In today’s world of fast-paced lifestyles where everything is rushed and done in the blink of an eye, living an intentional life seems difficult to achieve. But this is when it’s absolutely imperative that we learn how to slow life down. Let’s discuss some beginner steps to make this happen.
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Most of us have always been told that time waits for no one, that life rushes past us much too quickly, and we have to keep up or we’ll miss out. We’re supposed to figure out life before 18, get an amazing job before 25, get married before 30, have 2.3 children by 35, and so on.
In other words, we have to move fast until we achieve our dreams and succeed in life.
But even though we may achieve our dreams, the question is how many of us are happy? How many of us are draining ourselves in the present for the hope of a promising future?
Well, that’s the thing about fast living — it never lets us enjoy slow and simple moments. Everything is one more task to be checked off a list and then immediately move on to the next thing.
I can relate to that. It’s hard when everything is happening so fast and all you want to do is pause, but your mind won’t let you because you just ‘know’ all.the.things must be done.
But not anymore! It’s time to take some steps toward slow living.
You don’t have to change everything at once! Honestly, that might even be more stressful than the way you’ve been living.
But you CAN make REAL changes that will make a huge difference…
What Is Slow Living?
Slow living is about how you live your life… how you plan your day, how you communicate with people, how you spend your available time, how you shop, and how you decide what matters most.
Slow living emphasizes simplicity over luxury and happiness over money.
That might sound self-indulgent to some people… but it’s more about how we build a life for ourselves that leaves us enough energy to support others and improve society. This is absolutely essential when you find yourself on life’s hamster wheel as an overwhelmed overthinker.
Does that mean you need to abandon your job, sacrifice your possessions, and move your family to an off-grid wilderness for a slow living life?
Well, I suppose you COULD if it fits your true family ideal, but it’s not actually necessary. I will say that working on slow living did prompt me to make a career change, and I absolutely believe it’s possible that anyone who WANTS to make that kind of change can do it, so I do look at things from that perspective. 😉
But for now, how about some very simple, basic steps? Read on…
5 Beginner Steps To Slow Life Down
1. A slower approach to everyday life
How do you spend your day? Do you work hastily, trying to get done with your chores as fast as you can — even if it involves completely draining yourself in the process?
Okay, that’s the opposite of slow living. Slow living asks you to not spend the day in a rush; it requires you to cut yourself some slack.
At the same time, it doesn’t either mean that you should abandon all your work. Instead, it means maintaining a balance, and doing things according to your priorities, while enjoying life as much as you can.
Try this: Look at that chore list with a fresh perspective. How many of those things are you doing because you’re ‘supposed’ to? Try removing some tasks for a week and see what happens.
2. Being mindful
Most of us are either thinking about the past or the future instead of the present. We are so fixated on things we lost, or things we want or plan for the future, that we’re never satisfied with what we have.
At the same time, all of the things we do every day get little true attention.
But when it comes to slow living, mindfulness is a must. It’s about seeing and fully experiencing things around us, evaluating our lives, habits, and people we acquaint ourselves with.
It’s also about finding moments of peace and beauty in what you might see as mundane tasks: cooking dinner, doing laundry, folding clothes.
Maintaining a journal, doing guided meditation, practicing yoga, etc. can encourage mindfulness. At the same time, lifestyle habits like slow and conscious eating and nature walks can also contribute.
Try this: Practice mindful eating. Stop at every meal and take three deep breaths before eating. Then, as much as possible, focus on how each bite affects how you feel as well as how it tastes.
3. A connection to community
Thanks to technology and the pandemic, everything has gone virtual. However, much of our communication has been reduced to a comment or a like on social media. In short, we have begun undermining the essence of meaningful relationships.
And with our busy lives, can you even count how many friends with whom you’ve lost touch? I have a feeling there would be many.
Community is important because it provides us with a sense of belonging. When we have friends, we’re less likely to feel lonely or isolated — which can lead to poor mental health. Friendships within community also help build resilience, which is how we’re able to bounce back from difficult times.
Spending time chatting with friends and neighbors, smiling at the people on the street, and saying hello to the people working at the coffee shop are ways we can slow down and build community.
Try this: Regularly practice the art of conversation with people of all different ages and backgrounds. Slow down how you communicate and focus on the person you’re with. Instead of blurting out quick responses, really take time to listen and understand how the people in front of you feel.
4. A commitment to purpose
Most of us don’t know what we are doing; we are simply going with the flow. We have lost purpose, and it is the very reason why we are losing the true meaning of life.
That being said, slow living can provide you an opportunity to stop and reflect, evaluate your choices, and live with a purpose in life.
This can be a scary prospect. What if we realize our purpose doesn’t mesh with the life we’re currently living?
It’s okay to take your time to deal with that! Think about what small things you can do from where you are right now that would better align with how you really want to live. Use a printable dreams and goals worksheet to start firming up your ideals and how you can make them happen.
Try this: Journal for a week or two to get some clarity on your purpose and feelings. Then, do one thing every day that relates to working toward bringing your life in line with your personal purpose.
5. Consuming less
In today’s world, we are always looking for the next thing that will make us happy. Living a rushed life means your mind is never fully in the present moment, and you don’t value what you have because it’s just never ‘new’ or ‘fresh’ enough.
The more we live slowly, the more satisfied we become with how much we have. We begin to take the time to deeply consider how things look, what went into making or acquiring them, and how they make us feel.
You don’t need as many things when you start living slowly because having to spend so much time obtaining and caring for all the ‘stuff’ doesn’t serve your long-term needs or desires.
- Stop shopping for recreation or out of boredom.
- Gradually adopt a capsule wardrobe.
- Gift experiences instead of things.
More Inspiration for Slow and Intentional Living
The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less – Tanya Dalton
The inability to slow life down can lead to stress, worrying about how we’re not productive enough, how our relationships are lacking, and more. When we get overwhelmed and start overthinking like this, we constantly feel like there’s never enough time in the day or enough we can do.
And although we may not realize it, we’re really living how other people think we should live.
I’m not saying don’t have ambition — with that bit of drive, it’s possible to live our dreams every single day! Slow living isn’t about slacking off; slow living means making choices and finding true joy from within yourself instead of relying solely on external factors like money or achievements.
If you can begin to slow down, start appreciating all the things around you, and use your ambition to bring your tasks, belongings, relationships, and needs into alignment, then your life will become so much richer.
That’s all from my side. I hope this post has helped you see the importance of slow living and how you can begin to use it in your own life. Slow living is indeed life-changing, and it’s high time you experienced the benefits as you Build Your Best Life.
You’ve got this!
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