Hey there, today I want to talk to you about transitioning from the relentless hustle to the blissful state of harmony. You see, instead of merely slowing down, I believe in the transformative power of being truly present in our lives. So, let’s dive into this journey of being present and its profound impact.

Just like many of you, the hustle mentality was deeply ingrained in my life, especially during my twenties. I hustled through college, juggling a part-time job, an unpaid internship, working at my school’s newspaper, socializing with friends, and spending quality time with my then-boyfriend, now my husband. This mentality then followed me into my career, where every waking moment was consumed by work.

No doubt, hustling brought me some successes. I graduated from college with honors and began to set about collecting the appropriate personal and professional benchmarks outlined by society. However, this relentless pace took a toll on my physical health, mental health and overall well-being. Inside I was constantly drained, both mentally and physically. The anxiety I’ve carried since my youth became an ever-present shadow, and many personal life goals got pushed aside. It was clear that something had to change.

The solution? Being present.

In a world where hustling is the norm, the art of being present is easier said than done. It requires time and effort, much like breaking any habit, but trust me, it’s worth every ounce of effort. Personally, embracing being present significantly reduced my stress, anxiety, and overwhelm; it brought more ease into my life and gifted me more time for the things that truly bring joy. So, overall, I’d give it a 10/10 recommendation. And guess what? There’s a name for this concept: slow living.

While the idea of living at a slower pace isn’t new, it’s gained significant traction in recent years as more people seek refuge from the fast-paced existence. So, if you’re curious about how to live a slower life, stick around and let me share what I’ve learned about being present and slow living, its benefits, and how to make it a part of your life.

What Is Slow Living?
Slow living encompasses various facets, but it boils down to this: “Slow living is embracing a mindful, intentional way of living that emphasizes being present and slowing down in your everyday life,” as described by life and empowerment coach Laina Caltagirone. This concept is a profound departure from a culture that glorifies living in the fast lane.

Interestingly, the term “slow living” originated in the 1980s, coined by Italian activist Carlo Petrini, who initiated the “slow food” movement in response to the fast-food culture. He believed in savoring food and reconnecting with Italian culture and values, including a focus on family, community, and quality of life. This movement eventually expanded to include mindfulness, simplicity, and sustainability.

Caltagirone emphasizes that slow living isn’t about passivity or laziness; in fact, slowing down and being present in everything you do makes you more effective. It’s the shift from multitasking to “monotasking,” doing one thing at a time with intention.

I can certainly vouch for this. One of my fears about being present was that I wouldn’t achieve my goals quickly enough – something a Type-A personality like mine dreads. Yet, as I embraced slow living, I discovered quite the opposite. Slowing down forced me to be intentional with my time and energy, helping me achieve my goals more efficiently and sooner.

The Health Benefits of Being Present
Being present in your life carries numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Meghan Rose, an astrologer and spiritual mentor, explains that being present allows you to savor each moment, fostering mindfulness, which can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, and even lower blood pressure. Research supports these psychological benefits, including increased overall well-being, reduced emotional reactivity, and better behavioral regulation.

In essence, Caltagirone highlights that being present leads to higher levels of happiness and well-being, greater peace of mind and clarity, and less dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Moreover, Rose suggests that being present supports individuals in finding purpose and fulfillment by balancing work and personal life, strengthening relationships, and finding joy in everyday tasks that are often rushed through.

How to Practice Being Present
To start reaping the benefits of being present, here are some expert tips on incorporating more mindfulness into your life:

1. Master Time Management
Since being present involves moving at a slower pace, effective time management becomes paramount. However, the goal isn’t to fill every moment in your schedule; it’s about creating spaciousness. You can start by making small adjustments, like leaving a few minutes early for appointments to avoid feeling rushed. Additionally, try not to schedule back-to-back appointments and leave some empty time in your day to simply be and relax without an agenda.

For me, time management played a pivotal role in my journey towards being present. It compelled me to assess how I spent my time and energy, distinguishing what truly mattered and what needed to be let go of.

Pro tip: Consider tracking your tasks throughout the day to gain insights into your time allocation. Tools like the Toggl app work wonders, but pen and paper (or a bullet journal) will do the trick.

2. Prioritize Unplugging
Technology often consumes more of our time than we realize. Watching one TikTok video can quickly turn into half an hour of mindless scrolling – time that could have been invested in activities that nurture you. To practice being present, disconnect from technology when possible.

Of course, everyone’s lifestyle differs. If, like me, you rely on technology for your livelihood, this can be challenging. The key, as Caltagirone suggests, is to start by unplugging during small moments in your day, like meals or morning rituals.

So, what should you do during this unplugged time? Caltagirone recommends rest and relaxation, which could involve walks, massages, reading, journaling, or spending time in nature.

Rose adds that this unplugged time also offers an opportunity to reconnect with hobbies you enjoy, whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or cooking – anything that helps you detach and be fully present.

3. Embrace Sustainable and Local Choices
Beyond how you spend your time, slow living extends to consumption. Rose advises making sustainable and local choices when possible. Instead of blindly following trends, eating fast food, or one-click ordering from Amazon, try slowing down your consumerism. Take a pause before purchasing and consider whether you truly need that new item, or if you can rediscover and revitalize old pieces. Could you spend a few minutes planning your meals and snacks each week to avoid last-minute hunger and drive-throughs?

Remember, it’s not about perfection. Sometimes, our hectic schedules and tight budgets may not allow for sustainable or local shopping, and that’s okay too.

4. Embrace Mindfulness Practices
Being present in the moment is a cornerstone of slow living, and Caltagirone recommends practicing present-moment awareness. For those with busy lives and responsibilities, mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming. It’s about taking short breaks throughout the day to simply… be.

“Take moments to pause, breathe, and fully experience your surroundings with your senses,” says Caltagirone. Notice what you hear, feel, see, smell, and experience – it

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