The art of slow living: Best slow hobbies for good mental health

Slow living is the new trend, attracting not just everyday people but also celebrities who are pressing pause on their fast-paced lives to rediscover what they've been missing.

By Nikita Bhardwaj

In our era of instant coffee, 5G networks, and bullet trains – a world obsessed with speed – a new culture is sprouting: slow living. The idea is to hit the pause button on your hectic life and activate the mindful side of your brain to bring in much-needed calm.

Why are we, the so-called pace setters, suddenly talking about slow living?

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Maybe you’re wondering what this trend is all about, or perhaps you’re pondering its very meaning. Regardless, celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, and many others are embracing slow living by adopting relaxing hobbies.

Why is everyone talking about this trend?

On the surface, slow living is about embracing the restful aspects of life. Everyone, from homemakers to CEOs, is constantly running their own race. Each person faces their own struggles, with new daily targets that create a constant feeling of walking a tightrope. This constant pressure triggers a major societal ill: stress. Stress wrecks our mental well-being, leaving us feeling hollow. In extreme cases, it can shatter a person’s self-confidence and ability to lead a happy life. The rat race often leaves people like you and me with no time to cherish the moments that truly make us happy. Hence, the art of slow living.

Image: Indian psychiatrist Dr. Santosh Bangar (Source: Sanctum Foundation)

According to renowned Indian psychiatrist Dr Santosh Bangar, a senior consultant at Gleneagles Hospitals in Mumbai, India,

“Slow living is a lifestyle choice that includes mindfulness, simplicity, and being present in the moment. Currently, people are living hectic lives, constantly on the go, working according to notifications and obligations. They often don’t have time to connect with their families and friends. This is why many are opting for the idea of slowing down.”

He added, “Slow living reduces stress, builds deeper connections with others, and helps people live in the present and show empathy towards others. Many people are also choosing slow living as a way to tackle burnout and restore balance in their lives. Due to erratic schedules, deadlines, meetings, and presentations, people are overwhelmed and exhausted by their demanding professional or personal lives.”

“Slow living offers much-needed relief by allowing one to set boundaries, practice self-care, lower blood pressure, cook balanced meals, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Slow living also helps to practice gratitude and allows you to tackle anxiety-inducing issues in a better way. Constant stress and anxiety lead to excess levels of the cortisol hormone, which causes effects like food cravings and weight gain, further putting you at risk for diabetes and heart disease.”

Deepika Padukone chooses embroidery. Hrithik Roshan enjoys pottery. What’s your slow living hobby?

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Thanks to Instagram, we get a glimpse into the lives of celebrities and other influential people who motivate us daily. Some famous Indian actors like Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Saba Azad, and many others have confessed to adopting slow living hobbies to become more mindful.

Time and again, it’s been proven that hobbies that take time, such as embroidery, pottery, gardening, cooking, etc., are therapeutic in nature.

Dr Bangar explains,

“Gardening encourages mindfulness and establishes a strong connection with nature. Seeding, watering, and nurturing plants require patience, perseverance, and dedication.”

He adds further: “Once the plant grows, there’s a sense of accomplishment as you witness your garden flourish over time. You grow the plant with tender love and care, which in turn benefits you by providing fresh air and easing stress. Apart from gardening, painting or drawing are other examples. These hobbies help with self-expression, providing relief from the daily hustle and bustle. Mixing colors, creating outlines, and bringing a blank canvas to life can be a therapeutic, satisfying, and rewarding experience. These hobbies boost creativity and help you gain a deeper understanding and awareness of your surroundings.”

Should we try slow living hobbies?

In today’s frenetic world, carving out time for slow hobbies can be a powerful antidote to the constant hustle. These activities offer a welcome respite, fostering relaxation and a sense of calm.

Gardening isn’t just about cultivating flowers or vegetables. It’s about the transformative act of nurturing life, witnessing the beauty of a seed blossoming into a vibrant plant. The fruits (or vegetables!) of your labor provide not only enjoyment but also a tangible connection to the natural world.

Slow hobbies like knitting or crafting are more than just creating something beautiful. They provide a meditative experience, focusing your mind on repetitive yet rewarding tasks. These deliberate movements serve as a form of stress relief.

In today’s whirlwind world, prioritizing mental well-being can feel like an uphill battle.  But here’s the secret weapon: slow living. Think of it as hitting the pause button on the fast-forward of life. By embracing activities like gardening, reading, or simply taking mindful walks, we can cultivate a sense of calm and presence. Slow living isn’t about idleness, it’s about intentionality. By prioritizing activities that bring us joy and reduce stress, we’re investing in ourselves and building a foundation for a happier, healthier life.  So, take a deep breath, slow down, and rediscover the magic of living in the present moment.

Contributing Author: Nikita Bhardwaj has over 13 years of experience in content and communication. She is passionate about crafting compelling stories and clear messages.

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