RECENTLY I embraced the Slow Movement lifestyle. Or rather, it embraced me. If you’re not familiar with the Slow Movement, it’s about living life at a slower pace. In the past, I’ve experienced slow food, slow radio and slow television. A popular TV series was made by the actors, Timothy West and Prunella Scales taking slow trips on canals. There is a Slow Movement website too (

I didn’t plan for this change in lifestyle, but an acute attack of sciatica felled me in the garden and suddenly everything had to be done extremely slowly. To minimise pain, meant thinking of the consequences of every action I wanted to take. My life moved in slow motion. While I did not enjoy the discomfort, I did begin to appreciate taking life at a slower pace. Before every action, I stopped, thought and either moved or changed my mind. The new slowness of life, gave me time to reflect on the connection between my physical state and positive mental health.

The first obvious change was that so little mattered. My diary became a mass of words crossed through. The important event, the vital trip, the crucial meeting, all had to be cancelled and guess what? The world didn’t end. There were inconveniences, but life carried on. I was more aware of my surroundings and took time to observe the detail. Venturing outside, making slow and steady movements, I appreciated each step, stopping and staring at trees, hedgerows, flowers, puddles and views. I thought of the similarity with the state of Mindfulness. That is, living in the present moment and paying attention to everything in that moment. It wasn’t exactly the same, due to breakthrough pain not being relaxing, but it did make me think positively.

Another thought process that was highlighted, was one of action and consequences. To stop and consider the consequences of actions is part of the development of emotional maturity. It is different from knowing right and wrong. A person thinks about an action which may have unhelpful consequences, to not only themselves, but also other people. Spontaneity can be great fun, but not if the consequences cause harm and upset.

Due to an excellent chiropractor, I have recovered. Lessons have been learned and exercises will be done.

Rita Leaman is a psychotherapist and writes as Alison R Russell ( /