Viewing other people’s highlight reels on social media not only drains our energy but leaves us feeling inadequate and worthless. For too long we have associated fulfillment with a fast-paced and full life. Instead of enjoying the moment, we move from one thing to the next, constantly running on our treadmill of life.
What if this constant running and striving were unnecessary to obtain happiness? We have all experienced greater simplicity in our lives thanks to the pandemic. But are you making the most of this simplicity? We all know this quote:
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.
First, we will figure out what simple actually means. Then we will learn how to relax into the moment and appreciate the simple things. And once you experience the vibes of a simple life, you may never return to your old chaos.
This article is part of a much bigger guide on learning how to become happy that I’m sure is the biggest freely available guide on the internet. This article contains some great tips, but you’ll find a lot more actionable tips in the section Happiness Tips!
Embrace a simple mindset
A simple life translates to an easy life. We are living in an era where working to exhaustion is an accolade. The busier we are, the more importance we think we carry.
But where does this end? With physical and mental illness, that’s where.
So, we need to accept we are no less of a person for reducing our productivity. Having a smaller car or house does not make us inferior to someone with a mansion or a truck.
And as for stuff, well, we may think when we first purchase a new item that it will bring us happiness. And in the immediate moment, shopping does bring happiness. But in the end, all this extra clutter adds to our stress levels.
The world is noisy. Everyone is shouting to be heard, be it your friends or people you follow on social media. The radio and TV, and of course politics. And we know this because our phone keeps beeping at us with updates.
Well, it’s time to switch off your notifications, pop your phone on silent and Marie Kondo your life.
5 ways to embrace the simple life
Treat your time as an investment. How we invest our time physically, emotionally, and intellectually has repercussions on our health and wellbeing.
Let’s look at 5 ways you can enjoy the simple things in life more.
Not only is reading a way to relax the central nervous system, but it strengthens our brain. Not only that but if you choose to read literary fiction, your personal involvement with the characters promotes a more empathetic leaning.
And the best thing about reading? It is comparable to yoga and humor. Ok, so it may not have the same effects on your physique as yoga, but like yoga reading a book helps lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
Whereas, scrolling on social media can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.
2. Simplify your food and optimize your health
What are your eating habits like? Is this an area worthy of simplification?
When we eat a simpler diet, we automatically eat less processed food. Do you have the opportunity to grow your own food? Even a tomato plant placed at a window? Simple foods have fewer ingredients. When we are more mindful about our food, we are more aware of what we are putting into our bodies.
The simpler the food the fewer ingredients it contains. Simple foods are better for our health. Think vegetables, nuts, grains, fruits and legumes.
Harvard University recommends keeping a food diary to first help identify what our eating habits are like, before addressing areas that may require change. Remember the old adage, “you are what you eat”.
3. Say “no” to drama and gossip
We’ve all experienced the famous FOMO (fear of missing out), but in certain circles, this can turn into JOMO (joy of missing out).
For example, we hold onto some friendships when they are past their sell-by date. I’m sure we have all experienced a point when the energy shifts in friendships. I know I certainly have. I have only just said goodbye to my “best friend” of 2 decades, it hurts, but I feel lighter.
If you are leaving some social situations feeling more drained than energized it is time to say “no”.
I appreciate you may not want to oust these people entirely from your life, but recognize it is OK to limit your time with those who steal your joy. And heck, if you want to draw the line completely and say goodbye, regardless of your shared background, that is entirely OK too.
When we stop feeding into surrounding drama and adding to gossip, we invite calm in our lives.
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.Eleanor Roosevelt
Surround yourself with friends who speak of dreams and ideas, not people or stuff. Personally, I would rather spend time with my dog than most other people! But that said, I have some incredible friends.
True friends enrich our lives and promote our wellbeing. Superficial friends do the opposite. Don’t waste time with people out of duty or obligation. You’ve got one life. Live it!
If you want tips on how to say focus on yourself more, we got you covered!
4. Move your body
Move and enjoy it. I don’t just mean marching to the bus stop. Or getting up from the sofa to put the kettle on.
I’m talking about taking time out to move. Purposeful, mindful, movement looks different for everyone. For me, I am at my happiest trail running in nature with my dog by my side. The simplicity of feeling my feet glide over the surface in a metronomic rhythm is entrancing.
For you, your movement may be dancing, or yoga, or swimming, or horse-riding. It may be ballet or pilates or gardening.
Pay attention to how your body feels during your chosen movement. How are your energy levels, does anything feel stuck, sore or stiff? Remember to enjoy it. Smile. Movement is a privilege that you should be thankful for.
Invest time in whatever movement makes you feel most yourself. Movement can capture our spirit, connect us with our soul and energize us. And most importantly movement promotes mental and physical health.
5. Experience nature with all your senses
Getting out in nature has long been touted as one of the most beneficial and basic things we can do, to calm an overwhelmed mind and body. Not only does it improve our mood, but it also has restorative effects.
But let’s take this one step further. Go out for a walk somewhere peaceful. Perhaps the beach, the woods, a mountain or a riverside. Use mindful techniques to ground yourself in the moment. Pay attention to your senses. What can you see, hear and smell? What do the trees, or the sand or the grass feel like? Is there a taste in the air?
If you normally spend your spare time shopping or in busy environments, how does this experience in nature compare?
When we step away from the incessant noise of the world we invite a greater sense of inner calm. And that’s exactly what you need to do if you want to enjoy the little things more in your life.
Now, I’d like to hear from you! What techniques have you used to help embrace and enjoy the simple things in life more? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments.