Simplify Your Life: Audit for Better Health
and Happiness in 15 Easy Steps
In our pursuit of the American Dream, most Americans are willing to put up with quite a bit. Very long work hours, sacrificing vacation time, missing out on milestones in their kids’ lives … and maybe even suffering from a few stress-related illnesses.
Living simply is a choice everyone can make. Are you ready to simplify yours?
You may very well have enough activities crammed into each day that you barely have time to think … let alone to eat healthy, exercise or (gasp) relax — and that is just from the external pressures.
On the inside all of this stress and 24/7 lifestyle can leave you with racing thoughts so severe you have trouble sleeping or, on the flipside, feeling like your brain is completely fried, numb and on the verge of a complete meltdown.
And for all of this strife, many of us are still spending our free time worrying about finances, the state of the economy, terrorist threats or coming down with a bout of flu.
This begs the question: for all that we’re sacrificing, how many of us feel truly happy? And could it be that the quest for happiness lies not in how many hours we can work in a week, but in how many we can thoroughly enjoy?
With that in mind, we urge you to audit your life and decide if you could benefit from slowing down and reducing out of control stresses, so that you, as a human being, can free up more time for relaxation and fun.
And if you decide the answer is YES … here are important tips to get you started.
15 Ways to Live Simply
- Decide what’s most important to you, then center your life around those items (this probably means cutting out other activities to make room for those that count the most).
- Turn off all communication devices at a set time each night. This includes your cell phone, computer, pager, and fax. Better yet, try to reduce your daily use of these communication tools.
- Learn to say no. This is not selfish, it’s about survival … and living your life the way YOU want to.
- Resign from any and all organizations and commitments that don’t make you happy.
- Set up as much of your life as possible on autopilot. For instance, set up your bills to be paid automatically online, have your paycheck direct deposited, and hire a pet sitter to come and walk your dog everyday at lunchtime.
- Delegate. If you can’t figure out how to do it on autopilot, think about who might be able to complete certain tasks that you do now. Then delegate everything and anything you can.
- Get rid of clutter. Clutter will make your life feel more complicated than it needs to, while a clutter-free space is one where you can truly feel at peace.
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- Stop buying more stuff. Not only will you have to figure out how to pay for the “stuff,” but you’ll have to figure out a place to put it (in your now clutter-free home). You’re likely better off not buying it to begin with most of the time.
- Do your grocery shopping once a week only, or better yet join a food coop that delivers once a week. You’ll get healthy foods for your family in one stop.
- When you do your cooking, cook more than you need for one meal. Freeze the leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time, or use them later in the week.
- Redesign your day. What takes up the most time in your day? The least? Carefully evaluate how you spend your daily time, then reorganize it so you have time for what’s most important to you.
- Take your time when you eat. Eating slowly helps you appreciate your food and take a break from a busy day (not to mention it’s a good way to help you lose weight).
- Live in the moment. Help your mind to slow down by appreciating every moment as it comes, even if you’re doing something you’d rather not be. By living in the moment, you only think about what’s going on right now, not what you’ll be doing in 10 minutes or what needs to get done by 5:00.
- Spend time alone and with family. Many people feel cheated in life in that they don’t have time to just read a book, ejnoy a hobby or simply contemplate life. Likewise, many would enjoy more time to spend together with their family. Make time for both in your life, even if it means saying no to something else.
- Do one thing at a time. When you try to do too many things at once, you’ll find nothing gets done very quickly or well. By focusing on just one thing — one goal, one dream, one task at work, one child’s question, one conversation — the task will get done with more thoroughness and less stress on your part.