The Benefits of Slowing Down and Living A Simpler Life: Pt 1

The benefits that come from slowing down and living a more simple life are numerous. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race, but what if the key to happiness is actually slowing down and living a simpler life?

For part 2 click here.

More, More, More!

We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us that we need more in order to be happy. More belongings, more money, more status: more everything. But do we?

Do you ever look at someone – who you believe to be happy – with envy? Perhaps you think they must have their sh*t together? No problems to ruin things, no money worries, perfect homes, careers, relationships. Perfect lives, in fact.

Nobody Has a Perfect Life

Sometimes, lives portrayed on social media – especially in those infamous Instagram squares – look perfect to the outsider. But they’re not. That home you lust after isn’t real life, it’s specially curated for a photograph. It’s been tidied and cleaned, with all the food, toys, clothes etc put away. Yes, perhaps they’re put away in their proper places on a regular basis, but they still have to be out on display at times. Often, the homes of influencers don’t even look like normal homes – they look like soulless palaces or show homes. At the end of the day, does that really make them inviting?

Our homes are meant to be lived in, not arranged and staged perfectly for an unknown person on the ‘gram to look at. It’s fine to share nice pictures when you’re proud of your home, that isn’t the issue. By all means keep your home clean and tidy, and take nice photos – that doesn’t harm you or anyone else – but doing it simply because you’re trying to project a perfect life won’t make you happy. Perfect just doesn’t exist, and the adoration of strangers on the internet won’t provide you with the happiness you seek. (We’ll be discussing this further in a future article.)

Quality of Life: it’s Not About the Stuff

When you look at the people mentioned above, you aren’t seeing what’s going on behind the scenes. Some are honest with their friends or followers, but many aren’t. And it’s not just social media, it’s people in real life, too. We probably all have one of ‘those’ friends, who never seem to put a foot wrong, or for whom life seems easy compared to ours.

You may find it difficult to stop comparing yourself with someone else, but for your own sake, it’s essential that you do. Developing a strong sense of self, perhaps by building your self-confidence, can help with this. Because once you know your own worth, you’re less likely to be negatively affected if you do compare your life with someone else’s. And this leads us on to our stuff, and the more, more, more culture we find ourselves living in.

What Happens When We Keep Getting More?

As we’ve discussed many times at PO, bringing more and more stuff into our lives doesn’t make us fulfilled. In many cases, it’s quite the opposite. Our belongings can begin to weigh us down, especially if we are compulsive shoppers. How many people do you know who have a wardrobe full of clothes yet still complain they have nothing to wear? Perhaps you’re one of them?

Back to influencers – many are encouraging their followers to shop so they can earn from them, and their followers do just that. Not everyone has the confidence to think, ‘that’s nice but I don’t need it’. Some will just spend, spend, spend, until they end up with too much stuff – and often, money problems because of it.

Fame = Success = Happiness, Right?

There’s a feeling of envy that can come from looking at someone and believing that they’re happy when you’re not. But do you look at that person and immediately think, they’re happy because of their belongings? Or because they’re surrounded by objects? No, of course you don’t.

If that were the case, there’d be no unhappy people in the public eye, but there are. Many famous stars suffer with mental health issues – we’ve witnessed enough self-destruction, sad demises, and worse over the years to know that – yet they can afford the best of everything. We have to eventually realise/conclude that money, success, fame, and things, do not lead to happiness. So what can bring happiness?

Slowing Down

Slowing down, for whatever reason, can make often help us to begin appreciating the smaller things in life. We still have 24 hours in a day to do whatever it is we need to do, but ironically, slowing down can make our time seem more expansive.

In 1986, Carlo Petrini (author of Food and Freedom) began a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Rome. This was the trigger for the beginning of the Slow Food Movement, and in the years that followed, the slow movement itself began. Its ethos was that everything in life could be done well at a slower, less frantic, pace. The movement continues to the present day, but it’s not controlled by anyone. It’s simply a global collective of people who believe that life can be lived in a slower and more enjoyable manner.

Carl Honoré wrote his book, In Praise of Slow, in 2004. He summed up the slow movement thus:

It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.

If you noticed, one of our favourite phrases appears in that final sentence: quality over quantity. That’s where we’ll continue in Part 2, so stay tuned.

The Benefits of Slowing Down & Living A Simpler Life: Pt 2

slowing down


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