In our fast-paced world, there’s one thing that’s starting to slow down: television. Have you ever dreamed of taking a long journey by train, but just couldn’t afford to take the time off of work for such an adventure? Or maybe you’d love to see the world by boat, but get a terrible sea sickness? Now, you can experience these things without leaving the comfort of your living room couch thanks to Slow TV.
Slow TV is newly popularized genre of television that’s gained popularity in Norway and has been brought to the United States with a little help from Netflix. Slow TV gets its name from the pace of the programming as well as the length; the longest broadcast on record is 136 hours (over 5.5 days), but most can last between 3-12 hours.
While I definitely wouldn’t recommend watching a 7.5 hour train ride all in one sitting, Slow TV can be an effective way to relax, take a break from everything that’s going on in the world, and clear your mind. While Slow TV isn’t a substitute for mindfulness or meditation, it is a step in the right direction for anyone who isn’t quite ready to dive headfirst into mindfulness practices. Watching (part of) an 11-hour boat ride can help take your mind off the world around you, become more present, and perhaps even help you to unlearn the habit of constantly seeking fast-paced and exciting stimuli. Traditional television programs have increased with the frequency of dopamine-inducing “technical events” they include, over time; Slow TV instead provides a more (but certainly not completely) natural view of events as they unfold, often slowly and without fanfare, but with beauty nonetheless.
Interested in checking out Netflix’s selection of Slow TV programs? Here’s what you have to look forward to:
- Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
- The Telemark Canal
- National Firewood Morning
- National Firewood Night
- Salmon Fishing
- National Knitting Evening
- National Knitting Night
If you don’t have time to watch hours of TV or you don’t have a Netflix account, there are many other ways you can practice mindfulness without meditation, take a look at a few methods here.