Simple living is something that has been advocated by many spiritual traditions, leaders (like Gandhi) and philosophers (like Henry David Thoreau). These days in western society, it has become just a wish for many people.
I believe that this complicated, busy, consumerist lifestyle we live in developed countries is the cause of most of the stress we suffer from. This lifestyle stress is endemic to living life in the fast lane. You may not feel it yet, but it will eventually catch up with you.
Many if not most diseases and conditions today are caused by stress. It is the number one killer of the immune system and any sense of peace and contentedness. Without all that self-created stress, we just might make the approach to being truly happy. Of course, happiness will have a natural ebb and flow just as we see in nature.
You can be happy one day and then plummet into despair or anger the next, and then flow up toward happiness again the following day. Now this is the consequence of living a fast, complex sort of life, and most of us do. But how are we to live in order to have happiness, or more realistically a sense of peace and contentedness.
Simple Living Practices
Simple Living Tips
** Cut back on your energy dependence by reducing some forms of technology you have and energy usage. Do the dishes by hand, mow your own lawn, and make some of your own bread, healthy cakes, muesli bars, jams and chutneys. You can make a new piece of furniture and adopt an active hobby. If you live within 3-5 km of work, walk a couple times a week and leave the car at home. Buy a bicycle and ride.
** Do your own work.You don’t need all the gym equipment, visits to the gym (fuel, money, time, traffic stress) if you are doing your own work around the home. Starting a garden, especially a vegetable garden, is a great thing to do for the exercise, saving on grocery bills, eating organic produce, getting the sunshine vitamin d3, and sucking in plenty of fresh air on a daily basis. Go for walks, especially bush/nature walks. If you have a fireplace, chop your own wood.
** Declutter your home, garage and workspace. Storage is one of the fastest growing industries in the US…do you really need all that stuff? Seriously?
** Decide to spend your money wisely! Buy quality not quantity and make as many green choices as you can with the things you do buy.
** To spend your money wisely you will need to limit your exposure to advertising. Most people spend hours in front of the TV and are always wanting to buy more, more, more. The advertising sinks in and you think you need to have all that stuff you don’t need. So reduce the time you watch the TV, you can mute the ads. The news is so negative and it depresses me if ever I see it. So I don’t watch it. I look at the news on the internet so I only see headlines. If I want to read a full story, I click on it, otherwise I don’t.
** Free up some of your time. Eliminate all the things you do that don’t need to be in your life so you have more time to do what you want to do. We all have to do things that we might not really like doing, like housework or cleaning out the gutters. But those things aside, if there is anything you are doing that you don’t need to, then stop.
Find some time to do nothing, to meditate and reflect, or to journal. You might read some books that make you feel good.
** Be creative. There are plenty of ideas out there to be creative in your home; painting, sculpting, making paper, or find out how to make a fish pond and do it yourself. Learn a new language or learn how to cook. You might write some articles on any of your interests.
** Save some of your money for doing things you really want to do. It might take you 5 years to save for that canoe, or trip to France, but just start.
** If your home is very large, then consider selling and buying a smaller one. It will be cheaper to heat and cool and easier to clean and maintain. That will free up some of your time and will simplify your life.
** Trade your car in for a more energy efficient model.
** Order a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Published in 1854, Walden is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Thoreau wrote about his experiment in personal independence, self-reliance and simplicity that he underwent in the two years, two months, and two days he spent living on the shores of Walden Pond.
** This website is the biggest thing I have done to simplify my life. This is my work and I love it. Everyone has some knowledge about something, so you can do this too. It is designed to simplify my life, align with my personal ethics, and free up my time by automating my income.
** Pace yourself. You don’t have to do everything quickly. Walk a bit slower (except when doing vigorous exercise), drive a bit slower, speak a bit slower, eat slower and enjoy life. You can’t enjoy anything when you are rushing. Savor your food and lose weight by chewing more. Look at the scenery and smell the roses. Spend time with your loved ones and friends. Ask them to dinner and treat them to your home-grown vegetables.
** This is all about finding out what is important to you in your life and chuck out everything else…eventually. Take your time; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t make this a stressful process, enjoy the feeling of lightness and freedom you get from decluttering and simplifying your life.