Do not fear ‘slowing down’ in life

Melissa Laussmann

“Mindfulness what?”

Hygge. Mindfulness. If you’re a logophile, you’re familiar with these words. If you’ve been searching for a way to bring balance into your life, you’re probably aware of these concepts. Hygge is a Danish concept that teaches about simplicity, and mindfulness is the idea of awareness in the moment.

At a time when we believe that staying busy means being important, the desire for simplicity, minimalism, and awareness is on the rise. Why the paradox? I think one of the reasons is what society defines as success, conflicts with what we think to be true for ourselves. There always seems to be another rung on the ladder toward happiness.

I think we fear slowing down because we might miss something important and be forgotten. If we don’t constantly check our social media accounts, we’ll be ignorant about what is happening around town or what our friends had for dinner. Society teaches us that we need to keep doing things to be taken seriously.

The trend towards mindfulness is an example of people wanting to change and return to basics. This means more meals at home, savoring a moment with hot tea or cocoa and a book, long walks outdoors, consuming less and being creative with what we already have, and enjoying each day as it comes.

Think about how slowing down just a little can be beneficial. Perhaps it’ll lead to doing better in class, forming more meaningful relationships with people, sharpening the mind and being physically stronger, as well as sleeping better and being more prepared to handle life.  

As a graduate student, I know all too well how busy our lives are. We have to juggle quite a few obligations, but life is more than just obligations. Maybe once in awhile we should pause on the doing, and just be. Yes we are students and we work hard. But that’s just a part of the story.

Melissa Laussmann is a graduate student.