It can seem confusing when we fill our lives with so many things that are supposed to make us happy, yet we end up feeling completely burned out instead. The hustle and bustle of life today can take its toll mentally and physically.
Is your gut telling you it’s time for a reset? Living a slow and simple life can be the perfect antidote to being overworked, overscheduled, and overstimulated. There’s a reason so many people have been jumping on the slow living bandwagon in recent years.
Have you ever felt like maybe things would be better if you lived in a simpler time? Or been tempted to leave the busy world you live in behind for someplace totally different, just so you could get some peace?
I have good news: you don’t have to drop everything and travel back to the 1800s or move to a deserted island to feel happier. In this article, learn more about whether living a slow and simple life might be just what you need.
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What does living a slow and simple life mean?
Living a slow and simple life doesn’t mean you have to become a farmer or throw your smartphone in a lake. The slow living lifestyle is about making choices to pare down your life to what means the most to you so that you can live at a more reasonable pace.
By focusing on the activities and relationships that you cherish most, you can free yourself from busyness that is just for the sake of being busy like everyone else. You learn to protect your time and make opportunities for relaxation a priority.
When you rid your life of excess commitments, you can take a purposeful, more leisurely approach to your days. You begin to cherish quality time more than checking off items from an endless to-do list.
You replace chaos with contentment.
So is it worth it to go against the grain and adopt a slow living lifestyle in today’s fast-paced world? Let’s review some of the reasons you should consider it.
Benefits of Living a Slow and Simple Life
1. You don’t have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses
When you aren’t worried about having the latest technology, the biggest house, or the nicest car, you’ll feel an incredible weight lifted. There’s less pressure to work yourself to the bone just so you can spend more money on things that won’t bring you real happiness.
You can still have an incredibly fulfilling life by living within realistic means. When you’re constantly chasing after higher and higher standards, all you create for yourself is a lot of stress and probably debt.
It’s an endless cycle where nothing you do is ever enough to satisfy your out-of-control desire.
Living a slow and simple life allows you to feel more grateful for what you have. You can reach an understanding that wanting what others have will not bring you joy.
Once you stop comparing yourself to all the others caught up in the rat race, you’ll be able to realize what great pleasure a simple life can bring. It can be incredibly freeing.
For example, you might be able to go after a job you truly enjoy rather than being so focused on the money you earn. Your house will also be less cluttered with stuff you’ve acquired for appearances rather than because these things meant something to you.
Simple living can save you money and keep you from being a slave to busyness 24/7. So why not stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on what you want?
If you’ve been caught up in comparisons for a long time, it may take you some time and effort to figure out your own path to happiness. Slow living is an excellent way to help you get there.
2. You get to savor life’s most precious gift: time
When you’re not rushing everywhere all the time, you can enjoy the little moments in life. It’s often these small moments in daily life that end up being most precious, like snuggling with your child or holding hands with your partner.
Time is the one thing we can’t get more of in life. It slips through our fingers all too quickly, and even quicker when we’ve filled our life with too many activities.
By embracing the slow living movement, you can learn to be calmer and more at ease. You’ll be able to enjoy unscheduled time where wonderful things can happen spontaneously, like an impromptu pillow fight or a meaningful conversation.
If your life has felt crazy recently, you may have to retrain yourself how to relax. You can learn patience and how to enjoy quiet, stillness, and being with your own thoughts.
While it may feel strange or lazy at first, you should grow to enjoy the slower way of life as you realize its many benefits. You’ll be able to experience your life again rather than feeling like a spectator as it whizzes by.
3. You can focus on what matters most, like the people in your life
While intentional living and simple living are not quite the same, their principles do overlap. When you simplify your life, you strip it down to the things that most align with your values. You are left devoting your time and attention to the stuff that matters most, like relationships.
Connections with the people you love deserve your energy and will enrich your time on this earth. When you use a thoughtful eye to examine where you’re spending your time, you can make decisions that will increase your happiness.
You might set an example for your children or others by putting down your phone more often to experience life. Allowing yourself to be in the moment shows those around you that you value them, and you’ll get more out of these interactions.
Simple living could also inspire you to adopt a minimalist mindset. Decluttering takes away the extra stuff and leaves what brings you joy. You can apply minimalism to your belongings as well as your life.
4. Your health can benefit
Living a slow and simple life just feels good—great even. You have less stress and anxiety because you’re not trying to do everything. This can result in huge boosts to your mental health.
