“Downshifters are people who adopt long-term voluntary simplicity in their life. They accept less money through fewer hours worked in order to have time for the important things in life. Downshifters also place emphasis on consuming less in order to reduce their ecological footprint. There are two primary aspects to downshifting. One is about connection – connection to life, family, food, place – and the other is about maintaining a healthy balance – balance in the personal, work, family, spiritual, physical, and social aspects of their life… Downshifters want to slow down at work in order to ‘upshift’ in others areas of their lives. For most people the change to a slow life through downshifting comes after a long quest for true happiness and fulfilment. For others it may come after a significant life event such as severe illness, relationship breakup, bankruptcy, or the death of someone close.”
“Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”. It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work and focusing life goals on personal fulfillment and relationship building instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success. Downshifting also refers to the act of reducing the gear of a motor vehicle while driving a manual transmission.
Downshifting, as a concept, shares many characteristics with simple living, but is distinguished, as an alternative form, by its focus on moderate change and concentration on an individual comfort level, a “dip your toes in gently” approach. In the 1990s this new form of simple living began appearing in the mainstream media and has continually grown in popularity among populations living in industrial societies, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
Slowing down the pace of life and spending time meaningfully while not spending money wastefully are principle values of downshifting. Another main tenet is enjoying leisure time in the company of others, especially loved ones, and shunning self-absorption because it resists the normality of individualism and isolation of post-modern society.
The primary motivations for downshifting are gaining leisure time, escaping from work-and-spend cycle, and removing the clutter of unnecessary possessions that are accrued while existing in those societies with the highest standards of living and levels of production. The personal goals of downshifting are simple: To reach a holistic self-understanding and satisfying meaning in life.
Because of its personalized nature and emphasis on many minor changes rather than complete lifestyle overhaul, it attracts downshifters or participants across the socioeconomic spectrum. An intrinsic consequence of downshifting is increased time for non-work-related activities which, combined with the diverse demographics of downshifters, cultivates higher levels of civic engagement and social interaction.
The scope of participation is limitless because all members of society, adults, children, businesses, institutions, organizations, and governments are able to downshift.
In practice, downshifting involves a variety of behavioral and lifestyle changes. The majority of these downshifts are voluntary choices, but natural, life course events, such as the loss of a job or birth of a child, can prompt involuntary downshifting. There is also a temporal dimension because a downshift could be either temporary or permanent.
Andy Bull “Downshifting: The Ultimate Handbook” [Thorsons, 1998]
John D. Drake “Downshifting: How to Work Less and Enjoy Life More” [Berrett-Koehler Publisher, 2001]
Franco Gandolfi and Helene Cherrier “Downshifting: A Theoretical and Practical Approach to Living a Simple Life” [The ICFAI University Press, 2008]
Polly Ghazi and Judy Jones “Downshifting: a Guide to Happier Simpler Living” [Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2004]
Amy Saltzman “Downshifting: Reinventing Success on a Slower Track” [New York: Harper Collins, 1991].
Marian Van “Downshifting Made Easy: How to Plan for Your Planet-friendly Future” [Earth Books, 2011]
One area in which, perhaps surprisingly, downshifting is becoming increasingly popular is Russia: the following article (in rather poor translation!) offers some explanation:
“One day a friend of mine went for two weeks in Goa. Two weeks later he returned, he quit his job, packed and went back forever. To the question “Why do you do?” Friend replied: “Life in this bustling city is no longer a meaning for me. I want freedom.
Have you ever thought about the meaning of your life? What is your purpose? Not just because you were born, walking on the ground, gazing up into heaven: and indeed not just the same way you live.
Human life seems simple chain: Kindergarten – School – Institute – work – family – retirement – death. Step left, step right, and you’re outside of society. First of all, you have to finish school, go to college, get a job with a decent job to a monthly salary went pension fund, so that old age does not remain with nothing. And you should plant a tree, build a house, raise a son … But there are people who are tired of the workers’ subway systems of conventions, fake smiles, luxury clothes, social status. Frames monotony of everyday life and work schedule kill them.
What is Downshifting? Search for meaning in life, fashion trends, justified idleness?
The formal definition of Downshifting (born downshifting, to sell short) – a philosophy of life “for the sake of life itself”, “out of others’ goals, is a voluntary, conscious rejection of the high office and income for the simple life. Often “daunshifterami” are people that have made some progress in life, occupying high positions, valuable employees.
