Doing things at full speed and wanting to do as many tasks as possible, even being able to be doing several at the same time is not always the best way to act and live, since this is not sustainable in the long term because staying for a prolonged time enduring high stress levels can be very harmful to health.
The “slow living” movement consists of a philosophy of life, based on the way of living paying full attention to the present moment, focusing the senses on what is being done or contemplating at that precise moment, thus trying to enjoy each moment and spending as much time on each task as it takes to do it right.
What is the “slow living” movement?
The “slow living” movement emerged in the 80s and consists of a philosophy of life based on the way of living paying full attention to the present moment, focusing the senses on what is being done or contemplating at that precise moment, thus treating to enjoy each moment and dedicate to each task the time necessary to do it well.
Likewise, this does not mean that by following this movement you will live in a bad way or irresponsibly, since it could seem so because the word “slow” is often not well regarded and could be related to the term “lazy”.
However, in this case the slow living movement does not have negative connotations, just the opposite. In the times in which we live, in which things move very quickly, in order to adapt, people often have the feeling that they must rush through life, carrying more things at a time than they really ask to cover, pushing as hard as they can until there comes a time when they reach their limit and their body asks them to stop to recover.
On the other hand, the slow living movement goes in the opposite direction to that “fast track” in which many people live, without breaks and without dosing the tasks. So those who follow slow living try to do few things and really enjoy them (for example, there are ‘slow food’ restaurants, to eat calmly for 3 hours).
This movement was very successful thanks to various authors who spoke of the benefits of slow living, as opposed to the chaotic, hurried and anguished way of life that has to combine a lot of activities for your ordinary life. Thus appears the slow way of life, where each thing is given its time and a time is reserved for each thing. Therefore, instead of doing several things at the same time, they do less, even if they are few, but well done.
The people who follow the slow living movement do not pretend to be 100 people at the same time: a nurse, a wonderful mother, a paddle tennis player, a swimmer, a hiker, among other things, and with this we do not mean that you cannot have hobbies, get along work and maternity; However, sometimes it is difficult to carry various facets of life at the same time, so in certain cases it would be advisable to focus on the one you like the most, in terms of hobbies, or know how to dose and also know when it is necessary to rest because the your body may not be able to handle that level of stress.
Problems and difficulties it raises
Many people find it quite difficult to follow the slow living movement because they are subjected to a fast-paced lifestyle, through which they live a kind of autonomic hyperactivation, so they have certain risks of experiencing some mental health problems such as stress, anxiety or depression, among others, and this may be due to a real-time war in which they constantly live, fighting against the time that they would like to have, and it is also that there are moments that are too full and times that are too empty.
Today, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is difficult for us to get into the mentality of living fully in the present (“when I eat, eat and only eat”, “when I sleep, I sleep and only sleep”, “when I study, I study and I only study” and “when I work, I work and I only work”). But what actually happens these days is this: when I’m eating, I think I want to laugh with my friends; when I’m with them, I’m thinking about the work I have to deliver; when I go to bed I’m thinking about tomorrow’s tasks and when I wake up, I’m thinking about how well I’d be sleeping.
It is not by chance that there is a high percentage of people with anxiety, since today the levels of stress due to the fast-paced lifestyle that a large part of the population leads ends up causing different types of emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression. This may partly be because people who are under stress try to handle the pressure for a long period of time and don’t seek help until their body and mind ask for a break. Therefore, it would be important to implement some measures in order to prevent the increase in stress levels.
One of the ways to prevent those types of mental health issues that could end up developing from the hustle and bustle of everyday life would be to reduce multitasking, so we don’t try to cover 100 facets. In other words, instead of wanting to do 10 things at once, choose half or the ones that we can satisfactorily develop, choosing the ones that we think would fulfill and benefit us the most in the long term, truly participating with our whole being in what we do.
Many times we associate progress with improvement, quantity and wealth, but quality should be associated with a smaller number of activities that we enjoy and can make the most of.
How to follow the slow living movement?
The slow living movement can be very beneficial for those people who live a very busy day to day and need to take a break from their lifestyle so that it does not end up causing serious health problems. With this we do not mean that you should be radical when practicing this movement, since there are many situations and many types of work that require agility and speed; However, you have to know when to stop, when to dose and plan your day to day well so that things do not pile up and you try to do several at the same time.
There are also times when it might be advisable to make a list of priorities and, if necessary, set aside for a while some things that are not essential (for example, if at a certain time I have more work than usual, I have a partner and children with whom I want to enjoy my free time, I am practicing various types of sports and I am also learning to play the guitar; if I am suffering from high levels of stress, perhaps it would be advisable to put priorities in order and not practice so many sports at the same time and put some aside for a while).
In addition, the slow living movement can be applied to almost all areas of our lives: in food (slow food), in education, in sex, in leisure, in travel and even at work. On the other hand, the slow living movement is also focused on leading a sustainable lifestyle, trying to reduce the rate of consumption, so that only what is essential or necessary is bought, using new technologies rationally and favoring purchases in the local shops.
Therefore, following slow living means living calmly, enjoying the good things and giving each thing the attention it really deserves. Healthy living, sustainability and caring for social relationships are also promoted.
Tips to practicing slow living
As we have seen, there are times when it is not possible to practice slow living because our work may require us to be fast. However, it can be implemented at certain times of the day, even if they are small, although it would be beneficial to allocate a percentage of time to put it into practice, even if it is small, and for this we can follow the following tips:
- Try to be aware of the present moment and do things slowly and well done as possible.
- In free time, do some escapades outdoors and enjoy nature.
- Try to dedicate enough time and calmly to our loved ones.
- Practice mindfulness, yoga, meditation, or take a few minutes a day to reflect calmly.
- Decrease the time we are in front of the screens, since they keep us hyperactive all the time.
- Trying to use technology only when it makes certain things easier for us (eg, work, call a loved one, etc.).
- Establish a limited time for social networks, trying to disconnect from them as much as possible.
- Avoid consumerism, get rid of what we don’t need and think if we really need something before buying it.
- Put ‘slow food’ into practice, eating calmly and savoring each bite (similar to ‘mindful eating’).
- Try to prepare our food, with fresh products and focused on cooking, without distractions.
- Put our house and workplace in order, in order to lead a more orderly life.
- Plan the day-to-day tasks so that they do not pile up and you can dedicate the necessary time to them.
- Avoid multitasking.
- Practice ‘slow tourism’, disconnecting from the mobile and trying to fully enjoy the landscape and the experiences.