How to Slow Down and Enjoy Life

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

Hustle culture has normalized (and even encouraged) experiences of overwhelm and burnout. Though there is a clear sense of empowerment that can result from working hard, the constant pressure of accomplishing as much as possible in the least amount of time can leave us feeling drained and unfulfilled. On top of this, treating ourselves like output machines can actually make us less productive due to chronic disengagement from tasks and negative effects on our health, which can both lower our level of energy and sharpness to do our best work.

Allowing ourselves to slow down can encourage stronger relationships, not only with others but with ourselves. When we aren’t crunching through life as much, we tend to become more mindful of how we feel and what’s working for us and what isn’t. This better equips us to make decisions that serve us, paving the way for a more satisfying life.

Below are a few ways to encourage slower living:

  • Identify Your Values and Intentions – Many of us have unconsciously adopted the idea that our worth is defined by our level of productivity. We can get a lot more out of life when we strive toward values rather than achievements. Ask yourself, what do I care most about? What makes me feel fulfilled? What do I want my focus to be on? By prioritizing what’s most important to us, we’re more equipped to sustain our well-being.
    • Tip: When you notice you’re rushing, ask yourself, is this important enough to require my sense of urgency? Or can I allow myself to move with more grace and flow?
  • Practice More Mindfulness – Mindfulness essentially refers to having awareness of what’s going on in the present moment. Through the development of mindfulness, we can be more aware of our pace, our alignment with our priorities, whether changes need to be made, etc. Mindfulness can simply be taking a moment to breathe slower, eat slower, and savor life’s moments a little longer than you usually do. Practices like meditation and yoga are also great for more guided mindfulness experiences.
    • Tip: Spend more time in nature and less time on your phone
  • Simplify Your Schedule – There are many opportunities in life, so it’s only natural to want to grab them all. However, when we’re constantly rushing through things just so we have time to do everything, we may begin to enjoy these experiences less. By saying no to opportunities that aren’t aligned with our priorities, we give ourselves the space to slow down.
    • Tip: Replace “should” with “could. For example, instead of “I should go to the gym”, which can easily lead to self-criticism, say “I could go to the gym”, which opens the door for other options. You could also eat a healthier dinner, walk around the neighborhood, or get some well-deserved rest!

The more you take the time to appreciate the simple things, the more likely it is you’ll develop a stable sense of satisfaction in your life!

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