Downshifting is a term that comes from the automotive field, meaning a conscious reduction in speed when the driver wants to change gear from high to lower when braking. This concept echoes the phenomenon that the philosophy of everyday life calls the standard of simple life. In the West, more than half of managers claim that one day they will be ready for an infusion into the downshifting. Domestic sociologists do not yet fix any significant popularity of this phenomenon, today downshifting is not the mainstream here.
There were already hippies who refused offices and ties, trying to get rich, to subdue life to external standards. There are hedonists, people who devote themselves to simple pleasures, refusing, again, external economic goals imposed by society. However, this often lays down the wrong attitude towards the representatives of the new trend, who call themselves Downshifters. Why work, push yourself if you can have a passive income from the apartment left by the grandmother and relax on the beach? Here we are not dealing with the meaning laid down in the concept of downshifting - the process of mandatory reduction of transmission.
Meaning of the word downshifting
Who is such a modern downshifter, and what is behind the value content of this phenomenon? The choice of downshifting is a conscious choice, as a result of which a person often needs to go against a single public opinion, abandon conventional goods, other people's goals. In this sense, this phenomenon is self-valued for the study of psychologists as the opposite of the movement of the crowd and herd feelings.
What is downshifting? Despite the relatively recent appearance of this term, in the mid-1990s, the phenomenon itself is as old as the world — there are excellent examples of downshifting in history. The emperor Diocletian left developed Rome, settled in his residence in the city of Split, and began to work there in simple gardening. When the tense and explosive political situation developed in Rome, friends came to him with anxiety to engage him in a political, as it seemed to them, necessary struggle. They considered time to be the most appropriate and were convinced that if Diocletian listens to them, he will definitely succeed in seizing power, once again becoming the ruler. Friends drew him bright pictures of the political future, and in response he pointed out to them his cabbage in the garden, which he did not consider it necessary to throw. Buddha, Leo Tolstoy, and Paul Gauguin presented examples of downshifting.
Modern civilization brings benefits, the quality of life is improving. However, the same civilization carries a lot of problems and inconveniences for humans. Freud also said that neurosis is a payment for civilization. The number of people exposed to various mental disorders, borderline states, psychosis, only increases over the years. Some people choose an understandable lifestyle, which has shown its effectiveness over thousands of years. Man runs away from the bustle of civilization, trying to gain harmony.
Downshifter makes a departure from an incredible amount of stress, information and irritating factors, which are not the best way to imprint on our psychological state.
Downshifting psychologically associated with emotional minimalism. The word downshifting itself means switching from high-speed mode to downshift, what people today do that feel that life has switched to too high revolutions, they do not keep up with its pace, are exhausted, feel moral, emotional, physical burnout. Usually, downshifters from the city move to the village, find less energy-intensive work for themselves, move to a more economical life, both financially and often from the physical and even emotional side.
The movement is very popular in the West, they talk a lot about it, they write. In our country, downshifting as a phenomenon appeared relatively recently, which causes many contradictions in its unambiguous understanding. We are aware - you need to listen to yourself more, understand your vocation, than you really want to do. On the other hand, would not such a course of thoughts lead to regression, would it have a negative impact on development? Perhaps the downsides of downshifting will be for some of them that it will not bring satisfaction of the actual need for social or career self-realization.
Indeed, it is worth considering the whole range of human needs. Maslow's famous pyramid does not include the need for making money, but speaks of the mandatory satisfaction of the simplest physiological needs, the need for security, love, achievements, the knowledge of the new and self-actualization.
Downshifting for some becomes a way of meeting actual needs, for others it can be an obstacle. One goes to distant countries for harmony, someone - for self-affirmation, here everything depends only on the person, his values, what method for him seems more appropriate. One can build a career, thus satisfying his needs, gaining recognition and honor for his services. For another, it may not be at all important; it will be valuable for him to be in the family, beloved, contemplate the beautiful, self-actualize.
Downshifting is not as widespread now as in Western countries, which is connected with the peculiarities of the mentality, most people want more money, things, cars, apartments, impressions. We work, we earn, we make a career, we have time to be parents. Around them are slogans that it is worth doing everything, being trendy, successful, communicating, getting more and more impressions. On the sale of impressions built advertising and entertainment businesses, cinema, theater, and even shopping. People, however, are exhausted and feel tired. Few people think that we burn out not only from negative, but also from an excess of positive emotions. The ideology of the race for impressions leads us to exhaustion as true as negative emotions.
