How to Live More Slowly in a Busy World?

The Slow Movement is the new way to live. It started in Italy with the Slow Food and we now speak of Slow Travel, Slow Walking, Slow Dating, … It’s all about SLOWING DOWN. We can not keep rushing and going faster, we may need to do less and go more slowly.

Less Activities, Less Stress!

So many options, so many ads, so many offers and yet one day is still 24 hours. We tend to accumulate as many activities as we can. Why not trying this or this or this… But we end up overloaded with activities. Having less activities could give us more time and energy to appreciate the ones we do. And we could even have some free time to do something unplanned.

Organization for a Clear Mind

It’s important to be organized so that we don’t get overwelmed and lost. We need to prioritize and structure our days. Our essentials first and what’s optional after. So we need to have a clear idea of what’s essential and optional. It can sometimes be good not to do certain things. Besides, having a routine can help and setting up the time, space and tools for our activities is really helpful. It’s half of the job done.

Saying No to Recenter

Doing less means saying no. It’s hard sometimes to renunce to certain things or turn down invitations but in the long run it’s better. We have to be realistic, we can not do everything and say yes to all the offers we receive. Saying no is just as important as saying yes. When we say no we give ourselves some space and time. We can recenter and listen to our body before engaging in another activity.

Be Alternative – In Praise of Slow – Tips by Carl Honoré

Avoiding business is an art… Do you have some tips? How do you do to slow down and not be overloaded?

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Hierarchy Of Needs: From Pyramid To Circle

Maslow’s pyramid is well known to hierarchize our needs. His idea is that we first need food and water, once those needs are met we will look for shelter and once we have a shelter we are interested in relationships, etc.

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However, a recent study with people aged from 9 to 80 years old and led by Barbara Goebel and Dolorès Brown revealed that the most important need is the one for belonging, for connection. That’s also pointed out in an experiment where newborns where nourished and cleaned but didn’t receive any signs of affection. The babies, even though physicologically healthy, died. It clearly shows that affeciton is vital.

Instead of the pyramid of needs, psychologists now propose a circle of needs with affection and connection in the middle. Their idea is that the 5 human needs should be met at the same time and balanced but not necessarily hierarchized.

Mind and Body Healing… Forest Bathing!

Forest bathing or sylvotherapy is beneficial for our mind and body. Going forest bathing means walking slowly in nature usually without phones or any technological devices. Popular in Japan where they call it ‘shinrin-yoku’, which literally means bathing in the forest. The benefits of this practice have been known intuitively for many years but they are now proven scientifically.

  • Less Stress, Less Cortisol

Trees are liberating molecules called phytoncides which have the property of reducing the amount of cortisol in our blood. When we walk in the forest we are breathing those molecules which allows us to relax. After a though day or discussions, we could head to the forest and release the tensions.

  • Slower Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

An experiment showed that the heart rate and blood pressure of people had decreased after walking for 15 min  and sitting for 15 more min looking at the scenery. Good news, forest bathing can preserve our cardiovascular system and also help people dealing with cardiovascular diseases.

  • Boost the Immune System

Dr. Ging Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees can Help Find Health and Happiness, explainsthat it has an effect on our immune system as well. Forest bathing boosts the production of immune cells such as the NK, the natural killers.

The Art And Science of Forest Bathing with Dr. Ging Li

Forest bathing seems to get everything right. We just have to find a little green corner in our neighborhood and put our wellies on if it’s muddy.

Have a lovely bath! ❀

9 Pillars of Emotional Stability

Emotions are part of our life and it colors our days. But sometimes they turn out to be rather dark and not that colourful. To understand better our emotional needs here are listed our primary and secondary emotional needs.

Our Primary Emotional Needs      

  1. Security

We all need to feel safe. To have a refuge where we feel protected. A place where there is no need to fight, flight or freeze.

      2. Control

We can not control everything but we need to have some control over our life. Knowing our actions matter and have an effect on the outcomes gives us a feeling of autonomy.

       3. Respect

To feel fulfilled and worthy we need to be acknowledged. To feel that we are respected for who we are.

Our Secondary Emotional Needs

      4. Privacy

We need to have some downtime where we can ease our mind and let go of all the tensions. It can be a meditative time.

      5. Paying and Receiving Attention

As much as we need to feel that people pay attention to us, we need to pay attention to others. We have to find a balance between the both.

 6. Being Part of a Community

Without a community, a human can not survive that’s why we are social animals. We need each other for help and to share our experiences. It has been showed that long-term solitude leads to health issues and a shorter lifespan.

    7. Intimacy

We need someone to whom we don’t have to hide anything. A confident. It’s an unconditional acceptation from at least one person. The witness of our life. Diaries can also help.

