When one thinks of living a simple life, one of two things may happen. They might think of ‘simple’ living as a life without excitement or passion. Or, they might think it’s exactly what they want and continue to strive for a simpler life, in whatever form that means to them.
Living a simple life is about coming into the present, addressing the clutter in your space and mind, and moving forward with intention. Simple living is having gratitude for the small things in life, as well as paying attention to the patterns and rhythms around us.
I have found that living a simple life isn’t as much about what I do, but more about how I do it. I believe anyone, anywhere can live a simple and joyful life. As much as we project simple living in the material realm, it often has to start with our perspectives and thoughts.
What Does It Mean to Live a Simple Life?
Living a simple life is a matter of perspective. What one may believe to be a simple life, is a hectic and busy life to another. No matter what one’s perspective may be, there’s no denying the common theme of simplicity, and that is decluttering one’s life.
Living a more simple life allows one to be more present and appreciative of what they have and what’s around them.
Since there are so many perspectives on the subject, I would like to focus on what it means to declutter the mind. When we take control of our racing thoughts and settle into the moment, life’s greatest blessings are waiting. These blessings are simple but have the ability to lift the heart and ease the mind. Here’s a personal story to explain what I mean:
The other day I was taking a walk on my land. As I was crossing an open field to head into the forest, I noticed I was thinking about all that I had left to do that day. I was planning out each of my tasks and how I was going to complete them all. I became aware that I wasn’t being present, that my intention for going outside was to have a break and enjoy the outdoors. Realizing this, I physically (and mentally) stopped moving, I lifted my head up, took a deep breath, and studied the landscape around me.
Upon doing so, I was gifted with the sight of a magnificent male Northern Harrier, a species of hawk that was soaring low over the field before me. I held my breath as he swooped low to the Earth, only to rise and gracefully soar into the trees. I was enchanted by the silver of his wings and the intensity in his gaze.
After he moved on, I stood for a moment, basking in gratitude for the beauty of nature. For the simple gifts that can embody deep meaning and quiet introspection.
In this way, I simplified my thoughts, focused on my intention, and was blessed by the sight of the hawk. I believe it starts in the mind and then moves into the physical, where we have the opportunity to take stock of our life and clean up the cutter, both physically and mentally
Here is an inspiring video of what living simply means:
How to Live a Simple Life
Living a simple life is a personal choice that can help reduce stress and clutter, allowing you to learn what is most important to you and truly focus on it. The focus can be different for everyone, whether it be decluttering the physical things in your life, fostering more meaningful relationships, or learning to self-reflect and focus on yourself more. The overall goal is to embrace what matters to you and let go of what is no longer needed.
One way to start living a simple life is to start appreciating the little, or simple things all around us. We must start small and commit to the incremental journey to find success in simple living. In order to do this, there are activities you can try, as well as areas of your life to reflect on to help you get started. These include:
- Committing to a daily/weekly practice that brings you into the present.
- Organizing, cleaning, and decluttering your physical space.
- Practicing gratitude for what you have, and what you may take for granted – like the warmth of the sun or the convenience of a dishwasher.
- Being mindful of your spending habits.
- Clearing your schedule to ensure you have more time for creativity and rest.
- Paying attention to one’s thought patterns and perspectives on life.
Art of Simple Living
It is not easy to declutter one’s life and come down into the present. The pressure of responsibilities and tasks can weigh heavy on one’s heart and mind, making it difficult to ever fully relax. So, how do we truly get there?
I have found that committing to a practice that brings me down into my body has helped me have more appreciation for living simply. These practices also help me process my emotions, so I move from a place of intention rather than reaction. Here are some practices that help one come into the body and present moment:
- Yoga/Stretching/Physical Exercise – anything that gets one’s body moving and feeling good.
- Being in nature.
- Meditation – focusing on the breath.
- Journaling – writing about emotions, sensations in the body, and appreciation for what is.
- Being Creative – take time to let one’s creative expression flow.
There is simple beauty all around. Pay attention to these things and practice gratitude for the small things.
Less is More in a Simple Life
With the mind in a state of focus and calm, we can now address the physical aspects of our lives that need to be refreshed and decluttered. Here are some common areas where it might be easier to start:
Go through one’s closest and pick out the clothing that is never or rarely worn and give it to a donation center. If one feels up for it, take it a step farther by reducing the number of clothes worn to only a few everyday outfits and a couple of dressier outfits.
I know that a cluttered and unorganized kitchen can make preparing meals overwhelming and stressful. When we organize our counter spaces and clean up areas we’ve been neglecting, walking into the kitchen space can feel like a breath of fresh air.
By organizing one’s schedule, we can free up time to be creative and enjoy the simple things in life. To do this, start asking yourself these types of questions: how much time is one putting into themselves? Are you making sure you are setting time aside to take care of yourself, to be alone and creative? How much time are you spending doing things that don’t benefit you or bring you value?
