How many of us actually believe that less is more? Does simplicity make us smile, or is our happiness driven by a desire to have it all?
We are part of a consumerist culture which often leads us to become blinded to the simple pleasures that surround us. It’s hard to live simply and satisfied in a world that constantly affirms to us that we need more. Who we are and what we have is not enough, it never will be. It’s an exhausting cycle of striving ever harder only to feel increasingly unfilled.
Yet it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. You can simply strike a balance. You can choose to work towards the things that are most meaningful to you and experience immense satisfaction in your day to day living. Cultivating an attitude of simplicity can make a big difference to your wellbeing and it is far easier to accomplish than striving for the impossible.
There are so many ways to add a touch of simplicity into your every day life without having to make any massive changes to your routine. It’s not about adding anything in, it’s about taking away - making space by stripping everything back to the essentials. For example, cooking simply. Culturally, we are encouraged to eat packaged and processed foods with ingredient lists a mile long, but let’s face it, these foods are notoriously more harmful than helpful. Find joy in simple meals and reconnect with your food by cooking with less than 5 ingredients or eating only what’s in season and readily available. Enjoy the flavours and goodness of natural, fresh foods.
Another way to cultivate simple living practices is by mentally and physically doing less. By taking on less you’ll end up doing a better job. Focus on one thing at a time - instead of getting caught up in a million things simply sidestep the overwhelm to reach a clear state of mind. By focusing on what needs to be done right now, you’ll naturally find that there are certain things you can let go of, or re-prioritize accordingly. Not everything is urgent and important. Trust that as you choose what gets your attention next. Create a little space in order to take one step back and the priority will become glaringly obvious. It can some times help to put pen to paper and write everything down. Listing the tasks allows you to plainly see what needs to be prioritized and what doesn’t need your immediate attention and energy. You get to choose what to do now, and what to come back to, later. It’s that simple.
Simplicity and slowing down are two sides of the same coin. There are so many aspects of our life that would benefit if we made the conscious effort to simply take our time, one of them being in the way we connect with others. When talking with someone, do you truly hear what they are saying, or are you waiting your turn to speak? It’s easy for the mind to get trapped in the future as it conjures up how to add more and more to the conversation. Yet the art of truly connecting with another can be as simple as slowing down and ensuring the whole of you is showing up. Something as simple as a warm, genuine and mutual interaction, can be a day maker for everyone involved.
There can be pleasure found in many simple things that are taken for granted or seen as a chore. Even mundane tasks such as washing the dishes or travelling to work can provide an opportunity to tune in and find enjoyment. Take your time. Focus on the simple sensations, such as the warm water and soap over your hands or the welcoming smile of a stranger at the bus stop. Tuning into these simple moments shows happiness resides in simplicity. It’s possible to experience a peaceful, grounded state throughout your day and gain a sense of reward from the smallest of tasks.
Simplicity can also be found outdoors and in nature. So often we are contained within four walls and under a ceiling, connected to an infinite online world through our screens. Stepping outside can help us to re-set and enjoy the real world environment we’re living in without seeking anything more. Enjoy the serenity and find simple outdoor activities such as nature walks, a picnic or swimming, anything that brings you joy and leaves you feeling revitalized. In no time you’ll remember prosperity comes in many different forms.
We don’t need more; we need to take more notice what we’ve already got. Opportunities, connections, experiences, environments. Chances are, you’re already richer than you can handle. Ask yourself these questions to gain clarity:
What can I take off my to-do list?
How can I eat more simply?
Where would I like to go explore?
Why does simplicity appeal to me?
Our minds so easily overcomplicate things. Do we dare believe that it could be as simple as adjusting the focus from seeking more to accepting how much we already have? Let us appreciate the simple things, the real things, the little things. For the day will come when we look back and realise - they were in fact the big things after all.