Life is no longer fun, the days are alike as twins, all the powers given to her career, emotions are blunted. Increasingly, over a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of beer you start to think about the world. Increasingly, there is frustration and irritability. In the end, you know what tired to spin a squirrel in a wheel, there is the need to add some color to the surrounding gray reality, something dramatically changed. Most often you go to your manager and ask him leave, then rent a place in the sun for about two weeks and allow yourself to enjoy a favorite perfection of nature. So daunshiftery – then two weeks, and once and forever renounced the banal existence for the sake of enjoying nature and finding yourself.
It is believed that daunshiftery have unlimited freedom. They can devote himself to art, writing books, music, paintings, self-improvement, not being distracted by the outside world.
“Look around you! The world is plagued by corruption, suffocating from violence, atrocities, indoctrinate the masses. Society is gradually degraded easily by changing volumes of poems Yesenin and Block on glossy magazines, with incredible rapidity turning into a brainless consumers, whose only desire is to impose a fashionable brands and brag to your friends shopping. The very institution of friendship gradually disappear, replaced by a one-time friends, who turn away from you when you fall down the stairs illusory prosperity. Purpose of Life – material security. Colored papers are buying consciences, chastity, forcing people to commit a crime, a crime against himself in the first place. Do you want to continue to work on the system? Do you still think you can earn all the money in the world? Do you have nothing to not understand? “- This will tell you about “daunshiftery”, people who refuse the oppression of our material for personal development.
“Daushiftinga” phenomenon appeared in the West in the late XX – early XXI centuries. Today in Russia every year there are more people leaving the big cities (and “daunshifterami” are usually inhabitants of megacities) in the backwoods, in monasteries, to Goa or to Tibet in search of precious time to his family and his hobbies.
Read this and also want to drop everything for the sake of “meditirovaniya” under a pine tree and the search for a better life? Do not hurry, at “daushiftinga” there is a downside.
Here you are on the threshold of civilization sending three letters, mentally already sitting on the beach, reading or discussing Voltaire’s “blue period” Picasso, or wandering through an autumn forest, listening to the rustle of leaves under my feet … and then daguerreotypes in the mind emerges inability of modern man survive without this most notorious of civilization. After a hot shower in the morning, telephone, Internet access, solarium once a week, high-speed aircraft you just need!
Besides, our society is so heavily reliant on material goods, that not everyone will be able to exchange a monthly salary of at least some guarantees for spiritual wealth. Life circumstances do not allow to get rid of financial problems, because they are part of our lives. Parents have brought a sense of responsibility to the matter, and not to the idea.
Downshifting – an expensive lesson. Unfortunately, the world is no place where people can receive food, water and shelter is absolutely no money, while making no physical labor!…
Many people, having lived in the forest and the rest from the bustle, supermarkets, public frameworks and conventions, are beginning to miss the furious pace of urban life. But, returning back, they are bitterly aware that lost everything. All, for which lived up to the desperate attempts to find himself.
I wonder how many months, my friend “When the wolf” plenty of freedom and return back to his career, stereotypes prosperous life? Or maybe he will not return to pre-programmed life and will find harmony with itself and nature.
As a rule, “daunshiftery” does not deny the benefits of civilization, do not go in rags, do not feed on roots, do not become hermits. They simply cease to be cogs in a system of the “matrix”, in which we live, and their well-being and mood does not depend on the dollar, they do not withdraw themselves from the traffic jams.
Downshifting – Is a sense of themselves, their goals, interests and desires. Capable of ensuring that the imposition of the ideals and principles, to live simpler, happier, find harmony with nature, and civilization itself.”
Family Siryk renounced all the benefits of civilization and become “daunshifterami”. They live near the village of Pidlisne Krasnoarmeyskiy the Zhytomyr region.
52-year-old Ivan Siryk, wife Victoria and 12-year-old son, Stepan, live in adobe hut, covered with straw. In it – three rooms. The area of each of about two square meters. They are connected room in the middle of which stands the stove.
S.V. Makeeva “Downshifting, like work or for pleasure, do not depend on the traffic jams and do what you want” [Izdatelstvo “Exmo”, 2011 Series: “Psychology of a New Generation”]
“If one day you started thinking about how to spend your life, this book just for you! Its characters – a former office workers, representatives of creative professions and the people just crazy cities have found the answer to this question. .. they were afraid. They decided to change their lives qualitatively better. No longer languish in cramped and stuffy offices, experience stress and resolve conflicts that are irrelevant to their lives. They stopped and thought about the price which is imposed to pay for someone living standards. They are sometimes called daunshifterami, but they did not just slow down. Optimize your life and enjoy it now. This book – the result of a long and fascinating conversations with the author of them – lucky, who now live in harmony with yourself, breathe deeply and, while not experiencing financial difficulties. Want to learn how? Rather, start reading this book, as well as a bonus – a mini-training for a successful and harmonious life. The book for the general reader, especially for those who want to change your life.”