In the chaos of everyday life, it’s difficult to just sit down, breathe, and recollect once in a while. For this reason, many people, including Mahatma Gandhi, have completely abandoned the busy lifestyle and opted for a “simple life” instead. But what exactly is simple living?
Plainly, leading a simple life is exactly what it sounds like. It means taking the stress out of living, and experiencing and appreciating it for what it is – just life. While it is nearly impossible to take away the stress of work and/or school, there are still ways you can incorporate the benefits of living simply into your daily routine without sacrificing your need for income or structure.
“Material goods rarely alter our levels of happiness, unlike emotional experience. Having can never replace being.”Ilsa Crawford
Do you really need four pairs of the same jeans in different colours? Is that expensive vase going to do anything except look nice on your shelf? While living simply and the art of having less are two separate practices, minimalism may play a huge part in leading a clear, stress-free life. This one is obvious, because who can ever think straight in a room full of mess and clutter? Keep only objects that serve a greater purpose to you. When cleaning, ask yourself, “Do I need this? Does this make me happy?” If not, you know what to do. Matt D’Avella, director and producer of the acclaimed documentary, Minimalism, claims becoming a minimalist “redefined [his] idea of success” by showing him what was really important in his life. Minimalism sets your priorities straight by getting rid of the stress of caring what people think or that you won’t be good enough without certain material items – essential to leading a simple life.
“Hygge is about having less, enjoying more; the pleasure of simply being.”Louisa Thomsen Brits
Pronounced “hoo-ga”, the Danish word, hygge means the act of taking pleasure in simple things and moments. If you’re going to live simply, you’re going to want to cherish every moment. Acknowledge the feelings you have when enjoying a simple activity that is otherwise quickly forgotten or taken for granted, like being with family or friends, laughing, or drinking a cup of tea. In his best-selling novel, The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking teaches his readers what it means to practice hygge, and why the Danish way of living should be talked about more often. Practicing hygge can lead to appreciation of the things that matter most in life – simple living, likewise, is all about taking the present moment and giving it meaningful essence.
Less screen time
“The human spirit must prevail over technology.”Albert Einstein
Believe it or not, but there is more to life than your phone and social media. According to a study conducted by Kathryn Murphy, NP, the excessive use of technology is linked to emotional instability, stress, and physical ailments such as fatigue, vision problems, and lack of exercise. Commonly referred to as “technostress“, this addiction to technology is a real, prevalent health issue affecting each generation. Therefore, it would do everyone well to unplug for a while. Instead of scrolling on your phone while your loved ones are around, why not put it away in a drawer, make pleasant conversation, and enjoy that precious family time? Simple living, after all, is about recognizing the smaller joys in life, and everyone can agree that spending time with people you know and love is one of the best parts of living.
To recap, simple living is a lifestyle adopted by those seeking refuge from the stressful parts of life. You may incorporate elements such as lessening the amount of clutter in your home, appreciating the small things in life, and spending less time on electronics. Just doing these three things can have a wonderful and purposeful impact on your life by reducing stress, allowing you to see what really matters in life, and encouraging you to further improve your mind, body, and soul.