Did you know slow living boosts mental health?
We will get into how, but imagine with me for a moment. You’re headed somewhere and it’s a bit of a drive, but you don’t have a set time to get there. Do you take the scenic route or the long way? Or do you aim to arrive at your destination as soon as possible?
It can be so easy to hyper focus on our destination that we forget to enjoy the journey, but the journey is more important.
The destination will change and we may or may not reach it, but there will still be a journey — though it may look different from time to time. It is in the journey that we learn and grow, but we must first learn to slow down and take a look around. Take the scenic route!You may have heard of slow living and I’m here to tell you why slowing down has great benefits and how it boosts mental health.
So, What Is Slow Living?
Slow living evolved from the slow food movement which began in 19080’s Italy. Carlo Petrini and a group of Italian activists protested the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome, and thus founded the slow food movement. From there the “slow” movement found its way into all other areas of life. Slow living is a countercultural lifestyle that opposes the fast-paced, fast food, fast fashion society we live in along with the hustle & bustle that accompanies it.
Slow Living Chooses Quality Over Quantity, People Over Things, Effectiveness Over Busyness, And Intentionality Over Hurry.
That being said, there is no set of rules and no one way to practice slow living. It is rather about identifying, focusing on, and making time for that which is important to us. Slow living is, figuratively and literally, stopping to smell the roses.
How slow living boosts mental health
1. Slow living shifts your focus to what really matters
Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by the million things you need to do? Are you just taking a jab at your to-do list randomly? If so, you may have lost sight of your priorities. I get it, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you should be doing right this moment.
Slowing down allows for reflection and forces you to evaluate what is most important to you and what needs to get done because if you can’t get to everything (and we can’t), you need to choose what takes priority.
2. Slow living creates space for you to rest
When you know your priorities and non-negotiables you can begin doing less and resting more. The things that don’t matter or make a difference fall away, leaving you with a clearer mind and a rested body.
3. Slow living prioritizes relationships
Relationships are one the most meaningful assets we have as human beings. We are made for relationships and community! They enrich our life in a way nothing else can — especially a relationship with Jesus Christ. Studies show that having a strong support system of those closest to us is essential to healing and managing our mental health.
4. Slow living means being mindful in every area of life and taking a slower approach to your every day.
I love slow mornings. There’s something about taking my time waking up in the morning (if you’re not a morning person either, you may relate!) and having a full breakfast to start my day — as opposed to having to rush out the door half asleep and grab whatever is edible and closest to me. (Ok, it’s actually coffee that gets my day started.) This also allows me to practice mindfulness and really take in my surroundings, how I’m feeling, and even savor my food more.
According to Mental Health Foundation:
“..evidence has suggested the benefit of mindfulness to health and wellbeing, with results showing positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behaviour, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
Mindfulness has also shown to help with a number of conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, addictive behaviours such as alcohol or substance misuse and gambling, and physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.“
If you need practical ideas for how to slow down, read 7 Ways To Practice the Art of Slow Living in Your Daily Life
Friend, I want to encourage you to take the scenic route every once in a while. Take in all the sights, feel all the feels, take time for what matters and improve your mental wellness as a byproduct. What is one way you can start slowing down in your life?