'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans'
- John Lennon
- John Lennon
Life, today, swings on the motto 'faster is better'. It is the present- day norm to defy inertia by clogging every waking minute with activity of some sort. In keeping with this trend, 'slow' is considered a nice word to be avoided.
AdvertisementInto this fast-forwarded world, the winds of change have ushered in a shift, from our 'spinning' existence to a more 'spaced-out' life.
The Slow Movement, which has generated a lot of enthusiasm in Europe, has been in existence since the eighties. It lays emphasis on quality, and hopes to do away with fast tracking to achieve time-bound goals. The proponents of this movement insist on balancing life between the technological buzz and taking a stroll in the local park.
The slow movement challenges the sense of 'rush' associated with 'Fast life'. Several European countries, where slow life is 'in', are going up the productivity graph. The French who work for 35 hours a week are more productive than the Brits or the Americans. The Germans who have adopted a 28.8-hours per week schedule are witnessing a hike in productivity by 20%. All these amazing changes are prompting the Americans - founders of 'Fast' culture - to sit up and ponder.
The Slow Movement is gaining momentum, with more and more people desiring to apply the brakes. Some of the tenets of this movement include slow money, slow travel, slow art, slow football, slow research and slow leadership.
Less is More
What does 'slow living' represent? Is it sluggishness glorified?
Slow living cannot be equated to doing less. It means, pursuing a life with an eye for details. Goals are attained in a less aggressive work enviornment. With each individual enjoying what they do for a living, this style of functioning is bound to be more productive.
Interacting with people and living in harmony with man and nature are the golden rules of slow living. The core motives of the movement include re-inventing the art of simple living, re-establishing family ties, reviving family values and creating leisure time.
'We are what we eat' goes the adage. The 'Slow food' culture takes us one step further. It lays emphasis on the belief that 'we are how we eat'.
Europe is home to a movement called Slow Food. Founded in 1989, the Slow Food International is an eco-gastronomic member-supported, non-profit, organization. With the snail as its logo it aims to put fast food and fast life on the back burner.
Slow Food stalwarts consider mealtime as a quality time to be spent in the company of family and friends. They encourage people to take time to prepare their meals and to relish it, by eating slowly. According to them, nothing can be worser than wolfing down junk food and washing it down with empty calories. This, they say, ruins our metabolism and promotes obesity.
Slow food promotes a 'back to nature' culture and persuades people to grow veggies and fruits in their back yard gardens, support local produce and promote organic products.
Another idea that is fast catching up, especially in the western world is that of slow hobbies. The number of younger people who have adopted knitting as a hobby has markedly increased in the past years and the majority knit to reduce stress. Research has shown that the slow-paced, rhythmic dancing of the knitting needles can lull the knitter into a state of calm. There are several slow hobbies that can be pursued in earnest in order to calm the mind.
'Snailing' toward better health
Slow living is a chosen state of existence, which can do wonders to any individual who diligently pursues it. Slowing the pace of life can miraculously benefit a person's health and enhance his sense of well being.
• Simple, slowed -down living can control hypertension and eliminate stress·
• Alleviating stress promotes sound sleep·
• Slow food and slow diet can help to provide permanent solutions to weight problems·
• Walking is encouraged in place of mechanized transport. This can provide the much- needed exercise
• Slowing down helps to keep lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes or cardio- vascular diseases, at bay
Now or Never
'At times, 'going slow' seems to get you there faster'
- Insoo Kim Berg
Life is lived in an instant, in the present- in the 'now'. The trick is to live each moment as they come. Whining about the past or pining for the future compromises our health. Slowing down the pace of one's life is recommended to reshape our sagging lives.
Slow Living stresses on a healthy lifestyle, which is more in touch with life's basic forces. It is an effort to seize control of time rather than be swayed by it; an effort that will help one to savor the essence of life.
Dr. Reeja Tharu/V