natural competitiveness, but don’t let it get the better of you. Value your workout partnerships and personal physical condition above a competitive edge.
  • As you get ready to exercise, ask yourself what kind of workout will serve your physical or mental well-being that day.
  • Make time for totally spontaneous workouts when you let your creativity and mood dictate your movement.
  • Don’t be afraid to lighten or even skip a workout if that’s what you body needs.

Further Reading:

Listening to Your Body
Winging It: Fun, Spontaneity and Intuition in Your Primal Life 
Workout Suggestion: Planned Spontaneity

Personal Time

It’s so easy to fill our personal schedules to the brink that alone time is often a five-minute shower in the morning. Nonetheless, we all benefit from solitude, and some of us (depending on our temperament) require more to bring our best self to the rest of life. There’s real power in knowing yourself and serving your needs despite the guilt trip many of us give ourselves.

Genuine well-being calls us to invest in ourselves. It obliges us to fill the well, to fulfill needs and instincts that go beyond diet and exercise. When we give ourselves time to unplug from our world and everyone in it (as much as we love them all), we can decompress from the duties and stressors that fill our days. We can restore ourselves, bring hormonal and emotional baselines back to a healthy levels, and bring our better natures to whatever the day holds. Have you been living the full measure of your humanity – and individuality? Need a refresher?

What to Do:

  • Ask yourself what you’ve wanted to do for yourself but haven’t because you have too much going on. Is there an old hobby you want to revisit? Do you miss evening bike rides after dinner? Have you been planning to begin a meditating practice for as long as you can remember? Commit to it today. These things matter.
  • Ascertain the time wasters in your life (e.g. excess TV, PDA surfing, unnecessary commute time) and trade them for some quality solo ventures.
  • Set aside (yes, put yourself on your own schedule) no less than 15 minutes a day for pure, unadulterated alone time. Plan for longer breaks or getaways over weekends or vacation time. Consider going for broke and taking a solo retreat.

Further Reading:

The Power of Solitude: Why You Should Spend More Time Alone
The Restorative Power of a Personal Retreat
Total Immersion: Tapping Into the Power of Flow
The Pleasure Principle
20 Ways to Cultivate IE in Your Life


The pace and nature of modern life seems to increasingly devalue close relationships. In the age of Facebook, LinkedIn, and every other virtual network, it can feel like quantity trumps quality. At the end of the day, however, who would back you in a fight with a saber-toothed tiger? What would Grok think of your 872 Facebook friend count? Famous anthropologist Robin Dunbar says comparative cultural records indicate we’re designed to maintain an intimate circle of about twelve people (family and close friends) and a larger social circle (e.g. neighbors, coworkers, casual friends, etc.) of approximately sixty (the upper limit on traditional hunter gatherer band size). Let’s just say modern measures don’t always jive with Grok standards.

The heart of this Action Point: be more genuinely present to your nearest and dearest. That doesn’t mean de-friend 812 people tonight, but it does mean paying less attention to your virtual network and more to your family and close friends. In the end, these are the folks who determine your social wellness. They’re your support network, and you’re part of theirs. The mutual give and take of close relationships is as embedded in our genes as the need for healthy fats – and that’s saying something. Take time during the Challenge to nurture your social animal.

What to Do:

  • Make the most of your social time by leaving the digital devices off or at least out of sight.
  • Do something to invest in your intimate circle today. Surprise your partner or the kids by getting home early from work. Call your best friend and plan an evening on the town this weekend.
  • Give some genuine face time to someone in your social circle this week. Meet for lunch or an early morning racquetball game.

Further Reading:

Are Humans Hard Wired for a Limited Social Circle?
Social Wellness, Or Why Friends Should Be a Health Priority
The Primal Blueprint for Busy People – Part II: Social and Naturalistic Wellness

Sleeping Habits

We pride ourselves on being a nonstop society, and we’ve long since moved beyond a “sun up to sun down” schedule. Sometimes it’s just more convenient to get work or emails done at night. Other times, we just want to stay up late to finish a good movie. The problem is, these modern opportunities take a heavy toll on our hormonal cycles. You’ve likely heard of the circadian rhythm. It’s our body’s innate, natural schedule, and we throw a proverbial wrench in the system when we mess with its various cues like light, sound, temperature, and food. When the cues are disrupted, so goes the hormonal cascade associated with the circadian cycle. Melatonin release is compromised, which means a poorer quality sleep and dampened responses in metabolic and brain activity associated with a full sleep cycle.

