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The Art Of Slow Living: What It Is And The Benefits

The Art Of Slow Living: What It Is And The Benefits

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Life In The Fast Lane

As humans of the 21st century, we are conditioned to live life in the fast lane. Having a ‘busy life’ and ‘always being ‘on the go’ are generally considered markers for success.

Swiping up a sugar-loaded Starbucks, scrambling to buy the latest iPhone as soon as it is launched and standing in long queues to pay a ridiculous amount for that jacket, just because it is trending, is ‘in’. But, do these things and possessions really fulfill us? Or are we simply buying them incessantly to meet the criteria for social validation? Have we paused to think about the origin of that possession or wondered what impact is this fast-paced lifestyle having on us, those around us, on our environment? 

We are so focused on ‘owning’ and ‘having’ that we are forgetting to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’. Slow living may not answer all these questions but puts things in perspective for us. To a layman, slow living would sound like life that’s slow which further means ‘boring’. It may also come across as a life that is dominated by meditation and yoga and no ‘fun’. In fact, it is anything but boring. A life lived slowly or ‘slow living’ can actually enrich your life.

Slow living is synonymous with ‘mindful’ living and ‘sustainable living’ as well.  

Slow living is synonymous with ‘mindful’ living and ‘sustainable living’ as well.   Click To Tweet

The Emergence Of Slow Living

Although these new ways of living have become lifestyle trends only recently, slow living as a social movement started in the 1980s in Italy as a protest against fast-food chain McDonald’s – the harbinger of unsustainable fast-food culture.

In 1986, Carlo Petrini, known as the founder of the Slow Living Movement, spearheaded the protest along with a group of like-minded activists against McDonald’s that was setting up shop in Rome. The aim of their campaign was to “defend traditional food, the good gastronomy pleasure, as well as a slower pace of life” (Slow living lifestyle, what is and how to start it?, 2018).

Slowly and gradually, the concept of slow food extended to other contexts e.g. clothing, beauty, etc. and gave birth to the broader concept of ‘slow living’. Although McDonald’s and others like it flourish, the slow living movement is becoming stronger as well.

Thanks to activists like Carlo Petrini, who also wrote the book Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair, practitioners of slow living, awareness generation, education and information communication, slow living has garnered the attention of the world and is here to stay.

What is Slow Living

“Slow living has over 100,000 followers in more than 40 countries who rely on a slow pace in cooking, work, school and even leisure”…it is a “worldwide cultural current that promotes the slowdown of our present fast lifestyle”. (Slow living lifestyle, what is and how to start it?, 2018)

According to Vanilla Papers, “Slow living has become a big trend. But its essential message is about consuming less and taking a slower approach to everyday life.”

The author of In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed, Carl Honore, lists out certain features of Slow living while comparing it with fast-paced lifestyles. He argues that Slow living,

  • Helps one cope with burnout which is the result of fast living
  • It is a mindset, a lifestyle and behaviour change
  • It is about doing to the best of one’s abilities rather than quickly or hurriedly
  • Choosing quality over quantity
  • Being present in the moment and doing things thoughtfully 
  • Doing things at the right speed and time. 
  • Having a balanced and healthy relationship with technology instead of being consumed by it
  • Letting go of the fear of missing out and focusing on things that matter; prioritizing what’s really important and learning to say no to the rest

Improve Interpersonal Relationships

When we are mindful and thoughtful about our actions and behaviour, our relationships naturally begin to improve and strengthen. Friends and family will rely on us to give them advice, trust us to get them through tough times, etc. Slow living sets the perfect example for our children too. 

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A Healthier Self 

Slow food or food that is sustainably produced, that is free of pesticides and made with love by people who are happy, is far healthier than food that is mass produced with the help of machines and cruelly mutilated animals kept in pathetic conditions. So head to your local farmer’s market to pick up fresh, organic veggies or that local coffee joint for that famous vegan sandwich, and be a happy and healthy person. Ditch that night at the club for a trek in the mountains or a sound therapy session and do your mind, body and soul a world of good!

A Compassionate Society

Buying local produce, handcrafted home accessories or clothes made by individual artisans, NGOs and small businesses can support your community, small businesses and people in need. By now, we are all aware that many clothing labels run sweatshops that employ labourers under appalling conditions. Others employ illegally trafficked migrants and pay them less than minimum wages to make bigger profits.

So next time before you go to that fancy store, do your research. Alternatively, head to your neighborhood seamstress and have her stitch something beautiful and compassionate for you. Refrain from buying things that are created from hurt and pain. Remember, when the buying stops, the selling will.

A Healthier Planet

With a ruthless demand for products and mass production and unsustainable practices, the earth is degrading at great speed. Slow living encourages us to introspect our consumption patterns and their impact on the planet. When we become mindful of what and how much we want, we can ensure a sustainable future for everyone, especially future generations. As the saying goes, Earth has enough to fulfill man’s need, but not his greed. So let us consume consciously and save our planet.

