During my chat with Joel Zaslofsky, we identified practices that helped us both on the journey to simple living.
Though the path to a simpler and happier life isn’t the same for everyone, lots of folks find that getting clear about a few things really helps. In that vein, here are seven actions that certainly had (and continue to have) powerful effects on our lives.
Please comment and share any others that have helped you.
Be kind to yourself
When we love ourselves we begin to heal the Earth. Everything starts with us. If we are being merciless and judgmental toward ourselves, how can we hope to assist with healing the planet? Or for that matter, our friends, family and the rest of humanity?
Begin a regular practice of focusing inward
Whether it’s meditation, yoga, martial arts or just silence in nature, take some time to focus your attention inward. Try to become aware of your thoughts. Remember, your thoughts are not you. When we understand this and begin to train ourselves to observe our thoughts, it becomes easier to choose to entertain beneficial thoughts and let go of those that don’t serve us.
Connect with your tribe
Get to know your neighbors. Seek out others who are on the simple living path. This can really help you to stay motivated and informed about how to accomplish what you want. Joel noted in our interview that how many people you know within your neighborhood can have a profound effect, not only on your happiness but your overall health. You might check out SimpleREV for more ideas on this.
Ask yourself, “What is enough?”
The idea behind achieving the American Dream was creating a happy life, wasn’t it? Yet many of us on that road didn’t end up living happily ever after. In fact, when we looked at what really made us happy, we found that a lot of the “stuff”, along with everything we had to do to get it, was actually diminishing our happiness. When we ask ourselves, “What is enough?” we begin to identify actions that can help us make progress toward a life that is simpler and much more satisfying.
Gratitude immediately makes us happier. It also helps to attract more of what makes us happy. Create a habit of being grateful. You might want to start a gratitude journal in which you write five things for which you are grateful everyday. Or you may want to make listing things you are grateful for as part of your daily meditation practice.
Listen to your heart
The heart actually thinks. In fact, it holds great wisdom for those who connect with it on a regular basis. Pay attention to what speaks to your heart. When you are feeling happy or excited about something, your heart is talking to you. By listening, and following what your heart is saying you can make great progress toward a happier life.
Clarify and articulate your intentions for your life
Take the time to get clear on what you truly want for your life. If you are wishing for things, identify the feeling you are seeking as a result of getting those things. You may find that the pursuit of those things may not be the best way to achieve the feeling you want. Once you are clear on your intentions, writing them down can be very beneficial. You may also want to ask yourself if the bulk of your daily actions are really helping you to achieve your true intentions. Adjusting your daily activities, so that they are more in line with your intentions, will likely assist you in creating a happier and simpler life.