We live in a fast paced world where we have to be constantly on the move. Yet, we all have those moments when we are forced to stop. We would like to share some of the different ways to slow down.
Slowing down is a conscious choice, and not always an easy one, but it leads to a greater appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness.
It’s an irony of our modern lives that while technology is constantly under up-gradation that saves us time, we use that time to do more and more things, and so our lives are more fast-paced and hectic than ever.
Life moves at such a fast pace that it seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. There’s something or the other that always keeps us busy – and we barely take time out to slow down and soak in the little things of life.
The pandemic, however, changed a lot of things and forced us to live indoors and shift our focus to doing things that we never tried before.
A friend gifted me a book The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down written by a Korean Zen monk Haemin Sunim and as I read through the pages, there was a certain sense of joy.
“Is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?” The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to… – These words by Haemin Sunim made me pause at times and motivated me to reduce the pace of my life.
Now let’s get honest – slowing down has to be a conscious choice, and although it might sound like an easy affair, it’s not always easy, but it can surely lead to more happiness and a greater appreciation for life.
Here are some simple ways to slow down that you can follow and enjoy your fife to the fullest:
1. Do less.
The first way to start is by doing less. We have trained our brains to think that we need to do it all and become an achiever.
Amidst all of that, appreciating, enjoying, and savoring life doesn’t just happen. It’s actually hard to slow down when we are trying to do a million things.
Instead, if we make the conscious choice to do less, our efficiency will increase. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest.
2. Do one thing at one time.
I know you’ve been acing at multi-tasking – but here, I would request you to ditch that and get back to single-tasking.
Yeah, there are chances that you’ll miss out on somethings. But then, what you’ll do will fetch you much more satisfaction.
Focus on one thing at a time. Put in your best efforts in doing it. You’ll be thrilled to see the end result and it’ll be better than your expectations – trust me.
3. Live in the moment.
Most of the time, we are either drooling over the past or wondering about the future. We barely try to focus on the present.
When you find yourself thinking about something you need to do, or something that’s already happened, or something that might happen … gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
Focus on what’s going on right now – on your actions, on your surroundings, on people around you. Enjoy what you have right now, and that’ll fill your heart with contentment.
4. Speak less and speak slowly.
Your attentive presence will make a difference in the quality of your communications and the depth of your connections.
What we say and how much we say directly leaves an impact on our lives. Before you speak up, pause for a while and think – ‘Is it necessary to say this?’, ‘Is it true what I’m saying?’, ‘Does it make any sense to the person I’m saying?’
All these questions will eventually help in assessing and you’ll end up speaking only what is essential.
Speech uses up a lot of our vital energy. Consider speaking less, listening more, and taking periods of silence to replenish yourself.
5. Focus on self-care.
While we join the rat-race of life, chasing success, luxuries, and more – we often forget to take care of ourselves. If we can shift our focus and take good care of ourselves, we’ll eventually learn how to slow down as well.
Take time out to nurture your health, body, and soul. Practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis. Oil your hair and give yourself a perfect head massage.
Eat good food and eat slowly, give yourself the time to enjoy the taste. Sit down with your notebook and journal about the happy moments of the day. Practice doing this for a week and you’ll get to see the difference.
Do you have any idea what your daily screen-time is? Well, by screen-time, I mean the time you’ve spent looking at your screen (phone, laptop, television, etc).
In today’s date, we are extremely dependent on gadgets and even if we’re doing nothing, we keep staring at the screen, scrolling up and down.
The best way to slow down is to unplug and disconnect. Once you choose to be away from the gadgets, you’ll be able to connect with yourself more.
Experiment with digital sabbaticals and see if they make a difference for you. Start with shorter breaks – maybe a few hours daily and then move to take a day’s digital detox on a weekly basis.
7. Sit under the sky at night.
In the hustle & bustle of our daily lives, we forget to appreciate nature and its beauty. If we choose to sit quietly under the stars, we can experience and appreciate, in a wordless way, both the mystery of life and the vastness of all that is.
This can also help you connect with the spacious reservoir of wisdom that lies within when it’s not obscured by constant thinking, relentless business, or continual engagement in things that aren’t as necessary as you think they are!
And imagine how wonderful it would be if you get to spot a shooting star!
Last, but not the least. The act of mindful breathing is the best way to slow down and appreciate the fact of being alive. Every time you feel rushed or scattered, take a break and slow down, focus on your breathing, and fill your lungs with freshness.
Take deeper breaths, feel the air going in, and the stress flowing out of your body. Remind yourself about the goodness of this moment, when you are alive. Know that you are not missing out on anything.
I’ve been living in the mountains for the last one month and the best times I’ve had are those that I spend looking at the valley, sitting aimlessly as the sun rays fell on the trees gently.
I hear the birds chirping, as I enjoy my cup of tea every morning. I’ve rekindled my habit of journaling on a daily basis and I feel nourished and connected to myself than ever before.
I hope you can feel that too, as you consciously commit to slowing down.