The solution isn’t complicated. As much as possible, adapt your nighttime routine to evolutionary patterns – especially those geared toward light and dark. Make the hour – or ideally two – before bed as calm, relaxing, and dark as you can. For some folks, this means turning off a few lamps and enjoying simple conversation with a partner before bed. Others might save their yoga routine or leisurely walk for later evening hours. A happy few might decide to take a warm bath and curl up with a book before bedtime. However you approach it, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to get a genuinely good night’s sleep when you’re not obstructing your body’s natural rhythm.

What to Do:

  • Dim the lights two hours before bedtime to cue your body toward relaxation and sleepiness.
  • Avoid using electronic devices, TV, and other blue light sources in the couple hours before bed.
  • If you have to work at night, download f.lux software or wear yellow lens sunglasses to minimize blue light exposure.
  • Make the hour or two before bed a time for rest and relaxation. Avoid stressful activities and conversations.

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Sleep
How Light Affects Our Sleep
17 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

High Energy Mornings

Once you adapt your sleep habits to allow for a full sleep cycle, you’ll find you have more energy in the mornings. A good evening routine goes a long way toward beginning the day rested, but a few other adjustments can ensure optimized energy and focus.

  • Sleep with as much darkness as possible, but expose yourself to bright light when you get up to feel more awake and help boost serotonin activity. Ten minutes of bright light (especially the more pleasant glow of natural sunlight) just might make that cup of coffee obsolete.
  • Get up early enough to allow for a sane morning. Give yourself time for a simple yoga session, a morning walk, or a leisurely shower and breakfast. Rushing around in the morning squanders energy (not to mention incites a bad mood).

Further Reading:

Grok Never Needed an Alarm Clock, So Why Should You?
How to Wake Up and Feel Alert


We pride ourselves on working hard, but are we making the best use of our energy and time? Too often we relinquish real productivity through overstimulation. We relentlessly multitask, wearing ourselves down and diluting our mental energy with every swerve in attention. Productivity isn’t measured in time. Nor is efficiency driven by obsessive immediacy.

The truth is, we’d be better served operating from a Single Peak Performance model – the good old, one-task-at-a-time approach. Whether we’re an E.R. nurse or a software designer, we work better when we work focused. That means an unbending attention to the task at hand. Multitasking beyond the demands of walking and chewing gum at the same time rarely pays dividends. We’re more likely to make mistakes, forget a step, and just feel fried at the end of the day.

What to Do:

  • Quit the losing (and exhausting) game of multitasking. Give yourself the chance to focus on each task and don’t squander energy and concentration flitting from one thing to another and back. Plan your day as much as you can into longer, focused blocks with specific functions like email and project time.
  • Minimize distractions throughout the day by avoiding irrelevant stimuli and unnecessary stressors (e.g. web news, traffic).
  • Maximize your focus and energy with regular breaks. Take short breaks of 1-3 minutes every 20 minutes or so. Get up an move (or rest if you have an active job). Take longer breaks of 10 minutes every couple of hours, and don’t skip a real break of at least 30 minutes on your lunch hour. Get some bright light, bask in the sun, and invigorate yourself with a brisk walk or some mood elevating music.
  • To minimize the negative effects of sedentary work, stand at work as often as you can.
  • Try a totally new approach to work by taking it outside whenever bosses and schedules allow.

Further Reading:

The Scattered Mind: Finding Focus in a World of Distractions
The Art of Work: Avoiding the Pitfalls of a Sedentary Job
Why You Should Work Outside

Slowing life down is ultimately about prioritizing comprehensive well-being. It’s about optimizing our energy to meet all of the responsibilities in a day with some to spare for fun and fulfillment. It’s about nourishing our more nuanced health needs like social wellness. It’s about making time for self-enrichment. In the hectic modern world, it can take vigilance to maintain the mental space for these endeavors, but that’s what ultimately defines thriving over surviving.

We can find the key to basic physical health in our evolutionary roots. Likewise, I think our evolutionary blueprint serves as the ultimate guide for a deeper sense of wellness and balance. Just as the Primal Blueprint provides a framework for living a long, healthy life, the extension of the PB in my upcoming book The Primal Connection, applies the evolutionary lens to creating a fulfilling, content, and happy life. It’s about reconnecting with essential, timeless principles that have governed our health and survival for eons.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Let me know your thoughts on what slowing life down means to you during this Challenge journey.

The Primal Connection Available January 2013!