When you feel your stress melt away, you may experience less muscle tightness, headaches, aches and pains, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
You’re not as tired all the time because your days aren’t go, go, go. You’ve realized the importance of downtime and embraced a slower pace of life.
You can prevent burnout and maybe even chronic illness like high blood pressure. You’ll be eating less fast food because you’re not living out of your car and never at home.
You might try mindful eating, which involves slowing down and enjoying your food. When you pay attention to your body’s sensations and take your time while eating, you can have a better experience and not overeat.
There’s also the slow food movement, which advocates for less use of processed food. Going back to more whole and healthful foods can do anyone some good. If you enjoy cooking, this may be a great fit.
All in all, simple living provides benefits for both your mental and physical health.
5. You have richer, deeper experiences
When you’re living the slow life, you’re more attuned to your surroundings and experience things more fully. Your mind isn’t in a constant state of panic, worried and jumping from one task to the next.
You can be present in the moment. You might practice mindfulness and gratitude because you have the time and ability to focus.
Have you ever noticed the difference between when you’re trying to capture moments on camera versus when you simply enjoy the experience in real time? It’s hard to take in the awe of a special moment through the lens of a camera when your focus is on getting the shot rather than what’s happening.
I think that’s a good analogy for the difference in what it can be like to experience life while slow living—things are clearer and have greater impact. You feel moments more deeply.
As mentioned earlier, you’re also able to have more intimate connections with people. When your attention isn’t fractured and you can just be for a while, it opens the door to relate to others in a meaningful way.
6. You can boost your productivity and creativity
Multitasking might make you feel like you’re getting more done, but the truth is often quite the opposite. Doing two or more things at once can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40%, according to some research.
The irony is an over-busy life may actually be keeping you from getting things done, or at least the important things. Mental clutter is a symptom of today’s way of living, and it can be stifling.
By slowing down, you can focus your attention on a task and complete it more efficiently and with better results.
Similarly, stress is a known creativity killer, according to psychologists. When your mind is scattered and your body on alert, it’s hard to get your creative juices flowing. There’s a reason many artists are living the slow life.
7. You feel lighter and happier
Greater happiness is the culmination of living a slow and simple life. You’re not fighting to accomplish an unrealistic number of tasks and wanting to scream when things don’t go your way. You’re not feeling scatterbrained all the time.
Concerns about being as good as everyone else are fading away.
Your life feels purposeful, and you’re getting real meaning and enjoyment out of it. Your loved ones might even take notice, as you’ll be more present in what’s going on, and probably in a better mood too.
You have time and energy to pay attention to those around you, nurturing those important relationships.
When you exchange the whirlwind of modern life for a simpler way of living, the pressure to do it all goes away. Your money worries will diminish if you’ve decided to embrace minimalism or at least live within your means and let go of materialism.
You have less stuff weighing you down every day.
Once you have more quiet time on your hands, you can better connect with yourself, including understanding your own wishes for life. You can put your own needs and desires back on the priority list, and you’ll have the time to attend to them.
It’s a recipe for a more fulfilling life.
Are you ready for slow and simple living?
Slow living is a more rewarding way of being, but in today’s world, it will take conscious effort to get there.
It’s all too easy to say yes to everything and live in a state of constant comparison where you’re trying to live up to an Instagram-worthy life of perfection. We’re influenced by all the messages that place excess value on possessions (and therefore, money).
Plus, our society frequently tells us that being active is better than rest and relaxation. Yet, this is counter to the many benefits we’ve reviewed of living a simple life.
You don’t have to drop everything and become Amish to enjoy a simple life. You can start paring down your to-do list, prioritizing unscheduled time, putting an end to multitasking, and decluttering your possessions.
You have the power to say no to things that don’t deserve space in your life. You might start by looking at your media consumption and seeing whether this is time well spent.
Practice gratitude and begin to enjoy the little moments. Reacclimate yourself to the wonders of being still and at rest.
Make decisions each day that allow you to slow down, and over time you can find yourself living a simpler life, and hopefully one that gives you great enjoyment.
Simple living isn’t a cure for all stress or hard work in life, but it can help you in many ways.
Check out these slow living quotes for more inspiration.
If you want to dive deeper into slow and simple living, these books can help:
- Chasing Slow by by Erin Loechner
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
- Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
- Seeking Slow: Reclaim Moments of Calm in Your Day by Melanie Barnes
- When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good by Emily Ley