"I am a human being, not a human doing. Don't equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren't what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don't...you aren't."
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Life is busy. As time goes on it just seems to get busier and busier. Along with the increasing activity level comes increased stress. It is natural...we are putting more and more demands on ourselves, of course stress is bound to increase.
So, what's the solution? Is there one? I believe there is a solution and that is to simplify our lives. Taking a step back and getting some perspective on what is important and what is just something that we're doing because we think it is expected of us, will go a long way to helping us see what is really happening in our lives, and how important it really is.
Simplifying our lives is one of the most important steps we can take to increase our happiness and our satisfaction with life. Here are my top 5 ways to simplify your life.
I know you will think I am crazy for suggesting this, but one of the best ways to simplify your life is to disconnect from all of the noise and clutter that we allow into our lives.
Shut off your cell phone – some of you may remember at time when somebody could only phone you if you were at home. There is really nothing wrong with that. It is actually a good thing. Humans have survived many, many centuries without cell phones. We have only had phones for a little more than a hundred years, so I am sure that the world will survive if you don’t receive any calls for a few hours.
Disconnect from the Internet. There is a lot of babble and wasted time waiting for us on the Internet. We use it as a source of entertainment, a source of information, and a source of communication…but it is all so much and it is constant. Take a few hours off…or better, limit your time to an hour or so a day…long enough to read this blog, of course, but other than that, disconnect. Try it for a week and see how much calmer you feel. If possible, disconnect for a week altogether.
Shut down the email program. Try reading your emails only once per day…or less, if you are brave. Keep track of how much the world fails to fall apart when you don’t respond to an email within 5 minutes…you will be surprised at how little difference it really makes to the world…but it will make a huge difference to you.
Unplug the television! Or at least leave it turned off. There is really nothing there that you need…and so much you don’t need. You don’t need to listen to the media’s reports that are almost all biased toward bad news…believe me, nothing in the world will change just because you don’t know about it. You also don’t need the constant bombardment of advertisement that prove to you that there are many things wrong with you…and they have a product that will fix you up straight away. Believe me when I tell you, there is nothing wrong with you…you are perfect just the way you are…accept that and move on with a more positive view of life.
Change your "To Do" list for a "To Be" list
We all have “To Do” lists that are out of control. It seems that if you can get through your to do list on any day, then you just aren’t trying to get enough stuff done. This is how our society seems to view our lives. We are obsessed with productivity…most of which won’t matter in the least when we look at it in the long run.
I suggest that you toss the tod do list in favour of a “To Be” list. List the things that you want in your life…list the things that you want to be. When I did this, I was very surprised at how short my list is…although I am far from unambitious, I was able to boil down almost everything I wanted to be into one word…HAPPY. I want to be happy…and one way to do that is to stop trying so darned hard to keep up with everyone else. I still have a “To Do” list, but I keep it to only 4 items each day…and I make sure that I work on these first thing…when my “to do” list is finished, I celebrate by allowing myself to do whatever I want for the rest of the day…and that is usually to just be HAPPY with whatever I decide to do.
We are human beings, not human doings…so stop trying to do so much, and start being.
Learn to say "No"
One of the simplest ways to simplify your life is to learn to say, “NO.” We are obsessed with trying not to upset other people, and so, when they ask us to do something for them, we usually say, “yes.” This happens even when we don’t want to do it.
You will be happier and feel better about yourself in the long run if you say “No” when you don’t want to do something. Only say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do. I guarantee that you won’t upset people nearly as much as you think you will…but you will be far happier. You will have a lot more time for YOU…and that is what your life is really about, isn’t it? YOU!
Go ahead. Try it. Say no whenever you don’t want to say yes. Try it for a week or two, and take note of how many people will just say, “Okay.”
Meditation can transform your life. It is a quieting of the mind that will help you immensely. You will find yourself calmer and more relaxed. You will be able to deal with the demands of our society in an easier manner.
Meditation has many healthy benefits. It is an all around fix for much of what you perceive to be wrong with your life. I use the word perceive on purpose. There is nothing wrong with your life…there is only the perception that something is wrong or missing. Meditation will help you change your perception of the world and your place in it
Meditation is a big subject, and so, I plan to write an entire post about it within the next couple of weeks. For now, take up the practice of meditation. There is an old Zen proverb that says, “Everyone should sit in meditation for 15 minutes a day, unless you don’t have time. Then you should sit for an hour.” Make the time. You will be extremely glad that you did. Once the practice becomes a habit, you won’t be able to remember how you ever did without it.
Edit your Relationship List
This is another one where you are going to say I’m crazy. Here I am suggesting that you go through the list of people who are in your life in any way…and get rid of the ones that don’t add anything to your life.
We all have acquaintances…even some family members, who are really not good for our peace of mind. These people are the complainers, the “nay-sayers”. They are the ones that are only really interested in themselves and they feel that everyone else should be just as interested in them.
I am sure that you know the people I mean. The ones who never have a positive thing to say. The ones that take the polite greeting, “How are you?” as permission to actually tell you…in great detail…everything that is “wrong” with their lives.
I give you permission to fire these people from your life. I don’t care who they are, they are sucking the life out of you. You need to allow them to move on and suck the life out of someone else. It doesn’t matter if they are close family, a spouse, a boss, an old friend…it is time to move them out of your life. When you do this, you will recover the energy that they have been stealing from you.
If you feel that you just can’t let the people go, then you need to talk to them honestly and let them know that they need to change when they are around you…or you will have to let them go. It is worth a try, if you honestly feel that they have value in your life.
I know this won’t be easy. You may feel that it is too painful to consider, but I suggest to you, that it is more painful to let it continue.
Edit your relationship list and you will get rid of a lot of the things that are cluttering up your life.
So those are my top 5 ways to simplify your life. Disconnect, Change your “To Do” list into a “To Be” list, Learn to say “No,” Meditate, and Edit your relationship list. If you do any or all of these, you will find your life changing for the better. You will find yourself happier, calmer, and enjoying life so much more.
Do you have any suggestions? How do you simplify your life? Leave a comment and let us know.