In our speedy times, why do we find it so hard to slow down?
What do we fear we may miss out on by slowing down? Do we want to be seen as productive? Do we want to achieve?
Hurrying can mean missing out on pleasure
Yet, how much pleasure can be lost when we hurry. Is a catch up with friends better snatched in five minutes or more enjoyable when taking time to linger? Is a meal better when gulped down while doing other tasks or when it is savoured over a whole evening?
Slow down and still get things done
And, perhaps, as Lao Tzu believed, it is possible get things done without hurrying: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
Guy Claxton, psychologist certainly believes so. His book Hare Brain Tortoise Mind looks at why intelligence increases when you think less. He explores the effectiveness of slower ways of knowing. He thinks that the mind is more absorbent and resilient when it is not stressed, questioned or rebuked.
The Slow movement
There is a modern slow movement too that challenges the cult of speed. Carl Honore writes about embracing its philosophy in In Praise of Slow. He finds out about slow food, slow cities, slow medicine, slow sex and slow parenting.
The slow movement movement
Feldenkrais and other somatic movement teachers (such as Tai Chi, Alexander Technique, Aikido and Rolfing) also know that slowing down can lead to better wellbeing.
Alan Fogel, psychology professor, explains why how you move can be as important as how much you move.
In Awareness Through Movement classes we slow down our movements so we can notice more. We hone our body sensing abilities. We detect and let go of unneeded tension. This leaves us with a more graceful, intuitive way of moving freely.
Slow down…then speed up
Slow ways of learning can help you to speed up again.
Edward Yu, ex-triathlete and martial artist, tells how the art of slowing down can help us learn to walk or run faster. His book recounts his personal story of trying harder, yet finding he improved less. He shows ‘slow down’ practical exercises taken from Tai Chi, Feldenkrais and Bagua.