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Slow Down


WebMD Feature from "Marie Claire" Magazine

Marie Claire magazine logoYou work fast. You eat fast. You fall in love fast. But to find real happiness, all you have to do is. . . SLOW DOWN. More and more women are questioning their need for speed. Are you? Marie Claire investigates "the slow movement."

 

THE SLOW DOWN MOVEMENT

Marie Claire

Photography by Eric Cahan

Every day, you race against the clock-battling traffic, speed-dialing your cell phone, and grabbing takeout. Ever pause to wonder, What is the big hurry? Now there's hope, as an increasing number of voices clamor for change. "Dropping out" isn't the goal; "slowing down" is. Whether you rush through jobs, meals, or friendships, the global "slow movement" promises you'll enjoy life more by doing less. Former speedaholic and Londonbased journalist Carl Honoré wrote about the movement in his best seller In Praise of Slowness (HarperSanFrancisco), flying off bookshelves in 22 countries.

 

MC: WHY SLOW DOWN?
CH: One day, while contemplating ways to shorten "story time" with my son, I realized it's absurd to accelerate things that should not be accelerated. Around the world, we've wound ourselves into a state of impatience and overstimulation, and it's taking a toll on us. I traveled all over to meet people in the "slow movement" and came to believe they were on to something. We're waking up to the fact that the way we live now is just wrong, and we're seeking new ways to approach every day. My book is just part of it.

MC: WHY IS THE MESSAGE STRIKING A CHORD NOW?
CH: The new information-technology revolution allows-encourages-us to keep buzzing 24/7. We're all addicted to running toward a finish line we never reach. If we haven't already reached a breaking point, we're close.

MC: YOU WRITE ABOUT "THE CULT OF SPEED." WHAT IS IT?
CH: Our culture puts a premium on speed, deifying this notion that faster is better, that you must fill every single moment with activity. There's a powerful taboo that makes "slow" a dirty word. In this hyped-up world, we need to keep an eye on our personal speedometers- it's very easy to do things fast just because everything else around you is going fast, without even considering whether or not it makes sense.

MC: WHY IS SLOWING DOWN SO DIFFICULT?
CH: We've forgotten how to switch off. There are Internet-addiction centers now. The Blackberry is known as the "Crackberry." Technology lets us multitask, so we're in "multimoments" all the time. We can't concentrate on just one thing anymore. One antidote is to simply rediscover the "off " button on some of these gadgets.

MC: ARE AMERICANS PARTICULARLY ADDICTED?
CH: Americans' natural tendency is to go fast, perhaps because the U.S. is a young country with a dynamic frontier history. That restlessness informs the American psyche, on the work front in particular: Working hours have come down everywhere except in the United States, where they keep going up! But working such long hours puts a squeeze on everything else.

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