As Paul Simon once sang “slow down, you move too fast.”

While technology and other aspects of modern living aim to make our lives easier for us, we have also become busier than ever whereby many hardly find enough time for themselves. Today, we tend to demand fast paced service, fast delivery, fast responses, fast travel and fast this and fast that. Our lives have become so fast paced and for some tiresome in a way we may not have imagined before. Many of us complain that the days pass by quickly and we don’t have the time to do some of the things we’d like to do; if only we knew how.

One reason you may not be able to enjoy your life as much as you’d like, may be because you are cramming more hectic stuff and further busying yourself with things that may seem necessary or important but may not really be giving you and your life much value. Perhaps it’s time you slowed down and turned your attention towards leading a more slow-paced life.

What Is a Slow-Paced Life?

A slow-paced life means creating a more balanced life, where you may even engage in more complex, demanding tasks and learn to enjoy the small things in life. Be it a pleasant morning walk outside, listening to some music alone, or simply sitting by the window staring outside with a cup of coffee – it all counts. These small moments make our life: glue the big pieces together to form a beautiful wider picture to look at. Instead of always thinking about work, social media or being connected to your phone or laptop, perhaps learn to stop and focus on yourself, your world and the people around you. Instead of multitasking, today’s article suggests that maybe it is time you single task – letting go of the multitude of things you are doing and deal with only one…

·      Focus on less

When dealing with multitudes of things in one go, it is difficult to slow down and take control of your life. It is maybe, time that you prioritise the things in your life. Rank and order your choices and see what really needs to be done and what can be eliminated. Those which are not very important can be discarded, and if you still have a lot left on your plate, then it’s time to plan! Remember not to do too much in one go, rather deal with each thing one at a time. Make sure you get time to rest and take a step back for a few days before starting the next important task. You will realise that you are able to make your way through your life more easily and at a more leisurely pace.

·      Be Aware

It is not just about being able to take breaks and prioritise your tasks; rather, what really matters is your presence and mental awareness of the space around you. This means learning to live in the present moment a bit more. Perhaps Thomas S. Monson best captures the essence when he says, “The past is behind: Learn from it. The future is ahead: prepare for it. The present is here: Live it!” Thus whenever, you find your mind wandering off into the future, worrying and stressing too much over what might happen or reflecting back on the past, where you cannot seem to get rid of some embarrassing moment or some guilt-stricken moment, remember to pull yourself back into the present.  At least for more periods of time each day.

Gently, remind yourself that your reality at the moment is the time and the space that you are in. The future can wait – trust the process. The past is history and is gone; we can learn from it. See how you enjoy the rain, how you might feel while working on a work project or what you can do to make your life better now! It is a very gradual process and requires a shift in your actions, thoughts, and beliefs. It may take both time and practice, but it remains really beneficial. Remember, this can prove fruitful not only for yourself but often even be so for the people and the environment around you.

·      Social Media Detox!

While technological advancements today may emphasise the need to stay connected all the time, know that it is wrong. You will not miss an important message, and no one is going to call you – this all is just in your head. Your life is perfectly normal – even better – when you just deactivate that Instagram account for a while or power off your phone and laptop when you go out or even stay inside. If your work requires you to have a lot of screen hours, make sure to take small, frequent breaks. Its effectiveness has been proven in the research study, which analysed the effects of social media detox on 68 undergraduate students. Of the 40%, students who voluntarily underwent social media detox reported positive changes in their mood, improved academic productivity, better quality sleep and reduced anxiety. When you are always connected to the world outside, you are under the constant stress of the incoming information and are constantly available for others – both strangers and friends. It is so much more difficult to slow down when you constantly feel the urge to continuously check your messages or someone’s status.

Read these two articles for more on this:
Why and how to have a digital Detox.
Limit the effects of too much Screen time.

