The Beauty of Simplification

It seems to me that the more complex the world gets, the more everyone around me is craving a simpler life. Something a little more low-key, a little less noisy and a little more peaceful. Rendered concentric water ripplesLike I've said before, I like being busy and I enjoy having a lot of activity in my life. But there is a lot to be said for the simple life. Yes, all the kids are in a lot of events and activities and we enjoy taking them around and making new memories by indulging in new experiences. But there's something incredibly heart warming about just sitting on the steps and watching the kids ride their bikes. Or playing catch with them in the front yard. Or snuggling on the couch and reading a story book at the end of the day before everyone drifts off to sleep.

This is National Simplify Your Life Week and it's gotten me thinking about ways that I have and could still make my life just a little simpler. While I am getting very good at living in the moment and enjoying what I'm doing at that time there are still times that I make life more complicated than it needs to be. I do this in physical ways as well as mental and emotional ways.

Ironically, the biggest obstacle to simplifying life is we make things more complicated than they need to be. We think that we have to invite everyone to party, or we think that a situation is far worse than it really is and we jump to conclusions. We think that we have to have a bulging closet yet we consistently stand in front of our wardrobe insisting that we don't have anything to wear.

Simplifying your life can be a therapeutic experience. It can be cleansing, healing and deeply refreshing. When you take the complicated and make it simple, you'll suddenly have room to breathe and make new experiences or just embrace open space.

Here are a couple of examples of ways people can simplify their lives:

  • Commit to having an empty shelf in your home. This was originally suggested by Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project and I love the idea of it. Too often, I catch myself filling up the empty space, so for me it's not just about having the empty shelf, it's about keeping the shelf empty.
  • Ask yourself: What would I do if I wasn't offended? There have been a number of times that I've taken something personally that was never intended to be that way. But as soon as I start thinking in that manner, I get stuck in a hamster wheel of emotional confusion. If I would just stop and ask myself what would I do if I wasn't offended, I can simplify the problem in front of me and potentially find a solution because I'm removing the emotional upheaval from the equation.
  • Clean up a corner. Notice that I didn't say "clean your house" or even "clean a room." Start with a corner and go from there. Progress always feels good.
  • Find 10 things to get rid of. These can be big or small, but find 10 things that you don't need, want or use anymore and get rid of them, no questions asked.

All of these examples are really small things you can do and all of them can have a big impact on your life. I recently read Eat Sleep Move by Tom Rath and the entire concept is about how small changes can lead to a big impact. It's a great read about your personal health and ways you can make it more of a priority without completely overhauling your entire life.

So with all this talk about small changes making a big difference and how simplification is not only desirable, but energizing, what are you going to do to simplify your life this week? Tell me below in the comments.