Imagine Health

Slow down, you move too fast

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”

Pedestrians by Brian Merrill
Pedestrians by Brian Merrill

Paul Simon and John Lennon knew what they were talking about, but it seems that the world today doesn’t take much heed of their words. Life today is fast, incredibly fast. Many of us lead busier lives than we would like – we get up earlier in the morning and go to bed later at night to try and cram as much into our days as possible. We are constantly contactable be it via phone call, email, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, Hang Out, Ping, Messenger, Facebook…the list goes on. If life continues to speed up at the rate it is currently going, where will it end? What room will be left? Is life just becoming an ever-changing To-Do list of things we need to get through? Will it just become more about the end goal and less about the process? Where is the fun in that?

Gandhi believed that “there is more to life than increasing its speed” and I think we can all safely say, he knew what he was talking about. In recent years, thoughts such as Gandhi’s have sparked a Slow Movement. When a journalist called Carlos Petrini protested about a McDonalds opening in a Piazza in Rome in 1986, he inadvertently started the Slow Food Movement, which has since turned into the Slow Movement, the premise being that faster is not always better and that it’s more important to savour the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. It should however also be acknowledged that it’s not always easy to slow down and savour each moment so it is something that, to begin with, is a conscious effort, but hopefully in time and with practice, moves closer to the unconscious and the automatic.

In recent years I found myself falling foul of a fast paced way of living. As life ramped up, I found myself getting impatient and frustrated when things didn’t happen instantly. If plans changed or I was inconvenienced in any way I took it as a personal affront. What happened to delayed gratification?! Occasions that should have been enjoyable, were often another source of stress. Life was indeed becoming a long To Do list.

It was during this period that, after a LOT of persuasion by my sister (who has practiced it for over ten years), I took up yoga. I was not a fan to begin with. It was far too slow and took up too much of my precious time – I mean who has 90 minutes in their day to stand still and pose like a tree? I certainly didn’t. After a while, however, I started to feel the benefits of it and began to look forward to my 90 minutes of “me time”. Those 90 minutes taught me to slow down and just be in the moment. I didn’t think about what was going on after the class, or the next day or the next week, just about what I was feeling in that moment, and it was wonderful. Without realising it I was becoming part of the Slow Movement. Who knew I was a rebel!

We hear everyone talk about how fast time flies, so slow down, take some time out, savour the moment and enjoy the process. It doesn’t have to be yoga – find something that works for you and allows you to take a step back from the chaos.

And be kinder to yourself. You deserve it.

Alice Kelly