·      Live In The Moment with Your Loved Ones

While you may think to yourself that you spend ample time with your friends and family, you may not be spending quality time with them. In the fast-paced life of today, where we are often too focused on getting things done, we tend to neglect the things that actually matter. We might be with our friends and family physically, but mentally we most often are some place far away. The next time you spend time with your family, see if you really are spending time with them, listening to them and savouring the precious moments. Most often, we might be on our phones chatting to someone else or emailing someone, or simply thinking about what we need to say or do next. For some time, simply try to let go of the world around you, and focus on the person sitting next to you.

·       Cherish Nature

Time to ponder: How much time do you spend inside (your home or your office), and in comparison, how often do you tend to go outside? Many of us are almost always shut in our homes, offices and even when we go out, we are confined to the spaces of our transport or have our heads in our phones. Instead, the next time you go out, try closing your eyes and taking a deep breath, letting the fresh air pour inside of you, cherish the greenery and the serenity of the space around you. And you will feel that you automatically have come to rest, and your mind is now at ease. Regularly take a break between your everyday activities, and go outside for a short walk (or go hiking). Let go of all the worldly feelings and just feel the wind as it brushes past you and the sun upon your skin. Try doing this once or twice a week, and see the positive change it brings for you.

·      Consume Slowly

If you notice, you might realise that you even tend to do the smallest of things in such a hurry that you fail to enjoy the moments. For example, you tend to eat as quickly as possible because you have something else to do later on. Maybe at times you cram the food down your throat, and yes – this can lead to overeating too. And while this may sound absurd, taking the little things slowly can have a huge impact and can lead to you leading a slower life too. Thus, try to eat slowly and try to be conscious of each bite. And you might not know this, but according to Harvard Health Publishing, eating slowly can make you feel full on less food and can even make the food taste better. And at times, simply this small change can bring about a wider impact by making you take the other bigger things in life more slowly as well.

·      Experiment with Small Mistakes

The more you rush, the greater the chance of you making errors and  mistakes. Remember that if you take things a little more slowly, you will have the time to think, try new things and learn from small mistakes. These, in turn, can help you realise where you need to change something and try again, but this time you will be more prepared. This will help you avoid bigger mistakes in the future and learn your lessons, but this is not possible until you take things a little slower. And one of the first steps you can take is by simply allowing yourself to make smaller mistakes and then attempting something rather than simply jumping onto something big and then making a big mess!

·      An Early Start to Your Day

You may be fascinated to know that even a 15 minute earlier start to your day can help you start your day slower. Waking up early means you have plenty of time with you to do the things you otherwise would have done in a shorter time span. Moreover, you can also include other healthier habits into your lifestyle such as a walk before going to work, reading a book you bought ages ago, or sometimes something as simple as a cup of coffee in absolute solitude. If you give your day a slower start, not only will you be able to focus better on your tasks, but you will be able to better enjoy your time as well. And it is assumed that through these little tips, you will be able to carry things at a slower pace not only throughout the day but also perhaps throughout the year.

·      Lower the Volume

The next time you are sitting somewhere, perhaps turn off the tv, lower the music or the radio and just take a few minutes to give yourself some time in silence. Try paying attention to where you are, the significance of what you are doing at that point in time, and what is happening in the space around you. And trust us when we say that in this busy world, where you are always surrounded by sound and din, some time of silence can prove really helpful, and really peaceful.

·      Learn To Say No

One really important way of being able to take things slowly is by trying to say “No” more often. We understand that it is comparatively hard for some people to say no to others even when they are overflowing with work. It may be particularly hard for some people who tend to be people-pleasers to say no, and we realise that it can be really hard at first. But learning to say ‘No’ is a very crucial step towards setting your boundaries and thereby protecting your time and health. By not being able to say no at times, you let go of the small amount of spare time you may have. When you find the courage to say no, you can utilise that free time and take things slowly over time.

Final Word

While slowing down may not seem very important to you, but it can really bring your mind and body to peace and help you cherish the small moments, enriching your life; go engage in some quality me-time. A slow paced, stable lifestyle. It perhaps has been best summed up by Voltaire when he says, “Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time”.

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