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, 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.