Discover the Art of Slowing Down: 10 Essential Rules for Enjoying Life More
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It’s a paradox of our modern lives that, despite our time-saving technologies, we seem constantly caught up in a whirlwind of activities. Our lives have become fast-paced and frantic, leaving little room for true enjoyment.
Nevertheless, there is an alternative. Let us rebel against this hectic lifestyle and embrace a slower pace, allowing ourselves to savor life’s moments.
A leisurely life entails relishing the mornings rather than rushing to work in a frenzy. It means taking the time to appreciate whatever we are doing, immersing ourselves in the beauty of nature, and genuinely engaging with the people we interact with. Instead of being constantly glued to our Tablets, iPhones, or laptops, consumed by work tasks and emails, we could focus on one task at a time and give it our undivided attention.
Slowing down requires a conscious decision, which is not always easy. However, it leads to a deeper appreciation for life and a heightened level of happiness.
Here’s how you can achieve it:
Simplify your schedule. It’s challenging to slow down when trying to accomplish a million things. Make a deliberate choice to do less. Focus on what truly matters and needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Create gaps between tasks and appointments, allowing yourself to move through your days in a more relaxed manner. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied by the culture of ‘immediacy’.
Be present. Merely slowing down is not enough; in order to cultivate wellbeing one has to set the intention beforehand. In other words, give yourself permission to be well, then be mindful of moments that bring you joy and really take it in – soak in that moment. Whenever your mind drifts to past or future thoughts, gently bring yourself back to the here and now. Concentrate on your current actions, surroundings, and the people around you. Although it takes practice, this skill is crucial.
Disconnect. Resist the temptation always to be connected. If you carry an iPhone or other mobile device, switch it off. Even better, learn to leave it behind whenever possible. If you spend most of your day working on a computer, allocate specific times to disconnect and focus on other activities. Remaining connected at all times exposes us to constant interruptions, perpetually stresses us about incoming information, and subjects us to the demands of others. It’s challenging to slow down when constantly checking for new messages.
Prioritize people. We often spend time with friends, family, or colleagues without being present. We engage in conversations while being distracted by our devices. Physically, we might be present, but mentally, we are preoccupied with our thoughts and tasks – the next place we have to be or attend to. None of us are immune to this, but with conscious effort, you can shut out the outside world and fully engage with the person in front of you, meaning that even a short amount of time spent with loved ones can be much more meaningful—a truly effective use of your time. Genuine connections with people are more important than mere encounters.
Embrace nature. Many spend most of their time indoors, whether in their homes, offices, cars, or trains. Rarely do we seize the opportunity to step outside. And even when we do, we often remain tethered to our cell phones. Instead, make time to venture outdoors and soak in nature’s wonders. Take a deep breath of fresh air and enjoy the tranquility of your natural surroundings. Engage in outdoor activities like nature walks, hikes, or swimming whenever possible. Allow yourself to feel the sensations of water, wind, and earth against your skin. Aim to do this daily, either alone or with loved ones.
Savour meals. Instead of hastily devouring our food, leading to overeating and a lack of appreciation for what we consume, learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite, appreciating the flavours and textures. Eating slowly has the added benefit of making you feel fuller with less food and enhancing the taste. Consider incorporating more whole foods into your diet, seasoned with aromatic spices, instead of relying on fats, salt, sugar, and frying for flavour.
Drive at a leisurely pace. Fast driving has become a prevalent habit in our fast-paced world. However, it is also responsible for traffic accidents, stress, and wasted fuel. Instead, make it a habit to slow down when you drive. Take the time to appreciate your surroundings. Turn your driving time into a peaceful period for contemplation about your life and the passing scenery. By adopting this approach, your drives will become more enjoyable and significantly safer, all while reducing fuel consumption.
Find pleasure in everything. This practice builds on the concept of being present, taking it a step further. Whatever you’re doing, fully immerse yourself in the experience, appreciating every aspect and seeking the enjoyable elements. For instance, when washing dishes, don’t rush through it as a tedious chore to be completed hastily. Instead, savor the sensation of water, suds, and the dishes themselves. Even this task can become enjoyable if you can learn to see it that way. The same principle applies to other chores like washing the car, sweeping, dusting, or doing laundry. Life can be much more enjoyable when you cultivate this simple habit.
Focus on one task at a time. This approach contrasts with multitasking. Concentrate on a single activity at any given moment. When you feel the urge to switch to another task, pause, take a deep breath, and return your focus.
Breathe. When you are speeding up and stressed, pause and take a deep breath. Take a couple more deep breaths, allowing yourself to feel the air entering your body and the stress dissipating as you exhale. By immersing yourself in each breath, you return to the present moment and slow down. Try it now and experience the difference it can make. And if you want an even bigger effect, make your exhale longer than your inhale.
If you are ready to embrace a more relaxed and fulfilling lifestyle, don’t forget to check out our programmes, books and other valuable resources. At the British Association of Anger Management we help you manage your emotions and guide you towards a slower and more enjoyable way of living. Take the first step towards a calmer and happier life today!