Are You Hyperconnected … and Disconnected?

The hectic pace of modern life distracts us from a painful truth: we are disconnected. Disconnected from our DNA recipe, forged through the selection pressure of human evolution, to enjoy health, happiness, and peace of mind. Horns, office chatter, and whirring machines batter our ears with incessant noise. Artificial light and digital stimulation overstress our nervous systems day and night. Traffic jams, long lines, interruptions, distractions, and big egos pervade daily life in such a manner that we don’t even realize the piece—or rather the peace—that’s gone missing.

In The Primal Connection, Mark Sisson, the leading voice in the Evolutionary Health movement, and bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint, expands on the premise that each of us is born with the genetic blueprint for a fit, lean, healthy, and productive life, presenting a series of guidelines to trigger the feel-good hormones your hunter-gatherer genes are hardwired to expect. As you make the mind-body connections, you will redefine your core values, discover your own pace, and make time for play, adventure, quiet reflection, friends and family, and optimal rest and rejuvenation.

Time To Get Primal!

  • Go barefoot—cures foot and back pain
  • Play in the dirt—boosts mood and immune function
  • Wear sunglasses at night­—promotes sound sleep
  • Family before Facebook—strengthens your inner circle
  • Commune with nature—relieves stress at the biochemical level
  • Power down when you should—learn to single-task
  • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude—appreciate simple gifts, roll with punches
  • Redefine wealth—includes free time, fun, and fitness, too

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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49 thoughts on “Action Item #5: Slow Life Down”

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  1. That’s a great post, but it seems (ironically) a bit overwhelming to see all the ways we need to slow down.

    I’ve spent the last few months really focusing on doing one thing at a time. To the extent some part of my life doesn’t allow that, I try to eliminate that part of my life.

    I still have a really long way to go, but I’ve definitely noticed progress. And once I made a few little positive changes, it has actually gotten easier to make the big ones.

    1. I agree it’s a great post, but with lots of detail. I didn’t think ‘overwhelming’. Instead, I thought, ‘Super! There are lots of links here and lots to think about, and a useful summary of much information. I now have the luxury of many Mark posts to read over the next few days, and can revisit this one later, too.’

      1. Adrian: Sorry if my response sounded unsympathetic or sanctimonious! I really struggle with slowing down, and what I tend to do is go slow when I’m exhausted, but not drop anything that I want to do, so I feel even farther behind! Your idea to do one change at a time is a good one.

        I did really think that it was great to have so much to read and digest in this post, though. I think it’s because I have made a little progress on these issues and I saw the material as a worthy excuse for some me-thinking time.

  2. Multi-tasking – how do you persuade kids to let their Mum not have to multi-task??

    1. I agree. Especially around meals. I have a hard time having relaxed meals when I’m constantly jumping up to get something for someone, or cleaning up a mess. I’m seriously considering eating separately!

      1. I agree with Jenny… Multi tasking is something all mothers need to do. But then, when I need to get something done that requires 100% concentration and (hopefully) no errors, I use child free time. This has been at night but after reading this I think I’ll switch to mornings so I can log off at night (and hopefully sleep better!)

        I’m lucky I guess in that I can be a stay at home mum, so I start preparing dinner at 3pm. I know it sounds excessively early! But without a doubt I will be interrupted a million times so I get started early so I can cook from scratch and we can eat when the kiddies are hungry (around 530) and I don’t have to rush… Preparing food slowly and thoughtfully is so relaxing once you learn to let go. Then, I get the table ready, and then we eat. Kathy, once we start there’s no getting up to get something for someone or cleaning minor messes… That gets done after. It means I get to chill out and eat and converse with hubby etc. And try to tempt my all-of-a-sudden fussy two year old to eat (hope this is a short phase) but yeah…. It’s a little boundary I’ve set – I’m not the slave. im the mum. it only takes a week of saying no for your fam to respect the new rule… Might be worth trying?? Just something that works for me 🙂

      2. When I lived with my parents they’d commonly ask me to get them things during meals. I hated it. Sure, they paid for the food and fixed the meal, but it doesn’t give them the purpose to expect that I should act like a servant. Also unlike them I had to walk around the table to get to the kitchen. Want the plum sauce? Need a butter knife? You know where they are. None of this “I was on my feet all day so I shouldn’t have to inconvenience myself (subjective) for something I want” crap.
        I’m attempting to convert the world to my simple views.

