We all wish to have that seemingly elusive “peaceful mind.” A peaceful mind is like a still pond. You can toss a pebble or rock into it, and there will be some ripples. However, it quickly reverts back to its still state. Like the pond, a peaceful mind may be upset momentarily by life’s inevitable […]
We live in a world that doesn’t want us to live simply. Advertisers want us to buy stuff that we don’t need. The Internet and the 24-hour news cycle want to overload us with information. Even at our jobs, employers continually change how we do our jobs in the name of “progress” or “efficiency.” All of this unnecessary complication leaves many of us wanting to simplify our lives.
Our challenge is this: How do we live simply in a world that thrives on complication?
The good news is that living simply in today’s world is possible. You don’t have to move to a hilltop with no electricity or running water in order to simplify your life. You just need to intentionally choose to make your life as uncomplicated as possible.
Below are some ways to simplify your life. Try implementing them. You will find that with a simpler life, you will be more relaxed and at peace than you ever thought possible.
To Simplify Your Life, Reduce Your Belongings
We all have too much stuff. Part of the problem is that retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target allow us to buy lots of stuff cheaply! And if there is an expensive item that you want, whether it be a blouse or a set of dishes, a sale will come along, and you likewise can buy that item for very little. So, these days, cost does not stop us from accumulating stuff.
As a result, if you want to simplify your life, you have to decide to stop accumulating so much stuff. And then you probably need to get rid of about 50% of the stuff that you already have. Because I guarantee you that you currently have too much stuff.
The best way to get rid of your unnecessary stuff is to group your belongings into three groups: Necessary/Functional Items, Sentimental/Loved Items, and Everything Else. The Everything Else pile needs to be given away or tossed in the garbage.
Now, you can deceive yourself into thinking that, “If I just organize this abundance of stuff, I will have simplified my life.” That won’t happen. I’ve tried that approach, and it doesn’t work. You just end up having too much stuff in pretty boxes and piles. The only way to truly simplify your belongings is to reduce them. When you do, you will find that your house looks so much better, and you will feel a lot lighter.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Free Time
If you want to simplify your life, keep your free time simple. Doing complicated, exhausting activities is no way to spend your free time. For example, part of my free time each day is devoted to working out. My rule for working out is that I will not drive anywhere to exercise. As soon as I have to drive somewhere, that has overcomplicated what should be a simple activity.
So, I do yoga every day at home. I have an area set up to do my yoga routine which is quiet and serene (even the cat likes it!). Admittedly, a yoga studio would provide me with more variety than the single yoga video that I use. But that variety isn’t worth giving up the simplicity of doing my yoga practice in the peace of my home.
In fact, I like to keep things simple for all my free time activities. For instance, when my husband and I used to go out to dinner (pre-pandemic), we always picked restaurants close to home. Not only did we want to support local businesses, but we didn’t want to overcomplicate our evening by traveling a long distance for dinner, when there are great restaurants in our area. Keeping our dining simple and close by made dinner out so much more relaxed and enjoyable.
Simplify Your Online Life
Technology consumes so much of our lives. Between emails, text messages, social media and Internet surfing, the Internet takes up a lot of our personal time. As a result, if you really want to simplify your life, it is important to simplify your online life.
One important way to simplify your online life is to use only one form of social media. It really doesn’t matter which one. You can choose to participate on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But choosing to be on all three is too much. Social media adds a level of complexity to our daily lives which just isn’t necessary. Frankly, you could choose not to participate in social media at all, and I promise you, your life will go on. So, if you want to live simply, keep your social media participation to a minimum.
Reduce Your Internet Surfing
Similarly, you want to limit your Internet surfing. I will admit that we are living in unusual times. Between the pandemic and the upcoming election, there is a lot to know about. But we don’t need to be aware of what is going on every minute of every day. Of course, the news providers would like us to be obsessed with current events. But the truth is that most of what is happening in the world has very little to do with us, and we don’t need to know the news as it is happening.
So, simplify your Internet surfing. With all due respect to Twitter, you don’t need to know about world events the minute that they happen. For example, when I was a kid, we found out about news every evening at 7 p.m. That was it! Until 7 p.m., we had no idea what was going on in the world. And guess what? We did just fine. So, know that the world will not stop if you simplify your Internet usage and give your eyes a break!
Our world is very complicated these days, and, at times, it can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Instead, take some steps to simplify your life. You will find that by reducing your belongings, simplifying your activities and limiting your Internet usage, your life will be a lot less complicated. And, in turn, with a simplified life, you will feel much more at peace. (To read more about creating a simple life, click here.)
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