What Is Slow Living? || Slow Life For Beginners

More and more people are turning to a slow living lifestyle. They are realizing that the trend of modern day society to practice a fast-paced lifestyle is robbing them of the ability to sustain the things that actually matter to them. 

kitchen counter with slow food and cookbooks on it

Their families, friends, and they themselves are most often left to sit and simmer on the back burner of their days while they struggle to keep up to daily demands. 

There isn’t enough time to nurture those relationships, much less see them flourish and thrive. A more mindful approach to living, like that promoted in the slow living movement, is in part the solution to this issue.

Many of those who discover, and begin to incorporate, the concepts of this lifestyle experience a wake-up call that changes their life in a way that better serves them. They find that a simpler life affords them the time to enjoy the people, places, and things they value most.

The Concept Of Slow Living

The art of slow living is not about going through our days in slow motion. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t have a busy life at times. Human beings inherently draw pleasure from reaching goals and achieving success.

living room end table with plant, candle, lamp, and book on it

To do that we often need to work hard. And that’s okay. 

The concept of slow living is more about intentionally choosing how we spend our days, living fully in the present moment, and really taking care of ourselves and the people we love; mind, body, and soul.

In order to truly take a slower approach to everyday living we need to sharpen the skill of living mindfully. To structure our lives around the practice rather than trying to fit the practice into our lives.

It’s nearly impossible to make this philosophy ‘fit into’ our lives. But, by slowly and methodically removing the unnecessary things that we’ve allowed to take root there, we can make room for it to grow. 

It All Started With The Slow Food Movement

Before we move on to ways to allow this lifestyle concept to manifest in the aspects of our everyday lives, we should take a look at how this philosophy started. It is a simple story but it sheds an illuminating light on the basis of the theory.

homemade bread, farm fresh cheese, and tomatoes on a counter

It all started with the slow food movement. And that movement was inspired by the opening of a McDonald’s restuarant at the foot of the Piazza di Spagna in the heart of Rome.

The fast food giant plopped the biggest establishment they ever built until that time at the foot of the Spanish Steps. This act resulted in heated protest from thousands of Italian citizens.

And a lawsuit being filed by the famous designer Valentino, who claimed that there was ‘significant and constant noise and an unbearable smell of fried food fouling the air’ coming from the restaurant that was disturbing the experience of the clientele at his nearby boutique.  

Unfortunately, that McDonald’s remains in that location to this day. But the founding of the slow food movement that incurred as a result of it has positively impacted millions of people.

This movement was founded by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists. It promotes traditional food production techniques and the enjoyment of good quality food.

It encompasses the push for fair pay for small, local producers of whole sustainable food products. And encourages engaging in a sustainable lifestyle in all other aspects of our lives as well. 

Slow living is a philosophy that sprang from the slow food movement over time. It expands on the idea that sustainability should permeate every area of our lives, not just our food.

Start With Small Changes

Bringing slow living practices into our daily routine is not as difficult to do as it may sound. There are a lot of things, small steps, that we can do to make this lifestyle change easy.

blanket, book, fruit, scarf, sunglasses, and sewing craft on a blanket by the water

All we really have to do is commit to taking the first step. Everything starts with a first step and restructuring our lives to embrace simple living is no different. So, take a few deep breaths and get started today.

Following is a list of a few easy ways for you to do just that. As you review it, keep in mind that the only way to do this is the way that works for you. So, use the suggestions here that work for you and discard those that don’t.

