(See below for Cheryl's Tips on Simplifying Your Life)
Simplicity is all about making our lives easier, more fun and more spiritually uplifting, while giving us more time for happy spiritual pursuits and reducing the stress in our lives.
There's almost an infinite variety of ways of simplifying our lives and it will vary from person to person and lifestyle to lifestyle. Here we will give some ideas and examples to get you going so you can get a feeling for it, and start coming up with your own ideas that are appropriate for your situation.
First though, we should probably start off by explaining the benefits of simplifying our lives. The number one benefit is reducing stress and giving us more time for spiritual things. It also allows us more time: to smell the flowers, watch a sunset now and then, and appreciate the beauty of nature or the inner goodness of people around us; to spend higher quality time with our children and loved ones; for enjoying spiritually uplifting friendships; for preparing delicious wholesome vegetarian meals and enjoying eating them unhurriedly; as well as more time to just laugh and play in innocent, wholesome ways.
One of the first things we can do is ask ourselves:
"What is more important to me? More money? Or more time for loved ones and spiritually uplifting things?"
This is a rather basic question and a very important one. It has been said that when we are getting ready to leave this world behind us and are thinking about the things we wish we would've done, it is a rare person who would say to themselves, "I should have spent more time at the office." Almost always the person wishes they would've spent more time with loved ones or doing things that were happy or innocent or more uplifting.
So one of the tricks to simplifying our lives is learning how to prioritize our time so we're no longer wasting time trying to earn more money than we need, or doing other unnecessary things, but instead are focusing on those things that truly bring inner peace, happiness and spiritual abundance.
So what else can we do?
Turn off the TV and spend less time in non-spiritual websites.
Take time to be with our family and really listen to them and hear their worries and fears and hopes and desires, and be with them to enjoy life's little happy moments.
Ask ourselves, "What is more important: This activity am doing right now, or . . . . and then add here your favorite activity that brings greater inner peace and spiritual upliftment or brings happiness to others." If it is the latter that is more important, than it is helpful to try to figure out ways to reduce the amount of time it takes to do the mundane thing, so we have more time for the things that bring inner peace and happiness.
If it's possible, turn off the phone and computer for at least an hour or so to reduce interruptions when we're meditating or needing quiet time.
Maybe think about how to cook or clean in more efficient ways so it doesn't take up so much time.
Stop reading "junk" magazines, books and websites and switch to more soothing, spiritually uplifting material.
Be careful of being too much of a "perfectionist" on mundane things that aren't worth that sort of time commitment.
Be careful of trying to juggle too many responsibilities and activities in our lives. Sometimes it helps to decide which ones we want to keep and which ones we need to let go of, so we can keep our lives sane and balanced and have the space to make wiser decisions as to how to use our precious time.
Being able to say, "No", in a kind, loving, caring way, to those people who want us to do "one more thing", that we know is just going to be "too much" for us.
Try not to argue with anyone about anything. It's usually an enormous waste of time, ineffective, and can destroy precious friendships and relationships.
Well, those are some ideas to get you going. Everyone's lives are unique and you will need to look at your own life to find the "happiness stealing things" that take up your time and that aren't really necessary, so you can do the more spiritually uplifting things.
The stress and anxiety caused by our busy lives eventually takes its toll on us emotionally, mentally and physically. So what's the answer? There are probably many, but one of them is to simplify our overly complex lives. So here are some helpful tips to simplify our lives and create healthier lifestyles:
Prioritize: By prioritizing our daily routines, schedules and work loads and only doing that which is really necessary, we become more efficient, more focused and more productive. And now that we are able to focus on the things that matter most to us, life becomes more relaxing and manageable.
Unclutter: It's a good idea to not only unclutter our minds through meditation, but to also unclutter our physical spaces at home and at the office. It's amazing how by simply getting rid of the unnecessary “stuff” we don’t need, it's as if a weight is lifted off our shoulders. It creates a cleaner, better, easier-to-navigate environment for ourselves and for those around us. What do we do with this stuff we're getting rid of? We can recycle it, have a yard sale, give it to a charity (such as Goodwill) or take it to the dump. Strange to say, this same technique also goes for our minds. It's a good idea to get rid of the unnecessary worries and anxieties that most of us carry around in our minds. We can let go of all the “what ifs": "Oh no! What if this is going to happen?" or "What if that is going to happen?" - all those things that we worry about that are more than likely never going to happen anyway. And if something that we don't like really does happen, we can simply fix it then and there and move on. And, by uncluttering our homes and our minds, we make room for the things that we really want in our lives like our beloved friends, pets and loved ones.
Focus on the Positive, not the Negative: Once we have “uncluttered” we can truly move on and start to focus on the positive side of our lives. We can approach life’s challenges now with greater clarity and a much more positive attitude and behaviors. Our lives become happier, healthier, more fulfilling and enriched, and everyone around us benefits from it too.
Taking “Time-Out”: it's absolutely crucial to take-time out for ourselves to rejuvenate and recharge our minds and bodies. This helps us to replace the negativity with relaxing, happy thoughts and feelings. By learning to relax and simplifying our routines and schedules, life becomes more livable. Now our minds are more focused and clear so we can make more informed decisions and do what we really need to do.
Balance: We also need to create balance in our lives. This includes bringing balance between our professional and our personal lives. We have to be careful of "taking our work home with us". Instead, we need to take more timeout to play and to be with those we love. Taking timeout to play and enjoy life is not selfish. It's crucial for a healthy lifestyle and helps us become a happier, kinder, better person. By allowing ourselves to relax and have some fun we can then enjoy all aspects of our lives which then gives us the inner peace and harmony that we need for emotional, mental and physical balance.
Setting Boundaries by Saying “No”: We often feel pulled in too many directions at once by other people's requests, which causes us a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. Believe it or not, in most of these cases we usually have the option to simply say, “No”. The reason we don't usually recognize this option is simply because we're not used to saying, "No". And yet, if we do this in a tactful, polite manner, most people will accept our answer. If they keep “nagging” us, and it's our right to say no, then don’t give in. Just kindly and firmly say, “No”, and walk away. Don’t feel bad about it. Just firmly stick to your answer. This will help you build up courage and confidence in your ability to set boundaries. And in this way you won’t be taking on more work or activities than you can handle. Learning to say know and creating appropriate boundaries is one of the most important things we can learn. This is particularly true for those who are gentle, kind and soft-spoken. In the long run, the other person will respect you more, because you set your own boundaries and stuck to them. Don’t worry about whether they will still like you or not because you said “no”. They will get over it and respect you more for it in the long run. Stick to your decision. In doing this you are gaining respect from others. You will feel better gaining this new level of confidence and ability to control your own personal life decisions. You will find your life becoming simpler and more manageable, relaxed and happier.
Learn to: Kindly Ask for Help and Then Accept Help When it's Offered: We usually can’t do everything on our own so, whether in our professional or personal life, it helps to learn how to politely ask for help from someone who has the time and inclination to assist us. Likewise, when someone kindly offers to help us, it's usually a good idea to simply accept it and then show them what needs to be done and allow them to do it. This is a win-win situation because they're happy they can help us and it frees up crucial time so we can focus on the high priority items that need our immediate attention.
Summary: As we gradually learn to simplify our lives it brings us more time to relax and to unwind. And this of course reduces our stress levels and bring us more inner peace, joy and harmony. So let's start simplifying our lives and make them more rewarding, healthier and happier.
Have fun simplifying your life!
And blessings on your spiritual journey of awakening!
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