Simply Living by Living Simply

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Has life become a hectic struggle? Have we become overly busy chasing for more that our lives have become cluttered with unnecessary belongings, responsibilities and extra burdens?

These things can cloud our lives so much that we cannot focus on the things that are really important and meaningful to us. We attribute meaning to insignificant matters while missing out on truly magnificent aspects of life. Living simply can put much greater emphasis on matters that are really important to you. Less can often be more.

Writer and philosopher, William Henry Channing wrote:

To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To listen to stars and birds and babes and sages with an open heart. To study hard, think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions. Never hurry. In a word, to let the spiritual, the unbidden and the unconscious rise up through the common. This is my symphony.

The lifestyle of living simply favors values such as relationships and the environment over material consumption and income. Living simply is linked not only to environmental sustainability but also to improved mental and physical health.

 Some things I have learned about living simply:

  • Decluttering your home and work space can result in a less cluttered mind.
  • Many things are good or important, but only few are essential. Letting go can be difficult, but is easier if you do a one-month challenge. Let go of something for a month and see whether you like it or not or whether you can truly live without it or not. Living simply also means letting go of what you were used to.
  • Make time for what is important: time with your children, time with your spouse, time for creating, time for self-care. Prioritize to make time. Place the 3-6 most important things that make your life better at the top of the list.
  • Overcommitting is what many of us do. Learn to cut down on commitments to simplify your life. By saying no to things, we are saying yes to what is truly important.
  • We fill our lives with things that sound amazing. We hear about what others do and instantly add that to our own lives. By adding what others do we are subtracting our own space. And that space is important. Rather than just adding on, ask yourself “what am I going to subtract? What am I going to stop doing?”
  • It is tempting to fill in every minute of the day with productivity or distractions. Don’t. Leave some emptiness because, as mentioned previously, space is important.
  • Take a quiet minute to mindfully focus on your thoughts. If you cannot learn to sit in a quiet room alone with no distractions, it will be challenging to live simply. (Ironically, distractions are sometimes nice.)
  • What matters is not about how few things we own. What matters is how we make those few things count. Very little is needed to make a happy life.
  • Your attention is your most valuable possession.

If you feel that your life has become a hectic struggle, take a moment to consider living simply. You may find that simply living is so much more.


Image: Ron on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

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