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How to embrace Ayliak: the art of living slowly

How to embrace Ayliak: the art of living slowly

How to embrace Ayliak: the art of living slowly

These days, we’re often being told to relax and stop worrying. But it can be difficult to adopt an easygoing demeanour when our lifestyles are anything but.

For the majority of us, especially those living in cities, our days are filled with haste and worry. Our to-do lists take over and we often don’t take time to slow down and simply take a breath.

Dr Megan C Hayes, author of The Serenity Passport: A World Tour of Peaceful Living in 30 Words, is shining a light on a slower kind of living, inspired by the people of Bulgaria.

“Haste and anxiety masquerade as perfectly natural, necessary responses to a hectic schedule,” she says in the book. “Yet much of this comes down, not to necessity, but to our priorities.”

‘Ayliak’ roughly translates to ‘a culture of slowness’. “Ayliak evokes that one’s main concern is a lifestyle of calm living, free from worry and stress,” writes Dr Hayes. This way of living is embraced by Bulgarian people every day, particularly in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Despite being Bulgaria’s second-largest city, the people of Plovdiv don’t give in to the fast-paced lifestyle. “Plovdiv is a place where a serene existence is a local past time,” explains Dr Hayes. It’s common to see residents partaking in slow-paced strolls around the city. Plovdivians love Ayliak so much they host two festivals a year to celebrate it; the Ayliak and The Slow City Fest.

With work meetings and busy family life, it can be hard to simply stop what you’re doing and take it easy. But this isn’t to say its impossible. What the people of Bulgaria teach us is that it can just take a shift in mindset and juggle of priorities to focus our minds and rid ourselves of worry.

3 ways to practice Ayliak

Slow down and look around. Whether you’re walking the city streets or wandering in nature, slow down your pace, put away your phone and take in the world around.

Let go of annoyances. Try letting go of those little grudges and tensions throughout the day. This can be easier said than done but simply being aware of it is a great first step. The next time something annoys you, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Separate priority from necessity. When we get caught up in our lives, it’s easy to think everything is a necessity. But when you take a step back, you can get a new perspective on things. Ask yourself, ‘is this a necessity?’ Often what it takes is a little shift in priorities to embrace a little Ayliak in your life.

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