        1. Another thing I find detestable that some people do is being very prying and controlling. (taking things out of someone’s hands, pulling at their clothes etc.)
          I find it dreadfully annoying when someone says, “Oh that’s a nice shirt!” and starts tugging on the fabric and playing with it.
          Some people treat independent others like babies who haven’t learned to do anything for their self, or pets. I’m guilty of this too. When I was younger I’d pet or pick up my cats sometimes when they didn’t want to be touched because I thought of them sort of like “stuffed animals”. A few times they scratched me. I deserved it. It repulses me to think I behaved in a such a domineering and inconsiderate way.
          Even my dog was able to understand this. If I was sitting on the couch she would pretty much make out with my arm, which I didn’t enjoy, so I’d pull it away and gradually she would try it less.

  3. I really love this one: “As you get ready to exercise, ask yourself what kind of workout will serve your physical or mental well-being that day.”

    I used to be so regimented with my workout schedule, doing weights Monday and Wednesday, Yoga on Tuesday and bike riding Thursday and Saturday, for example. I often felt trapped into doing what I had put into my calendar.

    I mentioned this to my sister, and she said she just does what feels right that day. It made sense and it’s so liberating. If I’m stiff I do yoga, if I feel strong I lift weights, if I’m real energetic I do my sprints, if I’m exhausted I rest. Works great. Super advice!

    1. Great advice! I need to let go of my schedule and do what feels right.

      1. jeeeze – i gotta check my schedule to see if any of this is doable….. (not… 😉 )

  4. Other’s expectations. About 5 years ago I joined a group of women I’ll call the Hikers Group. Breakfast every Saturday at 8 a.m. and an annual trip to hike the Appalachian Trail. BTW, no hiking any other time! 🙂

    Over time, many of the group have retired and changed the show up time to 9:15 a.m. At first I continued my attendance but hated the new time. It meant we’d still be chatting at 10:30 or even 11 some days. Really cutting into my work around the house time.

    Last year I began to take back control of my life and not attending every Saturday morning was top on the list.

    I love my decision but hate the “awkward” questions about why I’m so busy all the time. It’s true, though, working a normal workweek and caring for a home all alone, there just are things needing to be done on Saturday morning so that the rest of the weekend belongs to me.

    Enuf said.

  5. I think that this has been addressed before, but i am wondering when how many hours before bed should i eat my last meal or snack? anyone know?

    1. Wouldn’t this also depend on the individual? I have problems with reflux (still not 100% primal) and sleep much better if I don’t eat dinner – I usually don’t eat or drink anything but water the 5 or 6 hours before bedtime. But I worked that out by experimenting on myself and seeing what worked best, and I can’t imagine that would be right for everyone.

      1. I’ve found that if I eat a big breakfast, a hearty snack at lunch time, and “dinner” at 3 pm, I’m done for the day. When my husband switched to this eating schedle, he started losing weight. Me, too.

        1. Yes. Breakfast mostly protein, hearty late lunch and very light snack between six and seven. Oh, and a small but strong cup of chamomile tea an hour before bedtime seems to help alot with sleeping better!

          I haven’t lost any weight by the scale, but my jeans are fitting better. My system seems to like this routine. It might have as much to do with the sleep as the food.

        2. Chamomile is a very effective tea for relaxation. I’ve started with cups with three or four chamomile tea bags in them and ended up with I think 9 at the most. I can’t claim clarity regarding that. I think I recall 11 teabags from one cup. I like to reuse teabags and cups and make different mixtures so sometimes I’d have more than one cup at once. I’d often mix in mint with chamomile or a bit of camellia if it wasn’t too late or was decaf. Chamomile is calming, soothing, and enhances dreams. It may increase serotonin and is anti-inflammatory.
          In Pine River rehab there were some tea selections: green, orange, lemon, chamomile, mint. I think ginger or ginger-lemon and a few others sometimes. At snack time just before bed I’d make potent tea, usually with chamomile, and then suck the water out of the tea bags. When asked about my pedagogical consumption of tea compounds I said I was attempting to have exciting or lucid dreams and get the herbal relaxation benefits. It caught on. Other residents started drinking chamomile. Some of the staff thought this was too close to a drug experience and limited everyone’s chamomile intake. I wasn’t allowed to suck the water out of my dregs.

