Slow life, another way to be happy

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How many times have you told yourself that you would like to put your life on hold to better enjoy the moment? We know that this is impossible, but there is a way of life that promotes a way of living that focuses on the present. Discover slow life or slow living.

Simple Ways to Practice Slow Living

How many times have we found ourselves trapped in this whirlwind created by the frenzy of the world? Too many, probably. Living at a dizzying pace makes us lose moments, nuances, sensations, details... Details that often make the difference. It is in the 80's that the slow life movement appeared.

More and more people have chosen to follow this philosophy of life. What does it consist of and what benefits can it bring us? Read on to learn more about this trend.

Unfortunately, in our culture, the word "slow" can have negative connotations, comparing it to terms such as lazy or lazy. Let's try to break this association. Living slowly does not mean living badly or irresponsibly: it means living by paying attention to the present moment, enjoying every moment.

We live fast, very fast, and we don't even realize it. It's no coincidence that 53% of people who suffer from stress end up developing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression. This happens because, by the time we want to realize that we are not well, it is already too late.

slow living

Living at a frenetic pace has consequences

The more we grow, the more we learn what it means to live fast. We learn to run so we don't arrive late for school and to run into the yard so we don't arrive late for class. Running to and from extracurricular activities and getting out of them even faster to get home and do homework. Running too, of course. An express shower, a packed lunch, and off to bed, because tomorrow it will be the same thing.

All this is repeated when we get to university and when we enter the world of work.  We prepare ourselves so that life becomes that "thing that happens while we spend hours and hours at work". Work that we run into and out of in the same way because surely there is someone or something waiting for us at home, whether it is our family to take care of, reports to finish, or laundry to spread out.

The frog syndrome

Have you ever heard of frog syndrome? It can help us understand why we consider it normal to be a little stressed. If we put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would constantly jump around trying to escape.

However, if we put a frog in water at room temperature and gradually increase the temperature, the frog will adapt its body temperature to the water, which gets hotter and hotter and will die boiled, but without realizing it.

It may seem hard, but that's more or less what happens to us. Since our childhood, we found ourselves immersed in a world and a society where everything goes fast, but in an "unnatural" way. But over the years, like the frog, we adapt to something that eventually seems normal to us.

The most worrisome thing is that we may even end up thinking that stress is something positive because without it we are bored. It speaks to you, doesn't it? But when we realize that living in sprint mode affects us, it's too late and we already have serious problems.

What does the slow life philosophy propose and what benefits does it bring?

The slow movement encompasses almost every area of life, from food (slow food, the origin of everything) to sex or education, through aspects such as exercise, leisure, travel, fashion, and of course, work.

It invites us to eat natural products by practicing mindful eating, to use technology in a rational and practical way, to promote small local trade, to break the cycle of buy-use-throw for clothes (and break what this implies in producing countries).

This way of life invites us to live quietly. This allows you to enjoy things and give them the attention they deserve. What is more important: to do something quickly and badly or to devote more time to it but focusing all our consciousness on it?

Theoretically, it is true that it always looks simple. However, this slow life movement gives a series of recommendations on how we can begin to "live slowly". First of all: be patient. Nobody changes an entire life system in one day.

Immerse yourself in the slow life

Get up a few minutes earlier. You won't regret it! Shower and eat lunch taking your time, avoid arriving at work or your place of study panting. If you can, go for a walk, paying attention to your walk. If you can't, don't take your phone out on public transportation.

Live with less. Run away from consumption, buy what you need. If you stop for a moment and look around, you will surely realize that you don't need more but less. You can put into practice the 7-day rule: when you want to buy something you think you need, wait for 7 days and, once that time has passed, if you still need it, buy it. This cooling-off period will also have given you the opportunity to evaluate other options and compare prices to arrive at a better purchase.

Live and enjoy the present. We live in torment because of a past we cannot change. And we are afraid of a future we don't know anything about. Therefore, the present is the only thing we have, so we should never let it pass us by. This form of life invites meditation and the practice of yoga and other disciplines that promote mind-body connection and whose mantra is "here and now".

Try, every day, to do something good for someone. Contrary to what we might think, this may be more positive for ourselves than for the person we are helping. Little by little, it will become automatic for you.

Other ideas to promote slow life

Be part of a group or community. Volunteer work, team sports, travel... We are social beings and, as Tajfel said, social identity is determined by belonging to certain groups. Furthermore, the concept of self is conditioned by the emotional sense and evaluation we make of belonging to groups.

Develop a gratitude journal. Take a moment each day to record three positive points from the day. These can be actions, thoughts, feelings, or events. At first, you may be surprised to find that you don't even find three things. Then, little by little, you will learn to appreciate the little things and be able to generate them yourself.

Even if something doesn't seem important to you, write it down. Thoughts always end up being displaced by others that we consider more important. Writing is one way to make them present, and we can even use them on a bad day. This technique is worked with patients who have depressive symptoms. You would be surprised how beneficial it can be, so don't hesitate and try it!

Disconnect. This is the most difficult point. Silence your phone, go out without taking it, turn it off if you can. You can't imagine how good it feels not to feel like a slave to technology.

How to practice a slow life in a city?

As you can see, it is quite simple to apply the above rules anywhere. But that's not all... As incredible and impossible as it may seem, there are slow cities (cittaslow) all over the world. These are cities where people enjoy walks, conversations...

These cities promote tourism that is slow, respectful, and with a low environmental impact. They promote tourist activities that are respectful of the environmental, cultural, and social environment, and with the values of a community.

How was this movement born?

This movement was born in 1986 in Italy. It comes from Carlo Petrini and his fright when he saw a McDonald's on the Plaza de España in Rome.

He therefore led the movement against fast food and founded the slow food philosophy, with which he tried to protect the local culinary traditions, its products, and gastronomic pleasure. The rest developed from the slow food movement to become a true philosophy of life.

Personal Reflection

I had the immense chance to get to know some of the cities of Southeast Asia and one of the first things that caught my attention was the calm with which people lived. You will always see people napping, on their motorcycles, on stairs in the middle of the street, in a park, or even on a cow.

The majority of them live in a very modest way and I dare to say that they will always offer you a smile or make a gesture to help you. Moreover, especially in these Buddhist countries, the practice of meditation is more than widespread. These people are true experts in slow life. Doesn't that make you feel like it?

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