Slowing down, savouring, and supercharged well-being

Is it time to reset your life to a more natural pace?

Slowing Down

It’s no secret that we live in a fast-paced world, where productivity and busyness are glorified. And this acceleration of life is leaving many of us overwhelmed, inattentive, and superficially engaged. It’s clear that to reconnect with what it means to ‘thrive’ in life, we must learn to slow down, use our time more mindfully, and regain a healthier balance in our schedules.

For millennia, our ancestors aligned their personal schedules to the ebb and flow of nature; they used the pace of the daylight hours, changing seasons, rainfall patterns, and even animal movements to structure their lives. It is only since the dawn of the Industrial Age that we have turned our backs on natural timing and have become entrapped by artificial schedules, accelerating lives, and constant distractions.

The impact this frenetic pace is having on our happiness and well-being is profound: two-thirds of us constantly feel like we don’t have enough time for our tasks; our attention span has dropped to all-time lows (as short as 8 seconds, in some instances); we are spending less time with our friends and support network, and; the constant push for hurrying and busyness is leading to an increase is stress-related diseases and disabilities.

Tea ritual

The Importance of Slowing Down

According to Carl Honoré, an accomplished writer, broadcaster, and prominent advocate for the Slow Movement, slowing down does not mean moving at a snail’s pace through life but rather finding the right speed that allows us to be present, mindful, and focused on one task at a time.

In German, this concept is called “Eigenzeit” or “own time” and it encompasses the idea that every person, every task, and every situation has its own innate pace. Eigenzeit teaches us that all of life doesn’t have to be lived in a hurry.

The well-being benefits of developing a more mindful relationship with time are astounding:

  • We experience life at a deeper level; engaging our curiosity, gratitude, and savouring of life’s moments
  • We create the mental space to make wiser decisions and find creative solutions
  • We reconnect with our natural rhythms and become more present in our bodies
  • We allow more profound healing to take place – giving ourselves the space and awareness to process grief, trauma, and emotional pain
  • We connect with ourselves more fully, and with others more deeply and authentically
  • We heal from our addiction to adrenalin, drain stress from our bodies, and reboot our parasympathetic nervous system
  • We see the world more clearly, experiencing depth, texture, layers, nuance, and meaning.
Relaxing women

How do we slow down?

Slowing down to life’s natural pace is not something we can do overnight, or without effort. However, there are several simple ways we can start to unwind the frenetic pace of our modern lives and learn to live more mindfully:

Embrace the concept of the “vital few” to navigate our hyperconnected world. Rather than getting caught up in distractions and unnecessary obligations, focus on what truly matters. By identifying and prioritizing activities that align with our goals and values, we can increase productivity and reduce overwhelm.

Tune in to the pace of each task with Eigenzeit. Recognize that everyone experiences time differently, so don’t rush just because others around you are in a hurry. Speed up or slow down according to the nature of the activity at hand. Writing to a deadline? Get that rush on! Cooking dinner for friends? Slow the pace down and savour each moment.

Let go of FOMO (fear of missing out). These days, we can be bombarded with options, opportunities, and possible experiences. However, you don’t have to experience everything, all the time to live a full and meaningful life. Choose activities that bring you joy and energy, and let go of the rest.

Prioritise downtime and rest. Break free from the addiction to busyness and allow yourself time to relax. Disconnect from work, limit screen time, take vacations/holidays, and prioritize quality sleep.

Practice the Pause to cultivate stillness and mindfulness throughout your day. Instead of rushing from one task to another, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, centre yourself, and determine the appropriate speed for your next task.

Incorporate meditation into your daily routine. By quieting your mind and body, you can reconnect with the natural rhythms of the universe, drain stress from your body, and find inner clarity and peace.

Slowing down in a fast-paced world may seem counterintuitive, but it holds immense value for our well-being and fulfillment. By embracing slowness, reconnecting with natural timing, navigating grief and emotional pain at our own pace, finding a balance between speed and slowness, and filling our days with mindful activity, we can rehumanize ourselves and reconnect with the meaning and joy of life itself.

I am making 2024 the Year of Living Deeper and, throughout June, I am focusing on the depth of life we experience when we slow down.

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