“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”Socrates.

There is a strong connection between living simply and living happily. The former can certainly contribute greatly to the latter, meaning there is great potential value and benefit in learning to live simply to live happily. In today’s fast-paced and complex world, people can get lost. The world is a complicated place for many. Many are obsessed and striving for more money, a bigger title, and a bigger house. This obsession with striving for more can mean rarely finding happiness. However, even though such a grind pays off for some, living by the mantra of “rise and grind” can cause many of us great unhappiness.

Living simply means adopting a lifestyle that fosters simplicity in one’s lifestyle. For many, simple living promotes anti-materialism (having fewer possessions), reduced dependence on technology and spending less money on goods and services. But simple living is more than just doing with less. Simple living is about embracing the idea that happiness is not dependent on materialistic things. It is multi-faceted and can include being content with silence, solitude, and living in the moment.

There are many ways to live a simpler life. Strategies and approaches that work for others might not work for you. Take your time experimenting with these types of approaches and find the ones that work the best for you. Here, I’m going to share with you nine ways you can live a simpler and happier life.

  1. Be in control of your own life and let go of others’ expectations.

You just bought a new house which has a pool and a very cool rear garden. But was it because you actually needed a fancy house or because you feel like a new expensive house is something people expect you to own or that you wish others to think about you in a particular way? Living by other people’s expectations can not only make you feel disappointed but can also make your life unnecessarily complicated. Other people will always have something to say or something they need from you. Don’t pay heed to what they say about you. Learn to navigate your life on your own.

Letting go of others’ expectations will make your life much simpler and happier. You would be free from the constant need to do according to others’ wishes, no longer feel disappointed, frustrated, or like you are letting others down. You will live a much more peaceful life. But learning how to live your life for yourself and letting go of others’ expectations is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a change in mindset.

The first step in doing so is realising that someone else’s expectation from you is theirs, not yours. It is not a “you” problem. Understanding this can make it easier for you to cope with disappointment. You also learn how to be less hard on yourself when things don’t turn out the way you wanted them to. So, remember, satisfying other people is sometimes futile. Don’t let others steer your life for you.

  • Stop comparing yourself with others.

Comparing ourselves with others is very natural. It is the easiest way to evaluate ourselves and identify areas for self-improvement. However, it is important to realise that comparing yourself with others can be very detrimental to your mental wellbeing. Comparing yourself with others is a trap. It makes you go after something you never really want and overcomplicates your life. Moreover, when you compare yourself with others, you tend to feel insecure about your own accomplishments in life. This leads to misery, jealousy, and self-destructive behaviour.

Don’t fall into this rabbit hole. You can easily get rid of this problem by focusing inwards and asking yourself what you actually want. Remember, if you believe that comparing yourself to others will get you external validation, then you may well be wrong. If you are striving for external validation and not the validation that comes from within, then you are likely to be wasting your time. The most important things in life – happiness, mental and emotional wellbeing, purpose, and love can only be internally measured. Therefore, stop unfair comparisons and learn the art of thinking about what really matters to you.

For more on this topic, read this article: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.

  • Practice mindfulness exercises

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – said Sharon Salzberg

Practising mindfulness offers a plethora of benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. The goal of mindfulness exercises like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises, for example, is to focus live in the present moment, understand your present feelings, and keep yourself physically fit. Hence, these exercises make you feel active and great and ultimately contribute to your happiness.

Mindfulness activities can detach you from reality and the busy life you have created for yourself. Mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery allow you to take some time out for yourself to understand your emotions and feelings. Instead of hiding your messy feelings and burying them deep down, acknowledge them. Reflecting on your feelings can make you more self-compassionate. Being mindful is also scientifically proven to reduce depression and relax the body and mind.

Simple mindfulness practice can make a big difference in how you see yourself and your life. Research also suggests that spending one-on-one time with yourself bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. This is especially important since the disconnection with one’s inner self results in low self-esteem and self-confidence. Hence, when you connect with yourself, you are not only becoming more self-aware, but you are also improving your feelings of self-worth. Practising manfulness gives you control over your emotions and makes you lead a peaceful and satisfying life- the goal of simple living.

  • Try to find joy in simple things.

