Practice the Art of Slow Living by Following These Simple Steps
Any lifestyle change requires a patient plan of action. So follow these steps to slow down in life.
There comes a point when the futility of running, completing and ticking tasks on your 'to do' list that gets longer and longer strikes you. What do you do? You become a monk, sell your belongings and go to the Himalayas? No, you just get the peace and pace of Himalayan life by achieving a reasonable balance between doing all and doing nothing.
Hurrying from one job or one place to another is a continuous movement that spins you in a loop. You become so accustomed to this pace and way of life that sitting still feels like committing a crime. Multitasking, productivity and busyness become an identity.
Creating a slow, simple and mindful way of living is the solution. This however, cannot happen fast. Any lifestyle change requires a patient plan of action. Transformation happens with mindful transition.
Here are some tips:
Negotiable and Non-Negotiable
Make a list of weekly tasks grading them as essential, negotiable, can be delegated and not required. Create a plan with few tasks to do every day. Don’t hesitate to take help. Review your list from time to time to reduce it further.
Think Today, Think Now
Mindfulness helps in decelerating. Be where you are. While making tea watch the dancing tea leaves in the golden decoction and listen to the sound of tinkling spoons and pouring liquid Close your eyes and sip. Open your eyes, you will find the world is still there, it didn’t collapse, despite you not dashing around.
Simple rituals help in creating a pause. Connect it with a habit to makes it easier. Ten deep breaths after brushing your teeth in the morning and night, calms the nervous system. Stick stickers with messages to smile, laugh or sing, around the house. Try to do the act whenever you read to enjoy tiny moments of bliss.
This is a huge game changer. If you track your electronic gadget usage, you will be flabbergasted. Unplugging frees up a lot of time. There is no need to join infinite social media websites or groups, and no compulsion to post pictures of whatever you do, eat and buy.
Checking emails and messages pressurize us to be constantly online, available and alert. Introspect the way you watch television or movies. Are you completely immersed or flip around to find something more entertaining, funny and hooking? This search is pointless. The numerous choices available undermine our ability to decide. Reduce the options to enjoy one thing at a time.
Relax, let go and disconnect computers, smartphones, tablets and television. Start doing it for few minutes every day. Later, you can try going offline on weekends.
Focus on Details
Savouring any present moment by immersing totally into it dramatically changes your perception. Counting the infinite shades of green in trees or watching a small puppy playing around helps to relax.
Notice how your kid’s eyes sparkle at the mention of an ice-cream, listen to the ringing joyful chuckling of your toddler or enjoy a cup of tea with your parents to experience their unconditional love, without thinking of the future. Just reading about this makes you smile, right? Do it and let time slow down.
Mind Your Words
Keep a track of the words and phrases you use frequently. Your list might include ‘fast’ ‘quick’ ‘speed up’ ‘hurry’ ‘run’ ‘too busy’ ‘breathless’ ‘too many’ ‘too much’ ‘no time’ ‘catch up’ and ‘finish’.
By generating a sense of urgency these words activate the sympathetic nervous system to create a flight or fight response which was crucial for survival of humans as hunters and gatherers in the past.
Today, there is no need for us to be constantly on alert to fight the paper tigers. By consciously removing these words from your thoughts and conversations you add an element of peace to every day life.
Declutter Home and Life
Clutter creates stress by seizing available time and space. Start by removing one thing every day from your home and life. Buy what is required without falling prey to ‘buy one get two free’ schemes. You will save much time and money by not indulging in unplanned shopping.
Take stock of your social commitments. Stop rushing to unnecessary parties instead, enjoy a simple dinner with your family. Pursuing a hobby can also be a great option.
Gratefulness has a positive physical, mental and emotional effect. By inducing a sense of abundance, it makes us feel enough and being enough. When we are satisfied, we are less likely to crave, want and binge. Reduction in the need for constant stimulation or to prove makes us restful.
Let time be a tool. If it becomes a master our lives will always revolve round the clock.
Conventional time measured by clocks just records its passage. It doesn’t speak about the quality of experience in time. When we rush around time flies and we never have enough.
We are hooked to a timeline that offers us no respite and pulls us away from the present moment. Wisdom of what is important and significant prevents us from falling in into the loop of zooming around mindlessly.
Slow living is finding the right equilibrium and pace to live consciously by cherishing every experience.
Be flexible, be free and be restful. Now is the time, ‘then’ is uncertain.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel.)
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