Simplifying Your Life to Increase Your Happiness. I have been doing a lot of reading of late on neuroscience and brain functioning, which are fascinating subjects as I am sure you are thinking as you read this ;-).
One of the things I have been particularly interested in is what over-stimulates the mind and what are some of the things we can do to slow things down a bit and bring more peace and harmony into our lives. I am not sure about you, but I love a bit of peace and harmony in my daily life.
So let me get right to the point. Have you ever thought about the brain power that is used managing your stuff or the calm that is experienced, within the mind, when there are less external stimulants or distractions or things to take care of?
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” – Henry David Thoreau
I am a big proponent of simplifying your life to enhance your experience, your happiness, and to de-stress your life, in what is typically a pretty stressful existence. Here are some of my general thoughts for you to ponder:
- Do you need to own something or can you just lease it for when you need it? This means that you don’t have to store it, maintain it, clean it, or upgrade it. It is someone else’s headache (as the saying goes). Work out how often you are going to use something (that boat, 4×4 SUV, motorbike, or summer holiday retreat in southern France) and decide if it is easier for you to just lease it as you need it, rather than take it on as a full-time responsibility.
- The more possessions you own, the more space they physically take up. You need to store this stuff. The more stuff, the more storage space required (a bigger house, a shed, spare rooms, extra shelves, off-site storage, etc.). There may also be insurance costs associated. Overall there is a monetary cost for owning and taking care of your stuff.
- The more possessions you own, the more space they take up mentally. They require you to think about their storage, their maintenance, their security, their location, and maybe their replacement. Thinking requires energy. Energy used on this means less energy for the things that really matter – right now.
- A cluttered house, room, shed, etc. does not help you to relax. An untidy space provides more visual distractions for the mind. I also believe that the external represents the internal and the internal reflects the external, so essentially clutter and mess, affects the ability to have a tidy mind. If you have ever declutter a draw, a room or a house, you will know that at the end of it, a sense of peace often pervades.
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” – Richard Halloway
So there you go. If you really want to get into simplifying your life more and experiencing more peace and calm (not for everyone ;-)) there are some great resources available. Check out Zen Habits Blog by Leo Babauta, who has also written some great books – Zen to Done and The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life (eBook).
Totally a personal choice and so I am not pushing simplifying your life, it is just something to consider if you experience a significant and unappreciated amount of stress in your life. It might be an option that works for you and allows a bit more happiness to shine into your life.
From Materialism: Origins And Implications For Personal Well-Being. “Empirical evidence on the connection between materialism and happiness comes primarily from three studies (Belk 1983, Kasser & Ryan 1993, and Richins & Dawson 1992) and a meta-analysis of work in this area (Wright & Larsen 1993) which all find a negative correlation between materialism and happiness or well-being.” For the full report check out this LINK