    2. I eat when I’m hungry or when I have room and food is available and it’s been working alright. I think it doesn’t make sense to go to bed hungry unless you’re fasting but doesn’t really matter when the last time you ate is otherwise.
      I suppose eating too close to bed would promote fat storage since you’re absorbing calories while your metabolism is slowed. Probably a good way to counter that is to use up your glycogen stores before eating.
      Pre-primal (17-19 years old) I was usually able to stay lean (9.4% body fat at one time) by eating a filling breakfast, vegetables or other snacks during the day (and often protein bars), lots of activity throughout the day with a possible mini-workout or some groove-greasing, and workouts in the afternoon and or night, followed by relaxation and feasting. (Picture: sitting at computer wearing stereo headphones watching DVDs or engrossed in a video game in a dark room with the window open, blinds down, and the fan on high, hefty bowl of trail mix with chocolate chips and berries and spoon nearby, maybe a big glass of chocolate milk). I also had an after school part time janitorial job at 17 to 18.
      I was very determined to put on muscle so I’d work hard and then eat a lot, sometimes until I hurt. I had a high intake of energy products and drugs, which probably played a part in keeping me slim. This night-eating method was effective but had drawbacks. I wasn’t properly digesting a lot of the food I ate. It was like I was cramming it in one end while forcing it out the other. There’s some cashew chunks, there’s a few little pieces of carrot…
      I barely experienced such horrors when I was a kid, except with corn, which was amusing, and I’ve learned if you eat the sprouts that won’t happen and maybe if you chew it well and thoroughly. But as a kid I’d sit in class where eating wasn’t allowed and my mom packed my lunch, which was always at least somewhat healthy, and sometimes gross enough that I wouldn’t even eat it. The food had time to be metabolized and I needed it. That’s where I want to be.
      SOAD: “Eating seeds is a pass time activity/ The toxicity of our city”

  6. I’ve been doing a lot of tinkering lately, trying to organize my life. With barely any obligations I’ve been feeling lost. Also bored because I’ve been “killing time” instead of using it. I was carrying around extra fat from pointless, emotional overeating. I was scared I wasn’t getting enough nutrition and protein so I’d gorge. I’d laze around when I had extra energy. I’d eat too much that I’d be too full to work out comfortably before the next meal (scheduled > staying in shelter). Out of the blue I’ve decided to motivate myself more. A 24 hour fast, broken with a plate of vegetables, followed by a 21 hour fast helped re-regulate my appetite. From there things seem to be getting easier. I feel better. For me, even a little “extra” fat makes a substantial difference with balance, maneuverability, and energy levels. While lean I feel like I should be moving and enjoy lots of movement. It’s an advantage.

    1. For sure, the fast can help put things in order for me too. It seems to not only regulate my appetite but energy as well. I’m on IF #3 this week, feeling really good.

      Thanks for another great post, Mark–slowing down is my #1 issue… I appreciate all the ideas here.

  7. Hear, hear. We don’t seem to operate generally on a level that corresponds to what a “natural human pace” would be. And it’s killing us.

    Plus, HT Seth Godin, don’t hurry – if you don’t have time to do it well, when are you going to have time to do it over?

  8. The hurrieder you go, the behinder you get.

    Never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

    Time to read more Pursig. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

  9. I’m so excited about the release of the Primal Connection. That (observing how our modern Western lifestyle seemed out of sync with our biological rhythms and social needs) is what really brought me into the primal fold. The primal diet and exercise were/is just a bonus.

  10. When you learn that its ok to say “no” or to not join a group, or do yet another activity, you find that you are a lot happier.

    1. I think some people are scared of their own company. They run here and there 24/7 in an effort to avoid being alone with themselves. The first rule of learning how to slow down should be: Learn to be comfortable with who you are.

  11. One thing that didn’t get mentioned is DRIVING. Up until recently I would often find myself very impatient at the wheel when I would get behind slow drivers (usually seniors) or get caught in a construction zone. Even when I was not pressed for time this would really stress me out. I finally took a hard look at this and decided to re-frame the way a react to these situations. Now I just take a deep breath, find a good song on the radio and belt out a tune. I still find myself getting impatient and having to remind myself to chill out but making a conscious decision to react differently has really helped.