    8. Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a feeling of value. To be able to forgive ourselves and don’t feel ashamed because of our mistakes and flaws. It’s a sense of dignity. When self-esteem is true, there is no need to be judged positively to feel of value.

9. Meaning

Feeling that our life is worth being lived and that we have a reason to live. It helps us go through hardship. It’s about expressing our true nature, feeling connected and having a place in this world. It’s our motivation to wake up every morning.               

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Those 9 pillars could help us figure out our current needs and how to meet them. With emotional stability we can start to blossom.

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Relax with Heart Coherence in 5 min

The heart coherence is a 5,5 breathing pattern. We inspire during 5 seconds and expire during 5 seconds. We do this during 5 min. It’s simple and efficient to calm down.

This breathing technique rebalances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. Which allows our body to function at its best. Better digestion, better sleep and better regeneration of the cells.

David O’hare author of the book Hear Coherence 365: A guide to Long Lasting Heart Coherence advices us to do it 3 times a day for best results. But let’s do it when we can.

 

Heart Coherence video 5Hz

Intellectual Quotient or Love Quotient?

High IQ, the Myth

Having a high IQ doesn’t mean you’re better, life is easier for you, you’re lucky… No. The myth of the little genius is outdated. Intellectual intelligence isn’t what we need the most.

Being intellectually gifted doesn’t mean being better than others. We acknowledge the fact that a beautiful person isn’t better than someone else or that being wealthier than the average doesn’t make you a better person. With intelligence, it’s the same.

And it’s not because you have a high IQ that you know everything, quite the opposite. It usually means being full of questions and doubts more than answers and certitudes.

We need to realize the inaccuracy of the little genius myth. Einstein wasn’t perfect, didn’t know everything, made mistakes, wasn’t a better person. He had an efficient intellect which allowed him to make scientific discoveries. But there are different types of intelligence and we forget that everyone is gifted in a different way. What about the gifted singers, the gifted dancers or cookers or cabinet-makers or athletes…

Intelligence comes in many different ways not just intellectual but also relational, emotional, kinesthesic, … Gardner talks about 8 different types.

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Hypersensitivity

So an intellectually gifted kid isn’t better than the other kids of his age and he isn’t boasting when he explains that he got a high score when he passed the IQ test. Life isn’t gonna be easier for him. He won’t necessarily be successful at school and later in life. It’s a kid who needs help as much as any other and he may require particular support.

High IQ usually goes along with hypersensitivity which means high potential for suffering if the kid isn’t allowed to express his emotions and understand them. Emotions that are usually perceived as ‘too much’, exaggerated and not taken seriously by others.

A high intellectual quotient doesn’t necessarily mean having a high emotional intelligence. For hypersensitive kids, but others as well, it’s crucial to learn to welcome, recognize and understand their emotions.

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Love Quotient

It’s not easy to go beyond the fascination for high IQ and the stereotype of gifted people being successful, lucky and having a library instead of a head. But this stereotype isn’t the reality and intellectual intelligence isn’t what we need the most.

The emphasize on IQ would be better replaced by LQ because intelligence isn’t as important as love for a fulfilling and happy life. There are examples of people who despite their disabilities have inspired and helped others:

  • An autistic stylist wrote a book about how he turned his difference into a strength (Romain Brifault).
  • A trisomic artist is known worldwide for her great paintings (Manon Vichy).
  •  A man born without arms and legs travels the world and became a travel writer (Chris Koch)
  •  A physically handicaped philosopher inspires millions of people through his wisdom (Alexandre Jollien).

We sometimes forget that everyone is gifted in a different way. And isn’t it so much nicer to spend time with someone who has a huge heart rather than a huge head? ❤

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Accept Your Emotions

We may live in an age of reason, our emotions speak. We have something to learn from them.

Listening to our postive and negative emotions will teach us about ourselves and the world we live in.

Ekman,  supported by the Dalai Lama,  designed this Atlas of Emotions as a guide to better understand them. Simple and clear, have a look:

http://atlasofemotions.org

”We can never obtain peace in the outer world  until we make peace with ourselves.” Dalaï Lama

Feel Inspired by the Wheel of Well-Being

On Saturday, I went for a walk around Horminam Garden. In any season I found this place resourceful. It’s always nice to wander through the wild trail or along the flowerbeds and finally enjoy the view from the bandstand. But that day, it was actually the World Mental Health Day and different activites promoting positive mental health and well being were taking place in Horminam Garden. Through those activities we could explore the WoW (Wheel of Well-being).

wheel of life

This Wheel of Well-being is divided into six categories : body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet. It’s a guide to help us live well. It shows that the way we think and feel is as important as good food and physcial exercise. Nowaday’s we speak more and more about well-being especially because of the growing number of depressions. But depressed or not, it’s wort working on our well-being. When we feel good we tend to have a stronger immune system, we are more creative and more open to people.

