Modern society today is built on a relentless need to move at great speed - to get a lot of things done fast and efficiently. In the express lane we often have little time to appreciate why exactly we are doing whatever it is that we are doing. We are also all driven in life by different motivations - for some it's raising a healthy family, others it may be the dream to own a fifty-foot yacht or run 100 in less than ten.

But really we all basically strive for the same one thing - to be happy.

There's one movement sweeping up (ironically quite swiftly) those who have had enough of conforming to a hasty world of eternal errands, growing lists and forced anxieties. It's called the slow movement and it's popping up in many varieties.

You may have heard of Slow Food, which celebrates meals prepared at a leisurely pace with a big dollup of love squished in for extra delight; Slow Travel, which is about travelling closer to home, being outdoors, moving at a leisurely pace, consuming less; or Slow Cities (see transition town article), where communities value local, artisan production, low energy consumption and eco-friendly architecture.

The Slow movement draws from the approach that if we continue to run through life at the pace we are, striving for all the things we believe will fulfil every one of our needs and desires, we forget the point. Some of us already have. And boy has it been destructive - leaving a massive dent of a footprint on our earth.

The slow movement is about taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life - those that bring us the most peace. So why not put the alarm on ten minutes earlier and walk the long way to work through the park. Try not to stress about not getting all your tasks done in a day - there'll still be that list there tomorrow. Ever thought of downsizing the house - you could spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying a garden.

There's always a lot to get done, but if we don't stop to smell the roses now when will we? When we're pushing up roses

A good book to check out if you'd like to get off the highway and on to the back streets is Go Slow England by Alastair Sawday.