Ah, the allure of living a simple life… It’s quite popular, isn’t it? There are so many blogs and social media accounts spreading the word about its benefits and the ways to live a simple life.
While being super helpful, most tips are about reducing the clutter in your home, consuming less, or social media detoxing.
Let’s go deeper into the meaning of simple living here.
At its root, simple living is cutting to the fundamentals: a life driven by what’s most important and valuable to you.
In that sense, material items don’t come to the forefront of the discussion. To live simply, we must first focus on our values and the aspects of our life that are vital to our existence.
In my opinion, living a simple life means living a life most fulfilling to you because you are investing your time and energy into things that matter the most.
6 Ways to Live a Simple Life
- Become aware of what’s most important to you
- Invest your time in meaningful things
- Give your energy to things that actually matter
- Differentiate facts from hypothesis
- Leave space to do nothing
- Practice gratitude for every little blessing
1. Become aware of what’s most important to you
Do you know the parts of your life that you will not abandon no matter what happens? How connected are you to yourself?
It is essential to keep revisiting the values that are truest to you. I suggest written self-discovery exercises (where you answer deep, thoughtful existential questions) that you can reinforce by visiting from time to time. This will not only help you make better choices for yourself but also attract the right people and opportunities.
It's also quite a fulfilling, calming feeling to know exactly what you want in life, and how you intend to interact with the world.
2. Invest your time in meaningful things
Don’t take your time for granted. Respect every moment that you have.
What are the activities that make you the happiest? When do you feel most fulfilled?
We all have some things that we would do if there were no obligations. While not all of us can leave our current situation to pursue what we truly want, we can, in some small way, give to ourselves what we dearly desire.
For example: if you want to dedicate your life towards animal welfare but the other parts of your life need your attention, you can volunteer at an animal shelter once a week, or donate to organizations, or share helpful information about helping animals on your social media accounts. Every small step in the right direction matters.
If you invest your time in things that don’t hold meaning to you, it will be hard to be yourself, it will feel like something’s missing. Your time is precious, use it in the best way possible.
3. Give your energy to things that actually matter
Reduce your tolerance and acceptance for activities that drain your energy for no benefit. Taking part in conversations that make you uncomfortable or that your contribution is unneeded, are best to not indulge in.
“Never be so polite, you forget your power
Never wield such power, you forget to be polite”
-Taylor Swift (song: Marjorie)
If you’re a helpful and caring person, you might feel responsible for giving your energy to others that need you. But be careful about going too far, let others take charge of their lives.
In a simple life, you’re mindful about how much you can give and where. When you know the areas of life that truly matter, your efforts will be directed towards them, and not wasted on mindless, space-filling activities.
4. Differentiate facts from hypothesis
When you worry, is it for events that have occurred, or ones that might (according to you)?
Rumination is dangerous. It’s a waste of your time and energy and generates no good results. Many people are going through horrible things that they can’t control, why create problems for ourselves by thinking that they might happen?
“Worry means you suffer twice”
- Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
You can’t control the future, you can only control your response to it. Take care of how much you think about any problem, and how. Is it really that worrisome? If you change your mindset over it, can the situation be improved? Will this matter and have an impact after 5 years?
If the problem is genuine, trust your strength to make it through. And, if it’s a product of your thoughts, try to let go of it. It’s not serving you.
5. Leave space to do nothing
With the current culture, there is an obsession to be productive. Any moment when we feel that we’re not doing anything seems like a waste of time. While work is important and a good place to put time and energy in, sometimes just sit back and relax. Just that.
No phones around, no potential projects in mind, no burden to be doing something. Even an hour every day, where you play soothing music and lie in a comfortable place, doing nothing, will be immensely calming. You will feel energized, at ease, and thoughts will form without frenzy.
6. Practice gratitude for every little blessing
Dear old gratitude… we all know about how impactful and life-improving it is to experience true gratitude for the wonderful things in our lives.
There are so many things to be grateful for, a multitude of little “insignificant” blessings. A simple life appreciates all that we have.
In gratitude, think small. What are the parts of your life that you’ve been taking for granted? You’ll find many. Some things have been with us from the start, like default settings, and we forget to acknowledge their importance.
Practice gratitude for every little blessing that you have, it’s a wonderful feeling to realize that you have so much to appreciate.
Live simply, live joyfully, live gratefully!
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