To put this as simply as I can – simplicity is all the rage these days, and for a very good reason: people are tired of the hectic frenzy that now passes for daily life. Simplicity and serenity are in fashion, while frenzy has gone out of style.
Simplicity [sim-plis-i-tee]; the state, quality, or an instance of being simple; freedom from complexity, intricacy; freedom from deceit or guile; sincerity; artlessness; naturalness.
Simplicity is a much underrated secret to living a genuinely happy and fulfilling life. Once all the literal and figurative clutter has been removed, it quite honestly feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.
However, simplifying our lives is not as easy as it might seem and it does take time, commitment and the effort to maintain the right habits. That being said, it is very much worth the effort.
Here are some tried and true methods to simplify your life:
Get Rid of Stuff
Clutter, “stuff” and things you don’t need are dragging you down. If you haven’t thought about it or used it in the last year or so, do you really need it? Holding onto ‘stuff’ that has no real value or benefit adds more mess, complexity and stress to your life…and who needs that?
Once you get rid of things you don’t really need, you’ll feel better almost right away. Commit to not buying things you don’t really need and to cleaning out your home at least once a year.
Break Away From the Hot-button Reaction Mode
People today over-react. This is in large part due to our instant-on, 24 x7 communications society in which calls, emails and texts come blaring into our lives incessantly. Give thought to what does and does not need your immediate attention and avoid ‘panic mode,’ by not getting worried without reason. Pause, ponder and then plan how you need to respond.
Are you afraid to say ‘no?” If so, then that is part of the clutter in your life. We’re all just human, trying to make it through life as best we can. When we say yes to everything that comes along, we take on more than we can handle and then we feel frazzled and resentful. Learn to say no and you’ll soon realize how life gets simpler when we take on fewer tasks, worries and responsibilities.
Take Time to Enjoy Life
Don’t rush through life. Set aside some time each day to reflect on what you have going on in your life – reflect on your hopes and dreams and prioritize the things most important to you. You’ll soon see ways you can slow down and take a break from the mania of life, realizing that you don’t have to do it all in a rush.
Steer Clear of Negative People
The world is hard enough without letting negative people make it worse. Negative people hone in on and glom onto the bad things in life, making things seem dark and complicated. Do you really need that in your life? Avoid people who constantly complain, stir up trouble and who radiate negativity. Surround yourself with people who focus-in on the positive and who raise you up, not drag you down.
Don’t compare yourself to others, because that ultimately takes you off-track in your own life. Comparing ourselves to others has no real positive effect on helping us to accomplish our personal dreams and aspirations. Of course, there is no harm in learning from the success and failures of others, but comparing only causes stress, frustration and envy — and that is most unhelpful. Be you and nobody else, because once we accept and embrace who we are as people, it simplifies life a great deal.
Avoid Gossip and Unnecessary Controversy
One sure way to over-complicate life it to get caught up in gossip and petty arguments. Don’t speak ill of others, since you don’t want people doing that about you. Extricate yourself from petty office politics, inter-friendship rivalries and other stress-inducing situations that help no one. Simply your life by ridding it of emotional clutter.
Be Compassionate, Polite and Grateful
How do these things simplify life? Quite simply, being compassionate, courteous and grateful is a self-perpetuating path of positivity. Caring about others, saying ‘thank you’ and counting your blessings, creates harmony and positivity and the more of that you put out in the world, the more of it that comes back to you. And, feeling blessed and content is a sure way to simplify life.
A few other tips to simplifying life:
Tune Out to Tune In
What causes “clutter” today? Reality TV, Social Media, trashy pop-culture. Try reading more, writing more, but talking and watching less. The din of the TV or tumultuous racket on the internet can really stress us out — and stress is a form of mental clutter. Consider reading a good book instead of surfing the web or watching TV. Bored and can’t think of what do to? Rather than hopping onto Facebook or Twitter, take some time to write out your thoughts by keeping a daily journal.
Socialize with Loved Ones
What better way to be more grounded than to spend time with close friends and family — try a family game night and play different board games. Organize a book club. Do things with people you love that will help you all connect more — it goes a long way in helping us to recognize the blessings of simple, ole’ fashion human interaction.
There are many ways to simplify our lives and sometimes the best way to tailor make your own plan for doing so, is to write it down. Jot down what you feel is the problem, what is making you feel over-whelmed or what is complicating your life. Then, write down what you think would be possible solutions. Usually when we feel the need to simplify, it’s the universe’s way of telling us that something is out of whack.