Further Reading

Read more about slow-living from our own book:

Slow Living: A Guide To Live The Moment by Wonsuk W. Choi (Founder of ESCALTO)

Conclusion

Slow living is a choice to make a holistic change within ourselves. Life shouldn’t be about the things we own or how fast we bought them with the money we made so quickly by cutting down on time with our family. It is about living mindfully, being mindful about how we treat people, conscious about what we eat, and being more thoughtful in our deeds. Slow living is about a substantial change in our mindset, behavior, and lifestyle. It can help us lead a life we love, that makes us happy, content, and fulfilled. What more can we want?

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View Comments (68)
  • Such an interesting read, I think everyone needs to embrace slow living a bit more, take a break from technology and the life of work. Thanks for sharing 😊

  • I have been into slow living the past couple of years, and it has really changed my life. I love your book suggestions. Adding these to my must-read list. Thanks for the good info.

  • I’ve made a conscious effort to move towards a more mindful and slower way of living over the past couple of years. It has helped me to connect with what I truly want in my life and get rid of excess ‘clutter’.

    • Decluttering is definitely one of the aspects of a slow living lifestyle. Once we remove unnecessary objects, we can definitely focus more on our present being. Thank you for your thoughtful comment 🙂

  • I think this is an excellent post! I’ve been living in Nepal for 2 years and visiting family in the U.K. It’s been a week since I’ve been in the U.K and a lot of people employ the slow living lifestyle into their daily lives in Nepal. I’m struggling to adapt back to this fast living and materialistic lifestyle. Less is more and slow allows us to be involved more in the here and now.

    • Wow, it’s amazing that you’ve been living in Nepal. Actually, I have visited Nepal few years ago and it’s a beautiful place! Many people do seem to live a slow lifestyle in Nepal and more people in urban cities should also try it out, it’s a great way to find peace in lifestyle.

    • Don’t worry because we are growing older together! It’s definitely good to live a slow paced life and appreciate the small things. 🙂 Thank you

  • I’ve always been very efficient and managed to do things quickly. I always thought this was a good thing. Until I realized I never slow down, even when I’m trying to relax!!! Not I’m trying to have a re-think about living a slower more mindful existence

    • We can totally relate! It’s easy to get too attached to fast-paced living, it certainly does — we believe that it is because we feel more content to the work and feel more accomplished. But in the end, having to do more doesn’t always mean having more progress in life. It’s a great option to take rest when needed. Live slowly and you’ll find more fulfillment in life 🙂

    • That’s true 🙂 There are people who have the instinct of living slowly even before knowing about slow living. But there are people who seek to live more slowly in their fast-paced life. Thank you for your kind comment 🙂

  • I love this post 🧡 slowing down for me has been one of the biggest life changers. Taking time to enjoy the small things, even the chores!

  • I love this, seriously love it. I’ve only just started embracing slow living, this might struck a wrong cord to some, but it’s thanks to the pandemic. I’ve had more time to really be mindful of the things I do and the way I spend my time. I’ve always lived in a fast-paced life even when I had longer breaks of nothingness than this pandemic could ever give. So, thank you for enlightening me on this topic. I never knew it was an actual Art form or lifestyle to be more in tune with the world around you by taking your time.

    • Thank you, AJ for agreeing with the content! We’re really glad that it helped you understand the importance of slow living 🙂 Yes, take your time and tune with the world around you!

  • Awww love this! As someone who lives and works in London (especially in Marketing) I always feel like I’ve forever running from one place to another or one thought to another! Lockdown has really taught me to take a little more time to enjoy things and I love what this post is all about!

    • Yes, definitely. Lockdown helped many people realize the importance of small things. It’s always great to have new perspective in life and make changes.

  • Within the last few months I’ve found slow living to be a really inspiring way of living, not something I have entirely implemented into my current lifestyle but is nevertheless something I will definitely strive towards once I have moved into my new home. A fantastically educational read and so important, thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for your comment! Slow living is not something that can be implemented right away, it’s a life long process in which we all go towards to find the solution that is right for us.

  • I’ve never been happier living in a slow pace now. But slow living is a choice according to the phase in life; usually younger generation wants the fast life and where the spotlights are. Also the kind of job you have may also have an impact on your pace in life. When I was working in operations before, my job demands almost a 24/7 commitment. Then at some point I made I choice, because it starts to destroy the quality of life.

    • Yes! There are some people who goes well with the fast-paced living. However, we — at some point in our life — find it difficult to continue forever. Slow living is a choice, but a choice that can change our life dramatically in a positive way.

  • Brilliant article. Lockdown gave us the chance to really think about Slow living and then we embarked upon 21 Days of Abundance that is continuing to change our lives, mental health and heart. Thank you for sharing x

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