Very often a person gets used to living on adrenaline, which is produced from both negative and positive emotions. When there is no adrenaline, impressions, intense external stimuli - we feel empty, we are bored, we are afraid that life goes by. It seems as if an urgent need to run somewhere, gather friends, meet, chat, go somewhere. People, especially accustomed to living on adrenaline, suffering from anxiety-depressive disorder or living in dysfunctional families, get used to violent emotions, bright light, loud sound. It seems that without these powerful irritants a person can no longer live a full life.
The psychological side of downshifting is realized in emotional minimalism, when a person deliberately refuses violent bloated emotions in favor of the average emotional range, becomes able to feel the slightest shades of emotions, develops sensitivity to minimal movements of the soul. An illustration of this can be an art school, in which novice students can distinguish only a few basic colors, while artists with long experience can distinguish hundreds of colors.
Strong enthusiasm, interest and enthusiasm, open anger, fear, hatred are replaced by the ability to live feelings of an average register, for example, satisfaction, comfort, simple pleasure from dinner and a soft bed, even boredom, when the emotional apparatus rests. This is the ability to enjoy a famous film or book, which you reread, when there is no surprise and sudden differences in emotions. It calms the nervous system, body, anxiety goes away. Emotional rest is as necessary for a person as physical or intellectual.
Living emotions in the middle register can be considered the most mentally favorable for a person. Obsessive, compulsive desire for vivid emotions, ups, downs, heat is neurotic. A mentally balanced, healthy person can live equally comfortably not only in bright extreme emotions, but also in some emotional poverty. The search for balance, the need for emotional relief and rest often leads to a decrease in the rate of life - downshifting.
Types of Downshifting
Dunshifting is not identical to escapism, it is not a departure from reality in illusion because of a loss of faith in justice and a sense of meaninglessness of existence, it is not a choice of a weak, socially unadapted, misanthrope rejected by society. At a certain stage of life, a completely successful person can simply lose the desire to continue to struggle with the headwind, to live in the rat race of the megalopolis. The change of life makes it possible for the downshifter to look around, to think about why it is this way to exist, and to find new ways of obtaining satisfaction from his life, a sense of his significance in this reality.
Different countries have different approaches to downshifting. For example, in the UK, it has a more environmental focus - the transition to environmental products, a special relationship to garbage. In Australia, this concept means compulsory relocation. Moreover, in Australia and the United States about a third of the population practice downshifting.
We have both forms present - someone chooses to live closer to the ground, go to a distant village, raise animals, go to the garden, and raise children in good ecology. Someone moves to warm friendly countries closer to the water and works there remotely, possibly meditating for the purpose of spiritual growth, looking for people with similar interests who are united in settlements.
At the word downshifter, some represent a young man or a couple, which one does not have children and binding obligations, they can safely donate property, go to Asian countries to enjoy life. Man is not a tree, it does not have to be where he grew up. Today, globalization processes make it easy to relocate, choosing anywhere in the world, in which person can be realized.
Another approach to downshifting rather represents the philosophy of life for its own sake, when it is not necessary to give up the usual work, home, social circle and emigrate, changing the proven way of life.
Downshifting is then an occupation of what one likes, for example, floriculture or farming. Someone is looking for a warm climate, a greater number of warm days in a year, and another - a new self-actualizing occupation.
How to choose the direction for downshifting? First you should go and live in the settlement at least a few weeks, study the way of life and try it on yourself. After reviewing the realities of life without the benefits of civilization from the inside, you can understand what is acceptable for you personally, and what you cannot accept.
Downshifting or how to work in pleasure?
Today, it seems more than ever there are many opportunities for self-realization. But more and more people complain that life has lost its colors, they cannot find a fascinating occupation, or there are so many opportunities that they seem blurry, it’s difficult to choose a concrete way of realization. Is downshifting an opportunity to solve an internal crisis?
Society can now be divided into producers of goods and their consumers. Previously, an artisan could make and exchange some product for money or another product, a person was often the final manufacturer. Today, the technological chain is such that an employee can occupy only a small part of it, perform a small functionality, like on a conveyor belt. Hence the connection is lost with what a person is doing, understanding what his function consists of.
The same is true of office workers. A huge number of them work in the offices, having no idea what exactly is their product, the result of the work that depends on them personally. Psychologically, this turns out to be quite difficult, because a person tries to find conditions in which he can provide himself and his surroundings with the final product of his activity.