You do not need to spend money to find joy. You can try doing things as simple as reading a novel, enjoying time in nature, cooking yourself dinner with music, calling up a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or watching a TV show you have wanted to watch for some time now to find happiness. According to Donald Fomby, a self-taught content writer, even spending some alone time can make you happy: “Even if you need to take time to just lie on the couch and watch Netflix, you should always make time to spend by yourself and just relax. As you age, you will not have many opportunities to have alone time, so enjoy these moments whenever you can.” Finding happiness in simple things like these can renew your commitment to living a simple life.

  • Journaling

When you are living a busy and hectic life, you often ignore how you feel and forget to take your feelings into account. Writing down your thoughts and feelings on paper is a good practice for organising your thoughts and feelings and forcing yourself to pay attention to how you feel. Using a diary to write down things is an effective practice when dealing with emotions. Writing down how you feel can help you process your emotions more effectively. Moreover, the practice of writing down things may help free up some mental space and improve your memory and focus. So, maintain a daily journal and refer to it whenever you are feeling overwhelmed to understand the changes that are happening around you.

  • Good Sleep

When you are in a rat race way of life, you often ignore your sleep. It is important to know that sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. So, do not compromise on your sleep and make sure you get quality sleep. Experts define quality sleep as a good deep sleep without any distractions. Good quality of sleep is very important for your overall health. On the other hand, poor sleep quality is defined as an irregular sleep pattern, drowsiness during the day, and waking up several times during the night. According to National sleep, “healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.” Having a good night’s sleep makes you wake up fresh and energetic.

Moreover, sleep and mood have a strong relationship. Adequate sleep facilitates your brain’s processing of emotional information. Therefore, healthy sleeping can reduce frustration and irritability and uplift your mood. The research study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2018 signifies the importance of sleeping well. According to the results of the study, “a single night of sleep deprivation can cause beta-amyloid, a metabolic waste product, to accumulate in brain structures, including the amygdalae, which regulate mood, emotion, memory, and ability to learn and are implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.” Having a good quality sleep at night is one small habit you can adopt to simplify your life.

  • Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature is a good way to feel the vastness and experience something greater than yourself. It makes you see witness the benefits of a simple life with your own eyes. Acknowledge and absorb the vastness and relax. Connecting with nature offers you an opportunity to forget about all your worries and be amazed by the beauty nature has to offer. Ecotherapy validates the mental health benefits of spending time in nature.

Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy, includes a set of practices that use nature to boost growth and healing. Focus on seeing, hearing, and feeling the things you might otherwise be too ignorant to notice. Spending some quality time in nature can go a long way in bringing feelings of serenity, peace, and calm into your life. So, spend more time in nature to uplift your mood and live simple, wild, and free.

  • Catch up with the people who matter to you the most

When we surround ourselves with work and overcomplicate our lives, our relationships with our loved ones suffer the most. A good way to break away from the complicated life you have created for yourself is to connect more with the people you love. One of the benefits of simple life is that you get more time and energy to spend with your family and friends. Although technology and social media have made us all more connected, facetime and Instagram’s direct messages are no substitute for spending one-on-one time with each other.

  • Stay Active and Workout

Exercising is another great way to revamp your self-care goals and benefit your body and mind. In addition to more immediate benefits of exercising, which include weight management, reduced risk of health problems, stronger bones and muscles, psychological benefits of working out include lower stress and reduced risk of depression and anxiety. When we work out, our bodies increase the production of happy hormones. A Spike in the levels of endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine makes us feel more content. Furthermore, exercising triggers the release of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are claimed to boost overall emotional wellbeing. However, it is important to not exceed your limits and overexert yourself.

Final Word

Consider making a conscious choice to switch from an overly indulgent life to a simpler one. It will not necessarily be easy, but it will give you more freedom, time, energy, and peace. Sometimes will be harder than others, but your hard work and effort will be worth it. Don’t let the hardship of the journey deter you from your goal to live a simple and happy life. It is your perseverance that will help you get to your end goal. Letting go of others’ expectations, not comparing yourself to others, and meditation works the best when you are trying to live simply. The ways summarised in this article are not the only approaches you can use to live a simpler and happier life. Feel free to experiment with these and discover your own ways to simplify your life.


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