The WoW is here to inspire us so that we can find simple things to do on a daily basis.

  • ”Body” reminds us that physical activity is essential to be physically but also mentally healthy. And even just 30min of exercise a day makes a difference.
  • ”Mind” shows the importance of learning and pursuing our hobbies. Either we start playing scrabble more often or grab the guitar we had put aside, that could be a good beginning.
  • ”Spirit” is about giving and sharing which means saying thank you or spending some time volunteering.
  • ”People” emphasizes the benefits of close relationships and the connection with people in general, importance of the good moments spent with the people sharing our life.
  • ”Space” is about reconnecting to our environment. Which is simply slowing down, contemplating and breathing.
  • ”Planet” symbolizes the connection to nature. which is something we should take care of. So let’s get on our bikes and start recycling.

The London based associations which created this Wheel of Well-being are giving some more tips on their website, have a look : wheelofwellbeing.org

And why not trying to create our own wheel of well-being!

VOX POP: What makes you feel good?

When you have a bad day, feel low or just want to have a good time, some inspirations about what to do can be helpful!

Personally, I sometimes keep doing the same thing and don’t try new activities. I thought that people would be inspiring. I spent a day asking them what do they usually do when they want to feel good… This is what they told me:

  • A walk on the beach, ”I feel the fresh air and it clears my mind”
  • To take care of myself, ”I spend time in the bathroom to look after my body or take a warm bath”

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  • To practice cardiac coherence, ”I recently read a book about the cardiac coherence, it’s amazing. So now, I like to take 5 minutes to just breath”
  • To cook, ”Once I cooked something, I enjoy coming back home and degusting it”
  • To go slowly, ”I just take my time and it makes me feel really good”
  • To put the watch away, ”I take off my watch and enjoy a moment without imperativeDSC_0894
  • A time with friends, ”I go and see my friends or I call to have a chat”
  • To focus on something, ”I watch a film, a serie or a video games. I focus on it and forget all the rest”

 

And you?

Going slowly: Efficiency, Creativity or Revolution

When we want to get things done, it’s not just about going fast. Slowness has actually a role to play.

SLOW DOWN TO WORK BETTER

Slowing down at the right moment enables us to work better, learn better and in general to perform better. It’s not because we go slowly that we are unproductive. But in fact, by going slow we could also achieve great things. Some neuroscientists have studied the influence of speed on our brain activity. They observed that slowing down can have benefits on our mental state. When we don’t rush but take the time needed, we are less excited. The result is that we are more concentrated and aware of what we are doing. It improves our performance and work quality .

At a mental level, we can notice a transient hypofrontality which means a temporary reduction of the precortex activity. To understand better the benefits of that deactivation I had a look at Steven Kotler’s work. He explains that it shuts down our sense of self-doubt and our brain’s inner critic which instead boosts confidence and creativity. It is seen as a flow state. This state is found in hippie community but not only there. It is present in every altered state from dreaming and mindfulness to psychedelic trips. By losing the ability to assess past, present, future we are plunged into the deep now and the flow. Scientists start to explore the subject because it can sometimes result in higher efficiency.

DAY DREAMING

Daydreaming is not about working slow but rather about letting your imagination go. Thoughts come and go in our mind. It’s natural, spontaneous and unexpected. Sometimes we don’t even understand the origin of our thoughts, it’s unconscious. One of the most famous daydreamer I heard of his Einstein. He spent hours looking out of the window in silence. And those moments have been source of inspiration and creativity, leading to ingenious ideas. The connotations attached to slowness such as laziness or boredom are not always accurate.

That’s why the idea of constant stimulation is being questioned. We should accept not to be restlessly in movement. Sometimes it’s beneficial to stop moving, to stop thinking and just be. We usually keep in our mind worries, duties, deadlines or homework and we stick to them. Even some kids do that. A study at Harvard revealed a positive impact on children when we give them time and space. It allows them to discover the world by themselves, work on who they are, think, reflect and even get bored. But as the child in us never really dies, it could also be applied to adults.

A SLOW REVOLUTION HAS ALREADY STARTED

The slow food has been popular for a few years now, in reaction to the fast food. But the slow revolution actually goes further. I recently came across a talk about the International Slow Movement and I have been amazed by all the different fields tackled. It goes from hobbies to fashion and from travel to urban design. Some new trendy past time are colouring mandala, jigsaw puzzle or even knitting and slow cities are being developed all around Europe. When even speed yoga classes are being created, it seems that the world is obsess with speed. The slow revolution is a response to that. It promotes an alternative: instead of going even faster, let’s take our time.