The Art of Simplicity. Why It’s Time to Simplify Your Life

Published on: April 13, 2013

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“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” – Lin Yutang

In a busy and hectic world, people long for days of relaxation and the simple life. With work, kids, chores, never-ending errands, and more, it’s easy to get overstressed and exhausted. Stress levels are at an all-time high and because of that, health problems increase. Parents scurry from place to place to raise their all-star soccer and dance competing children and lie in bed at night thinking, “What am I doing? Will life ever settle down? I’m so exhausted!”

Don’t get me wrong. Productivity requires activity and some activity is certainly beneficial. After all, many things wouldn’t get done if everyone sat around doing nothing. It is learning the art of simplicity and balance that we find happiness and peace. Those that embark on a journey of letting go and simplifying tend to get much more than less stress; they tend to find a spiritual path that leads them to more authentic joy.

The Simple Life

The concept of living a simple life is not a new idea. It has actually been quite popular since the beginning of civilization. Early Christians advised followers to let go of what they didn’t need and live a simple life devoted to others. Buddhists encouraged followers to let go of desire and seek nothing more than necessary to live. Native Americans lived quite simple utilising natural resources as often as possible for sustenance and shelter.

Over time, though, the pursuit of material possessions and money has caused many people to drown out simplicity. Keeping up with the Joneses has become the norm and the pursuit of happiness through status and wealth has caused people to push against the tide so they can be better, have more, and strive to be the best. The problem is that it sucks so much energy from people in the process and leaves them tired, empty, and discontented.

What Does Simplicity Look Like?

What does it meant to be simplistic? Why do some people tend to have simpler lives than others? Often times a person gets stretched to the max before his or her eyes are opened to the fact that her crazy busy lifestyle is not serving her. She’s seeking happiness and status via outside means while starving on the inside. Finally, she has an epiphany and realises she must simplify and begin a journey to find true peace and joy while doing so.

Simplicity may mean different things to different people, but it has common characteristics. It means to live day to day with only the things you need and be content with what you have. Here are few ways others have chosen to simplify and you can too:

  • Get rid of things (clutter) you don’t need. Have a yard sale, donate the items, or give them the items friends and family members.
  • Let go of negative emotions that are not serving you.
  • Downsize. Get rid of expensive payments that weigh you down.
  • Stop doing time consuming activities that you can live without.
  • Commit to doing more things you love.
  • Take up a hobby.
  • Let go of a miserable relationship.
  • Go on a spiritual retreat.

As you really take some time to gauge your life, you’ll most likely discover things that you can do to simplify. Make a list of possible things you can do and give it a try. Everyone has 24 hours in a day and so many people pack it so full of tasks that aren’t really helping them to grow in happiness or peace. It’s much like the hamster on the exercise wheel; running and spinning round but never getting anywhere. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel and carve out a life that is balanced and satisfying.

Do more things that you love and cut out things that are not serving you. Make a “Not to Do” list and eliminate things that you’re doing that are bogging you down. Read up on the stories of other people who have simplified and ways they have done so. Ask your friends to join you in the endeavour to simplify and distress your life. Join the simplicity movement so that you can relax and enjoy life to the fullest.

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