Do you remember how you once desired a perpetually fast and exciting lifestyle that included fast food, new technology, trendy clothes, and other such things? But as the time passed, your mind, body, and soul began to yearn for greater comfort, leisure, and quiet. And at this point, the idea of a slow life, which is the antithesis of hustler culture, starts to make sense to you.
You may have learned about slow living from your friends or by simply stumbling upon the Instagram post that featured the #slowliving and other similar ones, which showed simplicity and the small pleasures of life that should be appreciated. You might have been even tempted to put down your smartphone and enjoy the peace after seeing them.
However, are you really aware of what slow living entails? If this piques your curiosity, continue reading to learn what slow living is all about and simple ways to get started on your own journey towards a slow life!
Origin and history of slow living
Slow living is a conscious approach to life that involves living slower (just as the name suggests) so you can appreciate each moment and prioritize what matters in life. It focuses on the idea that a fast-paced way of living is chaotic, whereas a slower pace encourages enjoyment of life, a deeper appreciation of sensory experiences, and the ability to 'live in the present.
In India, slow living is nothing that we haven’t done before. It has been our way of life through generations-long practice of mindfulness. Since the ancient period, we Indians have always been taught to live a life to achieve and maintain physical and mental wellbeing while emphasizing that the mind and body are intertwined. In basic terms, a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body, and vice versa. Ayurveda is the mother of the slow food movement, but the International Slow Food Movement, founded by Carlo Petrini in response to the rise in popularity of fast food in Italy throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This sparked the global dissemination of slow way of living.
The term "Slow Living" encompasses a wide variety of sub-categories such as slow money, travel, fashion and slow cities, which are proposed as solutions to the negative environmental consequences in alignment with the goals of the green movement.
Does embracing a slower pace of life make sense?
We’re constantly being told to “move faster” and “hurry up.” But what if we started taking our time instead? What if we adopted the principles of slow living and applied them to our everyday lives? While it may be difficult to change routines or ways of living after years of doing something, the outcomes are no doubt worth it.
The biggest misperceptions regarding slow living are that it means living your life in slow motion, being lazy, incapable of completing tasks, unable to use certain technologies, or lacking access to goods or services. But instead, it implies that you set priorities and form routines so that you don't rush through life and take each day as it comes. It also enables you to view your life from an entirely new, positive perspective. You will not only be more grateful towards life and people but your soul will be filled with gratitude more happiness, peace, and joy.
Living slowly isn't about wasting time by going slowly but it's all about gaining time by doing the tasks that are most important to you. “Slow Living” is also used interchangeably with a number of other terms.
“Being Slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life. You decide how fast you have to go in any context. If today I want to go fast, I go fast. If tomorrow I want to go slow, I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our own tempos.”
— Carlo Petrini
Some behaviors you can adopt to get on a slow living journey
Slow living is a conscious choice where it requires a deliberate and balanced attitude. From the past few years everyone appears to be aiming for a more simple, sustainable life, slowly but surely. Slow living has started to gain popularity, but remember that it is more than just a trendy topic. Since the majority of people already engage in a few slow-living and mindful habits, all one needs to do is look around and observe the slow life around them.
So, let's look at some points about how slow living can enhance the quality of your life and how you can integrate it into your daily routine.
Become aware of your breathing
The very core of life is breathing. The way we breathe has an impact on both our mental and physical health.
Take a few deep breaths now, and you'll see what I mean! It will not only help you to take a pause and rest before continuing, but you will also feel great and a lot lighter.
Yoga and meditation are two of the finest ways to practice your breathing exercises; they will significantly enhance your overall wellbeing, and you'll undoubtedly thank yourself for it. Simply lying down on grass or doing some ground movements on a mat to feel in tune with the earth and your breath can be the beginning of the path toward a slow existence.
Take breaks and embrace your interests
It might be challenging to slow down and take some time out for your hobbies when your day is packed with numerous things that need to be completed. This is when you need to decide to do less and handle things one day at a time instead of overworking yourself.
Put your attention on what's most crucial and what must be done right away, then let the rest go. Make sure there is space between tasks and appointments, so you can move through your days at a more leisurely pace.
Not only will this be fulfilling and satisfying, it will also free up time for your real interests that you would have otherwise spent overworking and stressing yourself out.
Spend time in nature
Be around nature, as it epitomizes slow living. Appreciate the environment and the nature around you. Enjoy and listen to the birds' chirps, the feel of the sun on your skin, the rustling of leaves and bushes, and the streams of water.
Realizing that the peace you can find in nature is unrivalled It frees you from your insane autopilot existence and reconnects you to the greater picture. Although going on a hike or camping for the night can definitely count as getting out in nature, it doesn’t have to! You can also enjoy a simple walk through the park on your lunch break, join a community garden, or simply just admire the sunset and starlight.
Develop self-compassion and patience
Most crucial principles for slow living and for living in general. Being compassionate and patient in everything we do and waiting for the right time instead of stressing out is one of the important mantras of slow living. If you are not patient with yourself, you will become agitated about everything in your life, and the pressure will begin to affect you physically and emotionally.
For example, have you ever baked a cake, taken it hot out of the oven, and then, eager to devour it, you bit into the tempting delicacy and got your mouth burned?
This is how one learns patience for the first time in situations like this. You are very excited and ready to eat the cake you made, but you have to learn to wait until its cooled down so you don’t burn your mouth and can enjoy the delicious sweet.
The value of patience in our lives goes beyond the personal. Having relationships where flaws are allowed and being empathetic, cooperative, and selfless are just a few positives of being patient and compassionate.
Incorporate Mindful Consumption
Being conscious of your buying decisions and carefully weighing the effects of your choices is referred to as "Mindful Consumption." Including mindful consumption in your decisions and choices will help you reduce problems like water waste, pollution, carbon footprints, and unfair labour practices.
Implementing it is easier than you think!
You just need to ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" This is the most crucial and cost-free step you can take before making a purchase. If you truly need it, consider how you can decide on more environmentally friendly options. Simply buying locally, mending rather than replacing stuff, selecting eco-conscious products that assure longevity and the use of sustainable materials, reusing items, and the list goes on, are all examples of mindful consumption.
If you practice mindful consumption, cherish soulful moments, are keenly aware of your surroundings, and are kind to your body and the environment, you're already on the path to a slower life.
Everything in life is about the little things, like the warmth of a warm meal on the sand dunes, the simplicity of a handwritten letter, an emotionally stirring inherited wardrobe, and everything you believe in. And this is what slow living stands for—its real worth is what it means to you, so go ahead and explore how it connects you with your authentic self.