Living a simple life is elusive, much like happiness. Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Are the two connected? We are lucky to be living in times where we are at the cusp of a scientific revelation every day, the world has gotten smaller, rapid advancements in medical science has greatly helped in increasing the life expectancy, and a great many comforts are available at the tap of a few clicks. Life has never been this easy in the history of mankind, and yet finding happiness hasn’t been more difficult.
How could this be? When we look at our lives, we have the entire world at our fingertips. We can search for anything and find thousands of options. A question that might be troubling us can be answered in a thousand different ways. Unfortunately, this dream life gets interrupted by reality when we can’t find something that can make us feel good. Something that conjures up emotions of peace, joy, and contentment.
We are never satisfied and don’t feel a wave of inner peace or joy. We hurl our mobile phones when they crash. We slap our television sets when they stop working. We go on a rampage when the WiFi is down. We curse on the road because someone overtook us. We whine when the air conditioning doesn’t cool enough. We roll our eyes when we don’t find anything to eat of our liking. We don’t wait and press the close button in the lift. We rush past the people on the road to get to the office and back home. We are busy doing things we hate with people we are not fond of day in, day out. We are always in a state of upheaval and pandemonium with our attentions constantly flinging from one worthless thing to another. Our minds are crowded with an endless stream of conflicting thoughts while we struggle to focus on the task at hand.
We continue to ask ourselves questions that have many answers, “How?” We desperately search for that definitive answer to these skull-crushing questions only to be more confused and directionless. We drown ourselves in videos, podcasts, and self-help books. Yet, none of this proves to be of any help. We meditate, journal, affirm, reaffirm, keep pictures of things we are grateful for, take up a hobby to express our creative side, cut out any toxicity in life, keep busy in work, drink more water, go to the gym, adopt healthier eating habits, and when we get tired from following the routine, we take a few days to reset. Shutting down friends because they wronged us on a rare occasion is the norm and only way to grow according to that self-help book. Leaving girlfriends and boyfriends is also a part of the process of deserving something better and not communicating the same comes from the sense of entitlement we imbibe from the videos that we watch.
Yet, after all this, we find ourselves as unhappy as ever. We look around us, and all our friends are gone leaving us to our dazed state of hopelessness and despair. The problem is that we are looking for the answers outside, instead of taking a peek inside. All the answers are within us, we only have to learn how to look.
T.S. Elliot said, “Finding a way to live the simple life is one of life’s supreme complications.”
The truth is that this isn’t as complicated as we make it be. If we always focus on the minute details, we’ll always be primed to find the negatives. Living in a state of struggle has become the norm and a prerequisite for growth. The saying goes… if it’s not hard, it’s not worth it, struggle today to make your future perfect and a hundred others that condition you into a state of struggle. However, living simply isn’t that hard and it is definitely not about shutting opportunities of growth or denying the many pleasures and beauties of life. Moving to the forest to become a hermit or becoming super religious is not the only way to lead a simple life. Here are a few things you can start doing today to live a simple life in complicated times.
- Declutter Your Room And Office: Removing the unimportant stuff that’s clogging your personal space both at work and house is a great first step to focus only on things that are important. The constant distractions would disappear and with it would go the stress levels allowing you to keep your life simple. Moreover, you won’t have to shift your attention to the things that don’t contribute to your happiness in any way.
- Limit Your Social Media Time: Stop spending some time on social media and comparing your life with anyone else’s. The fun pictures and videos that you watch on Facebook or Instagram don’t reveal their hidden maladies. Life is short and the joy can be seldom found surfing aimlessly on the net. Addiction to it enslaves you in a virtual world not allowing you to spread those wings of potential.
- Avoid Unnecessary Costs: As Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, “We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” Trapped in the web of consumerism, you waste your money on things you don’t need only to complicate your life. Keep it simple by not spending lavishly on things that won’t improve your living. Instead, spend on things that may end up making a difference in the quality of life.
- Focus On What You Love: When you spend time by doing what you enjoy, life becomes simple and a real pleasure. In contrast, when you don’t like what you do, life becomes painful. From infancy, you’ve been controlled and conditioned to do things you hate. However, starting doing focus your attention only on things you love and your life will completely change.
- Prioritise Your Health: If you are not healthy, everything becomes complicated. Suffering from disease turns every day into a living nightmare leaving you incapacitated. As long as you live, eat right and exercise to keep the body nourished and feel well.
- Reconnect With Nature: Away from the concrete jungle you probably live in, find solace and peace in the lap of nature. Relax by taking a leisurely walk amid the greenery listening to the songs of the bird, watching animals, exploring the beauty of flowers, and inhaling breaths of pure and fresh air. This exercise of immersing yourself in the harmony of nature helps you reconnect with your soul.
- Practice Mindfulness: Your minds are filled with a myriad of thoughts, most of them useless and self-deprecating resulting in a state of stress and suffering. The practice of mindfulness is a great way to control your thoughts and bring about a more peaceful state of mind. Adopting a meditation technique will do wonders and help you relieve you of the countless, chaotic thoughts that do no good.
- Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: You are gifted life and unless you learn to appreciate it, you’ll never find satisfaction. You are always striving to do better, continuously struggling to achieve more in the future forgetting to enjoy the present. While it’s indispensable to set goals and work towards your dreams, the truth is the moment that is now will never come again in the future. You need to be grateful for all the little things that make such moments day in and day out.
- Help Others: You are a part of a community and the only way that it can grow is when you support others. When you help others to be healthy and happy, you are in the sense, helping yourself. Offering a helping hand to alleviate someone’s pain is essential to your own wellness.
- Build Genuine Relationships: Forming true, genuine relationships allows you to give and receive love – the most important feeling that makes life simple and worthwhile. Learn to open your heart and make friends with others as this will only enrich your life in different ways and nourish your soul.
Life will stop being complex and convoluted when you slow down and do things that are truly important to you. Above all, it’s essential to understand what simplicity means to you and do things in accordance.