Go With the Slow: How taking your time helps heal the mind
In today’s rapidly moving world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of quantifying your self-worth based on how productive you have been. You can end up trying to do as many things as you can as fast as possible. This mindset has seeped from our professional lives into our down time, and even our holidays; jam-packed with activities that check off the wellness, health and culture appreciation boxes.
It’s time to slow down.
Taking it easy may seem like anti-progress in a society that wants us to speed up. But slowing down doesn’t mean doing nothing, and it may be the practice you need to keep a clearer head.
Think about the things you enjoy that involve unhurried movements. Drawing, yoga, painting your nails, eating a delicious meal. Each of these requires a calm concentration. Your focus on that one particular task quietens the other thoughts in your head.
Longer processes that take their time are often the most rewarding. For example, the revival of home baking, vinyl records, analogue photography, and writing letters. Each of these have faster alternatives, yet people still choose the slow route, finding time to hone the craft and savour the moment. It’s about taking measured, deliberate steps and enjoying the process.
Making time for slow
We’ve considered how being slow isn’t just lazing around on your sofa all day (although this definitely has its pros!). The next step is expanding that mindset into other areas of your life.
Choosing to be slow is definitely a choice. With the world pulling you to be faster and busier, it’s easy to follow suit and fill your days to the brim. Making a conscious choice to slow down is you choosing to reclaim your time.
Practise taking it slow in small chunks.
- Listen to a whole song without doing anything else.
- Make a cup of tea and wait while it brews.
- Sit down and read a long article in a paper, magazine or chapter in a book.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset (it’s only half an hour tops!)
- Take a bath with no distractions
- Try a meditation app
- Stand up and stretch your body, one limb at a time. It doesn't need to be before or after exercise; just take the time to realign your body.
- Schedule in ten minutes to just sit and do absolutely nothing.
It may seem counterintuitive, but putting time in your diary is often the best method for workaholics. Can’t decide what to take the time for? That’s okay – spending your time thinking through your options is also good practice for easing the pace.
Appreciating the small things
Slowness goes hand in hand with mindfulness, being present in the moment and living your life instead of speeding through it. Going slow allows you to recharge. You become in charge of your time and can then pick up the pace when you need to. You may even find you remember things more vividly when you take the time to feel it in the moment.
Right now, in this topsy turvy world, try and give yourself permission to take your foot off the accelerator at least once a day. It becomes easier to listen to yourself when you’re not racing to do everything.