Living a simple life – With the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we can often find ourselves yearning for a quieter, simpler way of living. If your life has come to resemble an endless race to the finish line, take a look at the suggestions below to bring a greater sense of calm, simplicity and peace back into your life.
1) Less is more. It’s amazing how much “stuff” we can accumulate in our homes because we think they’ll contribute to our lives. It’s true that we gain enjoyment from material possessions, but the more we accumulate the more burdened we often feel. Eventually we find ourselves living under a constant cloud of confusion, scattered thoughts and stress.
Begin immediately to clear out the material possessions you no longer need or want, and donate them to a local charitable organization. This will accomplish two things: first, you’ll feel lighter and less cramped in your home; and you’ll also feel good about giving these items to people who need them and can actually use them.
“The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.” Steve Maraboli
2) Pare down your activities. An active life is good for you, but not if it leaves you feeling stressed and fatigued! Most of us take on much more than necessary as far as obligations and even recreational activities are concerned.
Take a few minutes to think about the things you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Do you really need to do all of them? Have you taken on responsibilities that really aren’t yours? Are you spending time on activities you no longer enjoy? Make a list of at least a few activities or obligations that you can eliminate, and then go ahead and do so – even if you have to pare them down gradually.
“People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life” John C. Maxwell
3) Spend time in silence. There are times when you are so used to doing everything in a hurry that you don’t notice how fast-paced your life has become. A deceptively simple way to live a life of simplicity and ease is to shut out the mental and physical “noise” of your busy life on a regular basis. Sitting in silence for just a few minutes can drastically reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling calm, centred and happy.
If you live near a park or natural setting, you can even boost the effectiveness of this activity by spending time in nature. While not completely silent, natural settings have soothing sounds like running water, singing birds and wind sighing through trees – which automatically trigger feelings of peace and well-being. Find fulfilment in the simple things in life by spending time with friends, or building something with your own hands. Intrinsic rewards will improve your motivation and overall satisfaction with your life
“In your silence, when there are no words, no language, nobody else is present, you are getting in tune with existence” Osho
4) Identify your values. Think about the things that are important to you that influence the way you act and ultimately the person you are. These are values. They are a guiding force in decision making. Identifying your values can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort.
To identify your values, think about the times in your life when you were the happiest, most proud, most fulfilled and satisfied. Make a list and determine what you valued about those situations. Perhaps you value the creativity, adventure, loyalty and hard work each of these situations provided. Maybe you realize that you value your family the most. These will be a driving force in everything you do. If you want to live a simple, peaceful life, then you might value serenity, resourcefulness, stability, and health.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
5) Align your activities with your values. Take part in activities which are in harmony with your values and desire to live a simple life. You are more happy and satisfied when your activities are in line with your values. Refuse offers to events that conflict with your intent to live peacefully. Make a decision to live a value-driven life. When you know, what your core values are, you have an incredibly powerful tool to access your ‘sacred gift.’ By naming a value, you can quickly step into what that value means to you; what it really feels like when it’s present in your life. And, you can use these feelings as energetic pointers when making decisions, big and small; decisions you know will lead you to a meaningful and happy life. This is what living a value-driven life is all about.
“Living in a way that reflects one’s values is not just about what you do, it is also about how you do things”
6) Live in the present moment. As humans we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the past or about the future. We think about what was and what could have been. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The key to solving this problem is simplifying your thoughts and staying focused on what you are doing at that moment. You have to realize that the present time is all there ever was and probably will be. By doing visualization exercises to imagine yourself in a simple, peaceful, stress-free environment, and Engaging in conversation or exercise you will be able to help quiet your mind and stay focused in the present moment.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” Eckhart Tolle
7) Practice empathy and compassion to create peace. Each human being exists within the context of interrelationships that include other human beings, all living beings and the natural world. The ability to appreciate someone else’s struggle is an important skill to develop. You know how you would like to be treated, so use that as a guide when trying to treat others. As Lou Holtz says: “Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated”. Practicing empathy and kindness is the core skill for what psychologists call “pro-social” behaviour – the actions that are involved in building close relationships, maintaining friendships, and developing strong communities. It appears to be the central reality necessary for developing a conscience, as well.
“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Lee, Harper
When it comes right down to it, living a simple and peaceful life is about learning how to slow down, connect more deeply with your inner self and live a conscious life. Whether you do that by simplifying your surroundings, calming your schedule or enjoying a quiet respite each day, the result is the same – having a simple yet meaningful life and a happier and more peaceful you!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle