slow down,happy

“Why do people work so much? That is unfortunate because then they can not see the children at all. “My son Phoenix says when we are in the car. “You’re quite right. Do you know why people work? To be able to live, to buy food, clothes … “And as I say this I think, is this really my answer? Because, of course, we need money to eat and live, but are we actually happy with all the things we buy? Are we happy with everything we do? The hurried life that we lead? Is this really the essence of our lives? What do we want to give to our children?

Fortunately, you can learn

If you look at the happiest people, it turns out that they have a great social life: a good marriage and close friendships. They spend a large part of their time on their family and family. They have found a purpose in life, in which they have the feeling to contribute to the larger whole, which creates satisfaction. The big difference with less fortunate people is that they connect with themselves, nature and their environment (Seligman, 2002).

In that respect, my son has a point. We have created a world in which we have become more and more focused on short-lived pleasure: food, binge-watching‘, dating, alcohol or buying, buying, buying. We are collecting more and more things. Want more, better and more beautiful. The ‘happiness’ that we buy is short-lived. The first ice cream or piece of chocolate tastes great. You do not even taste the fifth or sixth. Technology has ensured that everything goes faster. Our work, the household and the connection with the people around us. A WhatsApp or a ‘like’ is easier than personal contact and when we are together, we are also busy with many other things, including our ‘Insta-stories’. And yet we often feel that something is missing. Stress and burn-outs occur more often and with younger people.


Fortunately, the world is moving. More and more people are looking for the connection with themselves. Yoga and meditation are becoming more popular every day and books like “never go too busy” like hotcakes over the counter. There is also talk of a ‘slow-movement’: in other words, slowing down / slowing down. The slow movement is a cultural shift that focuses on a number of important factors in life: started with slow food, as a counterpart to fast food (with attention to sustainability, local products, and quality), followed by slow fashion (sustainable and ecologically responsible). ), slow cities (where the infrastructure has been adapted to be able to travel more by foot or bicycle) and slow education (with respect for the learning pace of the children instead of having rules).

More peace, focus, and less pressure

Also what for you? More peace, focus, and less pressure? Below are some tips:

  • The first step is to know that you have a choice. Many people think that delay is not possible, but write down what you do every day. And behind it, whether it is really necessary. Does everything you do contribute to your feeling of satisfaction? Your happiness?
  • Find the silence / meditate. Even if this is only a few minutes a day. It helps you to observe and change your thoughts and feelings, creates more positivity and you get to know yourself better.
  • Be mindful, live in the moment. Be alert and attentive to the things around you. If you ride to work, cycle alone, feel the wind on your skin, hear the birds, see the blossom. Try to be attentive at the moment, instead of thinking about work, tomorrow, dinner or with the kids. Choose one daily routine, for example by making breakfast and do that with attention. Just like your muscles, you can train mindfulness and attentive training. For me this is always the morning: without a phone, without a TV, a quiet start for the hectic of the day, after that I only go ‘on’, literally: my phone, my laptop, my day.
  • Embrace ‘slow parenting’: our children also live a fast life. We bring them from one activity to another. They have lots of friends and are continuously entertained. If we continue like this, they will also experience stress and fatigue. Try to schedule rest moments. Moments that do not need anything and there is time for boredom (without TV/tablet). There will be resistance in the beginning. Help them do this, take care of craft supplies or blocks and leave room for creativity. Or go on discovery in nature.
  • Focus! Stop multitasking. Focus on one task at a time and consider whether this task contributes to your goal. To your happiness.
  • Digital detox. When did you last read a book without looking at your phone every few minutes? Put your phone away more often and connect to the offline world. The people, nature, your family, friends, your children. For example, choose one evening in the week, where you do not watch TV, do not check mail, place your phone.
  • Minimalism: make all the stuff you have and buy happy? Clean up thoroughly. Take away what you do not use and buy less stuff (also for your kids).
  • Take a day off and enjoy a beautiful day. What you do not need anything. Do not do anything. Read a book, spend time and attention to your loved ones. Meditate, take a walk. Leave the hustle and bustle of life as it is. The whole lot. And make a delicious dish from a cookbook, where you spend time and attention. For example, make your own jam or bake a loaf of bread.
  • Invest in the people who give you energy. Go for deep relationships instead of many (fast) contacts. The happiest people spend the most time on dear friends and family. They are number one, always. And not the vague acquaintances with whom you plant coffees.
  • Invest in yourself: what makes you happy? Pay attention to that. Make a lucky list, a list of all the things that make you happy and find your goal. Have you lost focus? Grab your list with it.

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