Downshifting an automobile signals a shift to a lower gear. The driver wishes to slow down. Much like the automobile, downshifting (often synonymous with “voluntary simplicity” or “simple living”) is a conscious decision to slow down one's life and adopt the values of simplicity. It is a voluntary decision to reduce income and consumption in pursuit of a less stressful, more meaningful life. Downshifting signals a return to a sense of balance lost in the frenzied pace of everyday life. Downshifting is a rejection of the “rat race” of consumerism, long work hours, and the frantic modern life. Predominantly an individual act, the decision to downshift is made for a variety of reasons:

  • A lack of balance in one's life (i.e., working too much, not enough ...
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