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Slow Living as the Antidote to Anxiety

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I’m here to share a few thoughts on slow living in this busy, modern world. Have you heard of slow living? I am passionate about taking more steps towards slow living every day. It can improve anxiety and our feeling of well-being. This way of living is all about slowing down, being mindful and living simply. It is about eliminating the unnecessary so there is room for what really matters in your life. It’s about being present with your friends, family and yourself. Slow living is a way of living deeply that improves your entire life.

To start slow living might mean you need to cut down your schedule to a more relaxed pace. It can mean finding ways to work smarter, not harder. What are your priorities? Slow living invites you to cultivate a life around those priorities. Slow living also means that you don’t wait for a vacation to unwind and “unplug.” It’s a way of life. Living the old ways in modern days is transformative.

This could mean getting rid of your social media or reducing the number of social media accounts you have. The average person has eight social media accounts. Not only this but most people spend over two hours on them each day. Think of all the life we miss when we do this. How about you? If you have six social media accounts, could you get by with two? One? None?

Slow living also means not constantly checking your emails and texts. It means not scrolling through our phones out of habit or boredom. We work instead on deepening your connection with others. When we are with our children, it’s about closing the laptop, putting the phone down and actually playing with them. Try to be the parent that is intentional about time spent with your family. Engage with your children, interact with them; they are young for such a short time.

If we are with our friends, it means focusing on them and giving them our full attention. When someone is talking to us, we are listening instead of checking our phone or thinking about something else. When we are with our spouse or partner, we should be fully present. It’s about enjoying our loved ones, free from distraction.

Slow living means turning off the television and limiting your negative news viewing. Its trading listening to the news for listening to uplifting music. If you have a little spare time, you could spend it doing something creative instead of scrolling through TV or YouTube channels. It’s about putting down the phone or laptop and reading a book. Find comfort in the quiet, peaceful moments.

Slow living means finding ways to tap into your five senses. Someone on their slow living journey could start by savoring a good cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Then then could eat their breakfast slowly, fully enjoying their meal. It can mean enjoying the aromas and experience of cooking your meals.

Slow living means seeking out joyful moments throughout the day. Perhaps putting on uplifting music or lighting a candle. Listening to the laughter of your children. Snuggling a pet. Spending time in your garden. Reading a book. Spend time baking, sewing, crafting or other creative pursuits. Soak in the seasons around you: from rain pattering on your window to warm
sunshine filling your house with light.

Instead of being “plugged in,” slow living means paying attention to our surroundings. A person who practices slow living will frequently be found in nature. They will be regularly splashing in ocean waves, listening to birds chirp in a forest and exploring mountains. They enjoy taking long walks in natural settings, like people regularly did long ago. They will be experiencing life instead of letting life pass them by. Living at the beach has inspired me in my slow living journey. What nature speaks to you? Make the time to go there.

People ask me how I get everything done with three active boys and a full schedule of activities. My secret is allowing time for slow living. This might mean getting up earlier than everyone else to prepare for the day. I keep our schedule at a peaceful pace. This allows me to be more present when I am with my family. Pace yourself, friend. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. In a chaotic world, we can create a place of peace around us. Slow living means having a balanced rhythm in your family life instead of chaotic pace. Avoid over-scheduling your family’s life. Don’t let the world distract you from what is important. Make a list of your top 10 life priorities. Make sure your lifestyle is allowing space for these priorities.

Eliminate the distraction, clutter and simplify your world. If you feel something unnecessary is taking up too much of your time, get rid of it. If it is not serving a higher purpose, it doesn’t need to be in your life. This leaves room for meaning, connection, joy and wonder in your everyday life.

The faster the pace of world, the more we can choose to slow down. Slow living allows you to fully enjoy this life. It gives you the ability to soak up life’s beautiful moments. These moments are available to all of us if we would just be present. In the words of the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Getty image by DrAfter123

Originally published: February 5, 2022
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