How can I slow my life down?

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1. Life in the fast lane

We live in a busy, fast-paced world where we are constantly available. This can make us anxious and stressed. So how can we bring balance back into our lives?

Going slow is a growing phenomenon which encourages a more thoughtful approach to life and helps avoid burnout.

So what are these Go Slow movements and how can they help us?

2. What's the rush?

Someone who has decided to slow down is psychologist and Great British Bake Off finalist Kimberley Wilson who also cooks as a way of de-stressing. Here she demonstrates how she goes slow and explains the benefits.

3. Easy does it

So where did Go Slow come from? In the past, people spent more time on tasks such as woodwork and gardening. These activities focused the mind and helped us think about what we were doing.

By the 80s, when technology really took off, people started to work longer and the pace of life intensified. That’s when the concept of Slow Food emerged, a reaction against everything needing to be done fast. Since then, we’ve seen slow cities, slow education and even slow thinking.

Slow Food Not Fast

The Slow Food movement is the most well known Go Slow phenomenon. It was started in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, who was concerned about the opening of a fast-food chain at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Slow Food is about taking time to think about food by cooking from scratch, sourcing good, local ingredients and enjoying meals at our kitchen tables. All this gives us time to reflect and actually has health benefits by reducing indigestion and stomach problems. Spending time connecting with others at the kitchen table relaxes the mind and helps us focus on our relationships.

4. Can TV go slow?

Another Go Slow idea is Slow TV. Today's television is always on and interactive. In contrast, Slow TV is unhurried viewing.

The concept of slowness on screen has its roots in the late 19th Century when French cinema pioneers the Lumière brothers began screening films about everyday life. Andy Warhol did the same in some of his films in the 1960s. Slowness has also played its part on the small screen.

Slow TV became a hit in 2009, when Norwegian TV showed a complete rail journey along the Bergen line. And BBC Four Goes Slow explored the craft of making everyday objects such as knives and chairs, as well as watching a boat on a canal.

The subject matter and the way it was made inspire us to celebrate the simple pleasures of life in the slow lane. There is no voiceover or music, just the simplicity of observing and reflecting on a real-time event. Watching a rail journey, for example, gives a focus that doesn't require too much concentration, just quiet attention helping the viewer relax.

5. How will you go slow?

Tips for going slow

Here's how we can slow down and appreciate a better quality of life by focusing on one thing at a time:

  • Eat meals at the table with the television off. Eating round the table together means you focus on the food and the people you are with.
  • Visit a Slow City. Slow cities, including Perth and Aylsham, encourage local production and preserve the individuality of the local area.
  • Take up a hobby. Going slow isn't all about sitting still. Gardening, knitting, walking and cooking are ways to create a moment of calm.

And relax!

From watching slow TV programmes, to taking time over our food, these measures can help us slow down, focus and be calmer. You might find you actually achieve more in the long run.