Today’s fast-paced city lifestyles are a leading cause of stress, poor nutrition and poor health. Given that by 2050, over 80% of the world’s population will live in cities, something needs to change.
In recent decades, many have come to prefer fast-food. Although readily available and quick to consume, it comes at a cost. The speed at which we eat it robs us of social interactions during a meal. It also doesn’t give our stomachs enough time to tell our brain we’re full meaning we tend to eat more than we need. Usually highly processed with high fat and sugar contents, it’s no wonder that obesity rates have skyrocketed in recent decades.
But there’s a solution. Founded in 1989, Slow Food is a global movement that encourages people to grow and cook their own food and then savour every bite. It also works to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. Through their projects and events, they encourage people to rethink both cooking and eating as a way to unwind, like a form of meditation. And already, they have over 100,000 members from over 160 countries.
Learning from the world around them, children are taught to obsess over speed. This is best seen in academic- where parents often urge their children to learn as quickly as possible to guarantee the best grades. Aside form creating stress-ridden adults with mental problems stemming from lost childhoods, children as young as five are suffering more often with stress-related issues such as stomach-aches and depression.
In response to this, new ways to educate are on the rise. And Finland is the best place to see them in action. Constantly coming out on top of national education rankings, the country believes that children should be children for as long as possible and should not be pushed into adulthood too early. Rather than encouraging competition, the Finnish system encourages cooperation. It even allows its teachers to experiment with new teaching techniques to best ensure their students’ emotional and academic development.
Long work hours often lead to stress. With so many hours dedicated to stressful working, many find their downtime stressful too. Whether it’s from the inability to truly leave work or pressure to choose from an abundance of out-of-work activities, the pressure to not waste a second can be just as stressful.
But change is coming. Millennials are known as the generation that reject stressful 9-5 lifestyles in favour of more flexibility. Opposing previous generations prioritising job stability, millennials tend to prioritise friends, family and making a difference in their communities. This has led some to speculate the end of cooperate work-hours as they comprise an ever-larger part of the workforce.
To conclude, the years of stressful fast-paced lifestyles could be coming to an end as younger generations prioritise their emotional health. Although technology is continuing to speed our lives up, taking time out to simply be human is becoming just as trendy.