Simple Life Money Management
For many, just the thought of finances and bills brings stress and heavy pressure. What if it doesn’t have to be that way? With organization and discipline, finances can become much more simplified. Bills can be consistently paid and reduced. Here are some ways you can simplify your finances:
Reduce Credit Card use
This is a big one, and in order to do this, one must address the purchases they are making. Are you creating debt over unnecessary things? For financial success and less debt, credit cards should only be used in case of emergencies.
Reduce Unnecessary Spending
To reduce impulse spending and unnecessary purchases, it’s helpful to be clear on your intention of why you want/need something. For example, before you buy more clothing, ask yourself if it’s something you really need? If it’s something you don’t need but simply want, be clear on why it is something you want and how it will bring value to your life.
Spend Money Wisely
When one does spend their money, it’s important to consider what one is supporting through their purchase. An example of this is to start making more earth-conscious purchases. Start supporting local organic farmers by purchasing your produce at a farm stand. Check ingredient lists and how things are sourced to ensure your money is going to something that is of benefit to the Earth, to you, and the other beautiful creatures on this land.
Scientific studies have looked at the benefits of living simply and how it’s better for our planet. To learn more, check out this study on how living simply is more sustainable for the Earth.
Mindset for Happiness in a Simple Life
Happiness comes from within, rather than from without. True and sustainable happiness can never be achieved through the gain of more material possessions. It’s easy to get caught in the cycle of thinking, “if only I had this, I would be happy.” When, in reality, happiness is determined by one’s perspectives, thought patterns, and outlook on life.
I believe it is also helpful to note that it is impossible to be happy 100% of the time. It is simply not part of the human experience, and there is value in moments of sadness and anger. These are teachers that help us grow and expand into greater versions of ourselves – if we allow them to be that is. We set ourselves up for failure by expecting to be happy all the time, and it makes the times of darkness that much worse.
Nonetheless, happiness is something we can choose, every day, through our thoughts and mindsets. Let go of the things that are out of your control, loosen your grip on what you hold so tightly, and ease into joy.
Scientific studies have shown the health benefits related to living a simple life and how it can lead to more happiness. To find out more, check out this study on the benefits of low self-complexity.
Where to Live a Simple Life
No matter where one is, or how busy their life may seem, anyone can live a simple life. Granted, some places might be easier to live more simply, depending on one’s perspective.
Based on my perspective, it is far easier to live a simpler and more peaceful life when you live in the country. This is because there aren’t as many distractions such as traffic, noisy neighbors, and blaring sirens. In the country, you can listen to the tones of silence, the song of the birds, and the wind sweeping across an open field. If one doesn’t live in the country, they can still find this serenity through frequent trips to the outdoors that are away from the city.
Note: Living in the country comes with a number of its own challenges and doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more simple for everyone.
The Modern World
If you do live in the city, it is still 100% possible to live a simple life. No matter one’s setting, they can still address the clutter around them, organize, and develop healthy thought patterns. But, it is also much easier to do things that don’t support a simple life when one lives in the city, such as getting take-out most nights. So, even though convenience is right outside your door, it is important to simplify – make your own meals, get out into nature, and appreciate the beauty of the small things every day.
Simple Life Tips
- There is simple beauty all around. Pay attention to these things and practice gratitude for the small things.
- Start small. One doesn’t need to change too many things at once.
- Practice presence with yourself, while in nature, and when spending time with others.
- Reduce how much money and time one spends doing things that are not beneficial to their life and wellness.
Why Are Some People Happy With a Simple Life?
Living a more simple life allows one to be more present and appreciative of what they have and what’s around them. This helps people feel more at peace with themselves, their possessions, and their mindset.
What Do You Call a Simple Living Person?
A simple living person can be anyone, whether that’s a minimalist, a nature enthusiast, a mother or father, or a country person. A simple living person can also be described as frugal, natural, non-materialistic, and down to earth.
How Would You Describe Simple Living?
Coming down into the moment, appreciating the small things, and decluttering one’s environment. It is a life that is focused on what matters, rather than what can be gained or achieved. It is a life driven by intention rather than ego.
Areas in Life People Want to Simplify
After speaking with a few friends and family, I put together a poll of areas they would like to simplify in their lives. Here’s what I found out and what I learned:
|Area In Life
|Tally of Family/Friends
- Minimalism Lifestyle – Learn to Live a Simple Lifestyle
- Hygge – Wellness, Contentment, and Simplicity for Life
- Debt-Free Living – Smart Choices for Personal Independence
- Minimalist Travel – Guide to Success From a Happy Traveler
- Gezellig – Experiencing this Calm, Warm, Togetherness
- Zero Waste – Guide to Living This Sustainable Lifestyle
- Ananda – Person and Practice to Reach a Higher Self
It’s clear that in order to move forward in simplicity it starts with the mind. Once we have taken care of that aspect of our lives, it’s much easier to address the physical things we would like to be rid of. These can also be done hand in hand, as decluttering one space naturally inspires us to declutter another. Which leads me to ask, what is one part of your life you’re ready to address and simplify?