In the fast-paced post-modern society most of us find ourselves living in everything can seem incredibly complex. There are many choices for any given product that we can buy, numerous philosophies and belief systems we can follow, and countless subjective perceptions we can have on any given action or reaction that another person expresses. Yes, it sometimes seems as if life is hopelessly complex these days but thankfully there are things we can do in order to simplify life in order to stream in the calming feelings of peace and serenity into our lives. Life doesn’t have to be as complicated as society makes it out to be. Below are six ways to simplify our lives.
Open and Honest Communication
Perhaps the most simplifying aspect of our human experience is the unhindered communication of what we are feeling, thinking, and expressing with and to others. By understanding with absolute clarity there will be no misconceptions as to what someone’s intentions are. There is no need to create highly elaborate and intricate thought-patterns in our minds in order to explain what we think someone meant by doing or saying something.
Many relationships have become undone because of miscommunication and the misinterpretation of what one person said or did to another. Engaging in open dialogue between you and your friends, loved ones, and anyone else for that matter, will save you from worrying, being anxious, and stressing over your perceptions of another person’s actions or reactions.
Being Mindful With Money
Bringing in more peace and harmony into your life can be greatly assisted by being mindful of how much you spend on living expenses. Try not to spend your entire paycheck or money as soon as you get it. It doesn’t have to be on paper, but work out how much money you need for necessary expenses and leave some extra money for savings. Having that extra bit will save you from the incredible stress and anxiety many people experience when they look at their bank account and see they have nothing at all or actually owe the bank.
Don’t buy things on a whim that you need at this moment in time. Sometimes, people buy things because they are unconsciously attempting to fill a void within their lives, be it the loss of a significant other or some other unfortunate experience. Remember that happiness is a state of mind–an inside job; acquiring material possessions can cause short-term happiness, but long-term suffering.
Be Alright With Not Knowing Everything
The human ego is oftentimes a major hindrance to people trying to experience peace and tranquility within their lives. The most effective tool in its arsenal, fear, is largely to blame for this. We shouldn’t allow our egos to use fear in order to control our thoughts and actions. This is why, in order to make life simpler, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask someone something that we are unsure about. The classic stereotype of men not asking for driving directions is a great example of the consciousness of fear directing a person’s actions away from the rational and towards the irrational.
None of us are all-knowing; we learn from others. By making the transition from fear to courage, we can simplify our lives by not having the anxiety of the unknown being constantly within the forefront of our minds. Erase the doubt away by finding out the answer from somebody else, and peace will enter your mind much sooner than if you let fear control your actions.
Not Letting Things Pile Up
A great way to add even more simplicity into your life is to take care of the little things in life as soon as they arise. Don’t procrastinate simple tasks since they will tend to add up and leave you feeling overburdened.
Just think of a case like washing the dishes. As each day passes without any dishes being washed, and as you see the sink fill up with a mountain of bowls, plates, and cutlery your desire to wash them becomes smaller and smaller. What was once a rather simple task has now turned into a herculean effort. Save the trouble that you would have created for yourself by getting small tasks such as this out of the way before they become a gargantuan chore. This Thoreau quote from Walden demonstrates this beautifully.
“I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”
Remember: simplify, simplify, simplify.
A good way to simplify life that may seem to go against common knowledge is to not multitask. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not make you do multiple things well at once, but makes you do multiple things more poorly simultaneously. We believe that we are accomplishing more at once because our brains create the illusion that we are being successful in the multiple tasks we’re doing when in reality, we are epically failing at both. The failure is not always as apparent in some as it is in others, but the hidden failures are always there, which include increased stress, nervousness, and anxiety.
Let’s say that you are driving and eating a bowl of chili simultaneously. Not only do you have to have a significant portion of your focused awareness on the road and be prepared for defensive driving, you also have to worry about not spilling chili all over your work clothes as you’re driving to your job. Throw in utensils into the equation and your multitasking experience has become even more stressful. Focusing on one task at a time will show you, through experiential observation, that a greater level of peace is felt when this approach to getting things accomplished is taken.
Not Constantly Worrying What Others Think
Finally, don’t worry too much about what other people think about you. Admittedly this isn’t easy but it is a sure-fire way to simplify our lives and bring greater peace into our daily human experience. Chances are that there will always be someone, somewhere who is thinking or saying something in a less-than-positive manner about us. One way of combating these anxious thoughts is to go through a mental exercise in your head where you think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t care what those other people think.
Don’t become a unconsciously controlled by others’ thoughts and opinions about you. You are a free-willed individual who can do anything you please. Empower yourself with this liberating stream of thought and care not of what others think of you. Life is too short to constantly worry about what he said, she said.
The simplification of our lives can help us make tremendous strides towards achieving those sought after mind-states of peace and harmony. Present-day society makes it difficult to keep life simple and sweet but it is certainly possible, as the suggestions earlier showed. Empower yourself with the “I can do it” attitude and affirm that you have the power to take great steps towards simplifying life without making tremendous sacrifices. With the prospect of peace and harmony streaming into our lives with life simplification, it should at the very least be something to try.
If you never try, you will never know if you truly could have experienced those delicious higher states of consciousness that seem so elusive. Remember, simplify, simplify, simplify.