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Slow down and save your life

Photo By: facebook.com


Clare Weisenfluh, Staff Writer

Most people can relate to the feeling of living life in high speed and not having enough time to enjoy anything. One movement aims to solve this problem at its source.

The modern world prioritizes being busy. The harder one works, the more praise they receive. The more activities one is involved in, the more they are looked up to. Those who practice the “slow movement” believe that people should no longer focus on the quantity of tasks they can achieve, but rather the quality.

It all boils down to the concept of “time poverty.” In today’s impossibly fast-paced world, everyone is feeling chronically short on time. This leads to mental distress, which is an issue in and of itself; high levels of mental distress can also lead to a range of physical health problems as well, directly (such as increased blood pressure) or indirectly (such as feeling that one does not have time to receive treatment for any lingering health problems, which in turn continue to grow worse).

The slow movement essentially asks its followers to practice mindfulness. Instead of trying to finish every task as quickly as possible in order to get to the next task, one needs to take time to think over every task as it comes and complete it with care and thoroughness.

For example, the movement began in 1986 with the concept of “slow food.” Slow food is the antithesis to fast food; it promotes sustainable farming practices and encourages the consumer to shop local and organic. Families and friends should use the time it takes to prepare and eat their food to enjoy each other’s company and not seek to achieve any other tasks or obsess over what else may need to get done.

The movement expanded to encompass most facets of life. “Slow education” is another large element of the movement that seeks to change the very foundation of the academic system. Quality and personalization of education should take precedence over meeting a jam-packed curriculum and standardized testing. Students are more likely to be successful if they can pursue material they are interested in at their own pace, instead of being forced to rush through their education to live up to arbitrary standards.

The slow movement is not just a shift in how one spends their free time, but is a full shift in values. Living a slow life is not just taking the occasional vacation, but a lifestyle commitment that goes against the grain of today’s culture.

Thus, a main criticism of the slow movement is its inherent classism. Many who are living hectic lives aren’t doing so out of desire, but out of necessity; working long hours is necessary for many to make a livable income. It may just not be realistic for those with low incomes to spare the money for items such as good quality organic cooking ingredients, or to have the energy remaining after a work day to cook an involved meal.

While living an entirely slow life may not be achievable for all at this time, its core values are still applicable. Being able to find enjoyment in at least some of the tasks one does and prioritizing connection to others are important aspects of any type of lifestyle. While some hours may feel like a countdown until the end of the day, some must be spent simply savoring the state of being alive, in order to preserve sanity.