I send out a monthly newsletter, Fit Life Nourishing Bites, for my health coaching practice and find that it is a great way to keep in touch and share my knowledge. I write about topics spanning from weight loss, stress relief and sugar cravings to healthy recipes and quick workouts. Sometimes it is fun to include things that I have learned while living in Asia. This month I talk about the concept of “going slowly” in China and how we can benefit from this practice during the busyness of the holidays. To get Fit Life Nourishing Bites sent directly to your mailbox each month Sign Up Here!
Who doesn’t feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day? Especially during the holidays, we rush through the day, running here and there, and end up exhausted. Somehow these days full of duties, obligations and busyness have begun to build up and become our lives. We spend our time doing things we don’t really want to do, yet feel we should. We’ve come to believe that being productive and crossing things off our to-do list is the ultimate goal.
The truth is, life on Earth is a brief gift, and our time is too precious to be used like this. If we want our lives to be balanced and healthy, we need to lessen our load and increase our down time. This means planning less in a day, prioritizing those things that make our hearts sing and de-prioritizing those things that are not imperative.
So how can we cultivate the art of going slowly?
In China, there is a culture of going slowly that contrasts to the “go-go-go” attitude of Americans. For example, whenever you leave a restaurant in China, the staff thank you for coming and say “man zou”, meaning “walk slowly”. Not only does walking slowly after a meal help digestion but it also gives you the time and space to enjoy your surroundings. For a while I was frustrated by the overall slowness of China when it came to things like walking down a busy street full of slow moving people. But eventually I realized that it was the perfect counterpoint to the inherent stresses of city life. By slowing down my body, I was able to slow down my mind and reduce the stress of living in an enormous city like Shanghai.
Here are a few more ways to cultivate the Chinese art of “going slowly” :
- After your next meal, do it like the Chinese do and go for a 10-15 minute leisurely stroll
- Take a few moments before you climb out of bed in the morning to remember your dreams and to think about what you want from the day
- Leave your watch on the bedside table
- Take the scenic route
- Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer
- Check email only twice a day
- Don’t pack your schedule so tightly that there’s no time for a short walk
- Light candles before you start to cook dinner
Add one moment here and there for slowness; it can be done simply and will have a profound effect on your well-being.
And do it the Chinese way. With flair.
Man Zou my friends.