Marin Nomad Feature Article: “Live Slow: The Secret To a Better Life”

Last week I injured my back. Ah, yes, we all hear it often “oh, an injury, huh- a sign you need to slow down” ok ok ok, I know…I must practice what I preach. So I dug this article up that I wrote a little while back to remind all of us here in Marin and Beyond to s l o w down and chill.

 

What would it be like to wake up one morning and decide to cut the pace of your regular life in half, to slow down, way down, and savor life’s simple pleasures? instead of gulping that morning cup of coffee or power smoothie, languishing in every sip for a moment while enjoying the brilliant rays of sun pouring in the window, and effortlessly committing to being present during conversation with loved ones. In our fast paced lives we often go at dizzying speeds and then pay the consequences. Relationships feel fragmented, children and those we care about are starved for attention, our stress levels soar and our health suffers.

When we consciously slow down and decide not to rush there is often a stigma attached. The inner critic revs up and chides, “you’re not doing enough, keep going, doing, producing, don’t be lazy…” And then the guilt settles in. Yet when we slow down and allow life to move at a slower rhythm most likely during those quiet spaces in-between, the creative thoughts bubble up and flow, and quite ironically, our levels of productivity often improve. The focus then becomes about quality with a greater attention to detail and not necessarily quantity. And as a consequence we are happier and find more time to enjoy what’s right in front of us rather than searching for the next best thing.

When we begin to tune into the present moment we reap the benefits of living at a slower pace: we feel more, find more time for our loved ones and yes, we’re more at peace.

“Slowing down gives you needed perspective during times of transition and stress” says stress consultant and psychotherapist Dr. Richard Carlson. Our capacity to pay attention moment to moment has been called many things but most notably, mindfulness. A pioneer in the field of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat Zin, states, “Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being. When we practice mindfulness we are less caught up in and at the mercy of our destructive emotions, and we are then predisposed to greater emotional intelligence and balance and therefore to greater happiness because living mindfully gives us more satisfaction in our job, in our family and in our life in general.”

In the US, the average meal is 11 minutes long – with some breakfasts and lunches lasting barely 2 minutes. Opposed to the culture of fast food and fast eating, the sub-movement known as Slow Food seeks to encourage the enjoyment of regional produce, traditional foods, which are often grown organically and to enjoy these foods slowly in the company of others. Why is it better to slow down while eating? It takes about twenty minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’ve had enough,” says Kim Gorman, RD, director of the weight management program at the University of Colorado, Denver, Health Sciences Center. “If you eat slowly you’re less likely to overeat.” And for many of us food equals happiness so we definitely want a good relationship with it.

Here is a list of 4 ways to help slow you down:

1. Step away for 10 minutes. Take a few minutes each day to step out of conventional clock time- let your mind wander and relax your focus. This is often when we are more open to creative impulses and the answers that we’re often searching for.

2. Prioritize what is most important and learn to say no.

3. Make a “do not do” instead of a “to do” list.

4. Set aside time for a mindful/slow paced activity every day. A slow walk, a slow meal, or partake in something that gives you a lot of pleasure at a slower pace than normal. Notice how your mood shifts.
 

When we begin to tune into the present moment we reap the benefits of living at a slower pace: we feel more, find more time for our loved ones and yes, we’re more at peace.

marinnomad

As a photographer, writer, psychotherapist and nature lover, I am passionate about living in Marin County, CA. The perfect home base, Fairfax, CA is where I get out daily on the miles and miles of open space and find inspiration and plot my next journey out of Marin into the world. More about Mary... Mary is a New York Native who has been living in Northern CA for the past 20 years. She is a "Creative Image Photographer" infusing digital images with innovative techniques. Her favorite spot to take photos is muddled amidst the trees of Marin County CA, or in an exotic urban environment near the ocean, under the sky, and completely in awe. Mary's goal is to capture this scenery, to reach into the mystery of life, into the everyday magic, use the light and the dark as guides, delve into the chaos or the quiet and capture and whittle away at these snapshots, without disrupting their original essence, until they come alive and rich with depth and mood. Her mission is to create unique works of art that bring this depth, mystery, upheaval or serenity to people's walls and homes and ultimately that her work becomes a catalyst to help shift onlookers mood and outlook even if for a moment in time. Her work has been described as dreamy, ethereal, mysterious and mythical and yet also simple and straightforward. Currently her photos are on display at Google Headquarters in California.

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