Out of all my Happiness Project themes I’ve looked at so far March’s Slow Down has been the most powerful for me. What I need most in my life at the moment is to slow down. To start embracing a slower way of living. When I really take the time to not multitask, give longer than I need, make shorter to-do lists I feel calmer and happier. My resolutions for this month have been a great starting point, but I also know I need to go beyond these.
Slowing down is a countercultural brain shift
As I wrote at the start of the month, we live in a society driven by speed. It’s not really the speed that’s the problem, though, it’s the race to achieve and attain that we’re all subconsciously part of. When you’re running on a treadmill for no real reason, it’s pretty easy to slow the speed down or get off altogether. When you’re running chasing a personal best, or even a chocolate cookie dangled carrot-and-stick-style in front of you, it’s not so easy. A big part of slowing down is becoming conscious of the fact that we’re even in this race to start with.
Throughout the month I’ve come to realise that slow living is linked to all the other things I want in my life. Authenticity; a sense of playfulness; creativity; and time to rest. As Brené Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection
“Making the choice to rest and play is, at best, counterculture”
This quote reverberated right through me. That’s why it’s so hard to relax; it’s going against the grain.
Practical resolutions helping to change the way I think
It’s pretty hard to change the way you think, live and exist in the world. The practical resolutions I set for March really helped me start making this transition to slowing down.
I’ve said before I found taking one thing off my to-do list each day to be exceptionally useful. I’m now trying to have just 3 key items on my list each day, as recommend by Joshua Becker on the Becoming Minimalist blog.
Walking slower and giving more time than I need haven’t always been achieved, but when I have done them I’ve really noticed the benefit. Even just the simple fact of not being all sweaty and out of breath when I reach my destination is pleasant. I’ve also found giving more time than I think I need a great resolution for meetings, conversations, daily tasks, and meet ups with friends.
It’s not been all sunshine and leisurely walks in the park though. I’m still finding multitasking a challenge, and my meditation practice is definitely stronger some days than others. I’ve been noticing my bad phone habits more, and I especially seem to be inclined to mindlessly scroll when I’m tired/down/stressed. I’m hoping that by keeping up noticing, and practicing not responding to that urge I can reduce my mindless scrolling over time.
Keeping on slowing down
I’m just at the beginning of my slowing down journey and I’m looking forward to keeping going. I definitely have questions and concerns such as: how will I figure out making money and working on all my multipotentialite passions within a slow living style? But I have to realise being a multipotentialite doesn’t mean being on speed all day. Plenty of things can get done slowly. Luckily April’s theme is work focused, so it’s the right time to turn my mind to this sort of thing.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear of any experience you’ve had trying to slow down in your life. Let me know in the comments below.