By a certain age, a person can realize what he wanted in work, in business. Asks the question, what should be next? Often this is superimposed on age crises, people come to a decision that they would like to do something new, which they may not have been doing before.
How to become a downshifter? Sometimes, without drastic measures, it is difficult to change life, and downshifting becomes such an abrupt measure for some; development in the comfort zone is not implied in it, since it is still a cardinal change in life. Nobody guarantees success, there are ideas, but how exactly you implement them will be known only in practice. What is the first question you should ask yourself when thinking about downshifting? Think about what you seek to find for yourself.
Downshifting is only a means of satisfying needs. If you are aware that you have used all the possibilities in these conditions, and none of this works, it is possible that it really makes sense to decide on a change in the style of life. However, one should not console oneself with the illusion of finding happiness only at far away lands.
What does downshifter refuse? In the very definition of downshifting as an indispensable condition for it, there is often a rejection of goals imposed from outside, of life for the sake of social desirability.
A downshifter is not a person running from himself; on the contrary, he puts personal search and the solution of individual tasks set before him to life at the forefront. Downshifter refuses unnecessary economic and social costs to free up time and energy for life itself, understanding of its purpose and place in it.
Criticism of downshifting often concerns the fact that this is the lot of weak people who refused to go up and develop. However, this is not the case. Downshifter reorganizes his own life in such a way as to develop according to his purpose, to find and realize it, and as a result to enjoy every minute of life, not only at the moments of obtaining new socially approved achievements, which we need not only time and energy, but often health, communication with dear people, composure.
Needless to say, personal dissatisfaction with life most often becomes the cornerstone of all problems, seemingly not directly related to the mental state of a person. Health is going away, motivation is falling off to something, protracted depression comes, relationships are destroyed - all these are symptoms of the existential vacuum of a modern person paying tribute to social standards, which are very often contrary to personal needs.
A person becomes a patient of a psychologist, or even loses everything he could appreciate, it turns out to be without internal resources and meaning to live. Yes, downshifting takes a person away from a trodden path, but it gives an opportunity to find his own, walking along which a person will take his life just like the one he wanted to live.
Often, in the process of this search for himself, the downshifter loses, deliberately leaves a whole list of benefits, beginning, perhaps, from hot water and, ending even to close people with whom he could not find understanding. A real relationship drama can take place, if a man, for example, consciously decided to go to live in the mountains, seeing in this for himself the path to finding a destination, and his wife and children decisively cannot accept his choice, which for them can even be called a betrayal.
If you have wondered how to become a downshifter, you should explore all the possible disadvantages of downshifting in general, as well as your chosen direction.
Downshifting almost always brings with it a certain opposition of civilization, a rollback to its earlier stages, simplification of life.
As for life in the village, it is not easy - you need to take care of the roof over your head, food, raising children in new conditions, life is more difficult than in a city apartment, there are not many benefits that are common to civilization. Despite the complexity, this way of life has proved its viability - the earth can always feed a person and give him even a small, but an opportunity to earn.
A person who decides to move from the city to live in the village, should first try such a life, if possible, in order to soberly assess his opportunities and risks. Annual results of work will please you if you love and are able to work on the ground. Without training, or even often outside support, it may be difficult to overcome the difficulties encountered. Surviving alone on a wild farm is incredibly difficult, because social connections are important in the village, people in the settlements join together for mutual assistance.
Downshifters who left to live abroad, and most often they are Asian countries, are usually financially tied to their homeland, because they either work remotely or provide themselves with property rentals. When the national currency falls, the income of the downshifters, respectively, has decreased, and it becomes necessary to search for new sources. Со своей стороны страны, наиболее популярные среди дауншифтеров, начинают вводить визовые ограничения для приезжих по причине роста их количества.
Если вас настиг вдруг возрастной кризис, что-то в жизни не ладится - возможно, не стоит резко менять жизнь, а еще раз обдумать, обратиться к психологу, найти причины. Taking extraordinary steps and going beyond the comfort zone, you need to understand - there is a risk of failure. If, as a result of psychological work or independent careful study of his motives, a person realizes that he needs this new experience, he is aware of the risks and still wants to try - then everything should be all right. If a person takes a passport one day and flies to another part of the world without a plan, a high price may be paid for this decision.
What are the alternatives to downshifting? Perhaps, for example, even just change the profession. Remember what you dreamed of as a child, and try to realize one of these. In childhood, everyone has many desires, from which a person then refuses, although objectively we are capable of much.