An investigation into the positive effects of 'slow living'.
Slow living is a term defined by Wendy Parkins and Geoffrey Craig as “a commitment to occupy time more attentively” and engaging in “mindful rather than mindless practices”. By an individual making more intentional choices, which in turn is intended to protect one’s mental health, the concept of slow living is intertwined with mindfulness and the wellbeing of individuals. This is something I have explored within my most recent project “Emotional Shelter”. I aimed to question if adopting aspects of slow living could be used to help us to step back, reflect, and observe the real meanings behind our frustrations. One way to ‘step back’ can be by reflecting on one’s mental wellbeing and evaluating the impact of the stressful situations we can experiences; for example: does spending more time than necessary on digital devices create or exacerbate feelings of anxiety? By reflecting on stressful situations, we may be able to identify the root causes of stress and evaluate how these are impacting our performance and happiness.
Slow living isn’t necessarily there to encourage an individual to perform tasks at a physically slower pace, but rather to mentally slow down and evaluate our intentions and actions; and how these could impact our emotional wellbeing and mental health.
The key idea of slow living that I focus on within my work is that of making intentional choices for us to live more meaningfully. This can be done by taking time to have a quiet moment alone with our thoughts. I expand on this through researching how we spend our time, specifically how our relationship with digital devices can affect this, and our attitude to busyness.
Within my own practice, I am motivated to respond to these issues through the concept of ‘emotional shelter’. This concept is about promoting a restorative state of mind by encouraging a quiet moment for the user to refresh their energy levels. This is intended to provide an opportunity to closely reflect upon our emotional and physical wellbeing, and to promote thoughtful action to help encourage a positive mindset. Through my practical response to this theme, I set out to create an object which acts as a ‘shelter’ from our surroundings, inspired by materials which highlight separation. I used sound proofing materials to create an enclosed space to sit within, creating a quieter and calming atmosphere.