6 Ways To Start a Slow Living Lifestyle
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We are over-worked, over-connected and over-stressed, and we compete over how busy and sleep-deprived we are. But we don’t have to. Slow living is a rejection of the fast-paced modern life that glamorizes busyness. Having a calendar full of events doesn't mean we are living fully. By settling into a gentler pace of life, we can find the time we need to live in the moment and truly be present in our lives, increase our sense of wellbeing by being less stressed and enjoy this beautiful life instead of rushing through it.
Slow living is a way to find happiness by stepping away from the never-ending demands to constantly succeed, achieve, multi-task, do more, have more and be more. The philosophy of slow living is about taking time to enjoy the pure joys of life: a walk in the forest, sharing laughter with family, a leisurely morning coffee, a personal moment of gratitude. Reconnecting with the world can help us integrate moments of peace, joy, and mindfulness into an otherwise rapid life.
“Doing a huge number of things doesn’t mean you’re getting anything meaningful done.”
Leo Babauta, The Power Of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
1. Reduce your screen time
This is one of the most important aspects of this list. We live in the digital era and it's easy to get overwhelmed with how fast-paced everything is. Everyone anticipates notifications and emails they get from their phones, and it's the primary source for living a fast-paced life. By reducing your screen time, you focus better on the present. The thing about social media, emails, and gadgets, in general, is that you get this notion that being busy and productive is the best way to live. If you're not getting emails or tasks, you think you're not living your best life- which is a false notion. It doesn't mean that you should never use your phone or laptop, but rather, you shouldn't run towards it first thing in the morning. Your mental health is much more essential than the emails and notifications you're getting.
Meditation is one of the healthiest practices you can do to make the most out of your present moment more. Meditation helps you focus more on the present and avoid constantly rushing towards things. When you're used to living in such a fast-paced world, you forget to focus on the present moment and you tend to obsess over what's to happen in the future. Through meditation, you gain clarity and peace with the present moment. Instead of rushing towards your to-do list for the day or your deadlines for the week, meditation helps with gaining focus on what really matters. Of course, this isn't an implication to avoid doing your work. Meditation just helps you find the perfect balance amidst living in a fast-paced lifestyle. Meditation is the perfect practice that helps you focus on your breathing and let go of your thoughts that are obsessing on what the future holds.
“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections–with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds”
Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed
3. Wake up earlier
A lot of people are guilty of being late for work for the reason that procrastination is an easy habit to dwell into. You alarm your phone an hour before the time you have to leave for work, and that's precisely why you're always rushing in the morning. If you're always running late in the morning, you won't have time to appreciate the present morning. To put it simply, you won't appreciate the best things about mornings such as having a peaceful breakfast, with a cup of coffee. If you want a slower lifestyle, you have to go to bed earlier so you'll be capable of getting up much earlier. This way, you're not always rushing into your morning routine.
4. Do less
Ultimately, you can't live a slower-paced when you're focused on doing a variety of things, all at the same time. We've talked about appreciating being in the moment and in order to do that, you have to do fewer things. Realize that productivity doesn't equate to your worth. You're not less successful or less remarkable if you're not busy with a variety of tasks. In fact, you'll end up more distracted and anxious by attempting to balance everything in a singular moment. For instance, let's say that you're trying to do various hobbies, all at the same time. This is an example of taking advantage of the fast-paced life. If you intend to focus on your writing, do one task at a time. You can't put that much pressure on yourself, especially if you want to slow down your life.
5. Communicate with people
When we say communicate with people, this doesn't refer to social media platforms- this refers to the present time. If you're with someone, engage in a conversation with them, and actually listen. One of the factors that make fast-paced lifestyles seem routinely and dull is that nobody ever has time to listen anymore. If you're in a conversation with your boss, your co-worker, or anyone in your life, it's best to actually listen to what they're saying. Don't just listen for the sake of responding, but actually be present in the conversation. Communication isn't just about the responses you give, but it's how much you process what the other person is saying.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
6. Appreciate the simple pleasures
In relation to being present, you have to learn to appreciate anything and everything in your life. Gratitude is quite a powerful emotion in countering the stress and anxiety that a fast-paced lifestyle gives. By focusing on the things you enjoy doing, you take a break from life itself and appreciate the present moment. For instance, when you're working out, instead of focusing on how many pounds you lose after your run, you could instead focus on the beauty of your environment. When we say appreciate the simple pleasures, this refers to enjoying the beauty of your surroundings and what you do.
While a fast-paced life has become the new normal, this can be extremely damaging to your overall mental health and well-being. By slowing down and focusing more on the present moment, you gain clarity and precision on what really matters in life. A fast-paced life is all about moving towards the next task and finishing deadline after deadline. While this is normal, you don't have the time to catch a breath. You end up missing out in the present moment before you even know it.
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