    1. I agree. I used my half-hour commute as MY time to transition between work and home. Sing along with the radio!

    2. I live on a country road, though it is a conduit for a couple of wood mills in the next town, so the heavy vehicle traffic is constant and some of the accidents on this road have been horrific. My mindset is that if I am stuck behind a slow truck or car, I tell myself it is preventing me from having an accident up the road, turn up the music and look out the window. I also try and allow plenty of time to get to my destination, or ring ahead to tell people I will be l ate. Takes the pressure off. Take care on the road, particularly you young ones, I have 3 sons driving now, and I try not to over think that fact,

    3. What a great idea! I also found myself getting upset at other drivers. I decided during meditation this morning that I would respond to other drivers as I would a best-loved child. It immediately helped me relax when an idiot passed me on the right and exceeding a safe rate of speed. (Bbbaaaddd idea to pass a semi on the right). In Atlanta traffic jams, I’m the semi driver with the window down, belting it out with Josh Grobin or maybe the Beach Boys.

    4. Makes me think of Jeff Lindsay’s description of Miami traffic.

      1. I like to embrace and control frantic energies rather than waste them raging at whoever is the indirect cause or in range.

  12. This one is sooo tough for me…still is. i have such a tough time slowing down my life. With my anxiety issues I think I need to take this way more seriously!

  13. This was an awesome post!! I am a big fan of Slow Living and feel it has so many benefits. The list you’ve laid out is a great reference and “status check” for my Primal life and I will refer back to it often!

  14. I work the standard 40 hours per week, and variably throughout the year they may all be in front of the computer during one week (or another…or another). Top if off with teaching an online course and it is hard to unplug because my living is on the computer. Sure I could teach in person, but that has its disadvantages.

    I have taken to reading in evenings when I think to do it. Read by candlelight in bed. Works well for relaxing myself to sleep. I think I really did sleep better.

    Hard also is that I am a night owl, even though I know I do some of my best and most productive work if I am on an early-to-rise kind of schedule. I know I need adjustments, like most of us do. In the end, it really comes down to the decision to take that next step (assuming it doesn’t turn an aspect of your life upside down when you’re not prepared to deal with the consequences (like working at the school: extra commute time, more grading, more stringent preparation of lectures, etc.)

    I have faith I will find balance one day because I know I want it. Probably more than anything else. Someday, I will find it. I hope everyone does! 🙂

  15. I like what you suggest about sleep habits but what happens when you live in an area where in June the sun goes down at 11:20 pm. and comes up 4:30 am. and in December the sun goes down 4:30 pm and comes up 8:30 am?

  16. “we’re designed to maintain an intimate circle of about twelve people (family and close friends) and a larger social circle (e.g. neighbors, coworkers, casual friends, etc.) of approximately sixty”

    Jesus and his 12 then he also had the 70

    1. I walked on water yesterday. It was dark and I stepped in a puddle but kept moving and got my foot out before it was fully submerged. My shoe was barely wet. Perhaps the mud under the water made it dense enough. I was wearing flat-bottomed, light, slip-on shoes. They’re comfortable and utilitarian and flexible enough that I consider them primal.
      A few times I’ve managed to traverse snow without making the usual deep imprint. I might practice that this winter. I’d like to be able to sprint sprightly on the snow like Legolas or Drizzt Do’Urden.

  17. As a massage therapist, I like that my work is very peaceful and relaxing. I do work hard but it is not stressful at all. I think people getting regular massage is very helpful. Touch is very important to people of all ages. Hug your loved ones. Hold their hand. Like the saying goes….reach out and touch someone!

  18. People spend so much time rushing around these days that life passes them by. It’s important to take a step back every once in awhile and actually notice your surroundings. This can also help with stress levels.

  19. I am SO excited about the new book! There is a ton of excellent nutrition and fitness information/advice out there, but there is less genuine writing about healthy life habits. One of the many things I like about Mark- he treats life as life and not some game where you get the most points if you eat a perfect diet and have a perfect exercise regimen. Hopefully there will be some good subversive ideas in there about wealth too 😉 Yes, January cannot come soon enough!

  20. So pumped for the new book . I’m sure it will turn even more people onto the primal way of eating and exercise.

  21. So many things in here need to be done.

    “Quit the losing (and exhausting) game of multitasking.”

    This is something I’ve struggled with for a while. But finally I’ve found an easy solution. I made a simple checklist each day when I woke up of things I needed to accomplish. So far it’s worked really well and I’ve been on top of everything from homework to health.

  22. Internet and smartphone distractions are my weaknesses. I have a bad habit of checking social media statuses and email literally every hour. It takes away from my focus on my work -horrible I know but awareness is the first step right? Thanks for the post, lengthy but full of quality.

  23. I am actually grateful to the holder of this web site who has shared this wonderful paragraph at at this place.

  24. nature slows us down… start spending more time outdoors. find activities that suck you into nature, like surfing for example. Good luck!