  • Change your relationship with technology for the better. Be sure that it is serving you, rather than you serving it. In other words, remember that it is a tool that is meant to help us reach our goals and make some of our necessary daily tasks easier to do. But it should not at any point have any level of control over our lives. Don’t allow yourself to go down a social media or google rabbit hole. They are designed to be addictive. Don’t buy in. Spend your time on more important things.
  • Be more mindful of how you nurture your relationships. Spend more face-to-face time with the people in your life, especially those that are closest to you. Really listen to them when they talk to you. Choose your words with intention and look them in the eye when you talk to them.
  • Learn to say no to things that you aren’t interested in doing or that you simply don’t have the time for. Do the things that are important to you, the things that are necessary, and the things that bring you pleasure, say no to the rest.
  • Engage in a hobby you love. Meaningful hobbies are truly the best therapists. They provide pleasure, build skills, and foster a sense of accomplishment. They are a great way to redirect our thoughts for a time, and that can reduce stress levels. And they provide us with an opportunity to hone the practice of being in the moment, which promotes good mental health.
  • Improve how you eat. No matter where you are at in your food journey you can make some improvements. So, up your game. Shop with local farmers or, if you’re able to, produce some of your food at home. And spend time preparing healthy, good quality meals at home. Make it a point to enjoy the preparation process as much as you enjoy eating the food.
  • Start paring down the material things that require care and take up space. We really have to manage the material things we own. Too often we lose sight of this fact and we load up on excess stuff simply because it holds some appeal at the time we acquire it. Start eliminating the things that you own that you don’t use, that require more care than they’re worth, or that are simply cluttering up your space.
  • Spend time in nature on a regular basis. The idea that human beings are not separate from nature has become too far removed from the modern mindset. We are not intricately connected to nature. We actually are one with nature. Get out there and allow yourself to be reminded of this. Then live deeply within it on the daily.

Being In The Present Moment

As a result of living in this fast-paced world, the practice of being in the present moment is no longer second nature for most people. And that is having a very negative effect on our mental, physical, and spiritual health.

score sheets, dice, and beverages on a table

A slow living mindset embraces the idea of living fully in the present moment. It is one of the best ways that we can really experience the benefits of all the good things that our daily life has to offer us.

It’s important to learn to be in the present moment no matter what we’re doing at the time. If we’re working then we should be fully immersed in the tasks we’re performing.

If we’re having dinner with someone then we should be completely focused on the pleasures of good conversation and good food. We need to improve the skill of eliminating wandering thoughts and work on staying right where we are and fully tuning into what we’re doing right now.

This practice makes a great deal of difference in how we are affected by the world around us. When we don’t allow things, outside of our current moment, to distract us we will draw a deeper benefit from that moment.

So, practice being in each moment fully. Even when that moment is about something as simple as crisp, fresh air on a cool spring morning or a hot, steamy cup of coffee on a chilly fall afternoon.

Enjoy the air. Breathe deeply. Smell the aroma from the coffee. Let the cup warm your hands. Really taste the flavor.

A More Intentional Life

Be intentional with your life. Always do the most important things first. By doing just this one thing, you will find that you have more time than you think you do.

notebook, to-do-list, pens, tea, and flowers on a counter

It is our nature to want to avoid doing certain things. And our brain will work hard to make us feel like there are other things that take priority over them in the moment.

If we consider what is most important at the start of our day, and then get those things done first, we’ll experience less pressure throughout the day. And our brain will not be able to fool us into doing things that aren’t really important in order to distract us from doing things we would rather avoid.

I like to choose the three most important tasks of the day, and the three tasks that I want to do after that, before I’m done with my coffee in the morning. I focus on those things and do my best not to let anything take me off track. Using this intentional approach to each day results in a more balanced life.

And you will find that your days actually have bits of free time in them that you didn’t realize were even there. Use these bits of time to fully embrace this slower way of life.

Don’t rush to fill them with anything in particular. Enjoy them as they come. Use them for things that bring you pleasure.

Benefits Of Slow Living

The slow living lifestyle is not a quick fix to the issues that a faster paced lifestyle have caused to manifest in your days. It is a mindset. And it will take time for it to truly reveal all of it’s benefits.

woman hugging a tree by a waterfall

But, it WILL result in significant positive changes for the better. Of that, there is no doubt.

As the practices of this lifestyle start to become second nature, you will find that you see improvements in your mental health and in your physical health.

You will experience less stress and find yourself most often living in a state of inner peace. And you will also experience a significant positive shift in your relationships.

​One day we will all cross the finish line of our lives in this realm. This lifestyle is likely the best way to get the most out of the days we have until then.

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