Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. ~Edwin Way Teale
No matter how much we simplify our outer lives what good is it if we don’t have inner simplicity? All of the physical steps we take to simplify our lives are important but they don’t automatically guarantee inner solitude. A de-cluttered home and debt free finances are great but if we feel all chaotic inside then we are missing out on peace and tranquility which is the main reason most of us simplify in the first place.
Achieving inner simplicity takes work but it’s enjoyable work if you do it right. I don’t claim to be an expert on achieving inner peace but I can offer a few suggestions on some things that are working for me. I hope you find them helpful and share any suggestions you may have as well.
Spend some time each day in prayer and/or meditation. Countless studies have shown that people who pray and mediate on a daily basis have better health, lower stress levels and experience more happiness. I do yoga almost every day and I consider it to be mediation in motion. This works great for my very busy mind because I have not yet mastered meditating by sitting still. I also have several prayers that I say throughout the day that give me comfort and peace.
Engage in exercise you enjoy. You won’t ever find me in a gym or lifting weights. It’s simply not my thing. Where you will find me is in a yoga studio or on a hiking trail. I now only participate in exercise that I like and that makes me feel good about myself. The byproduct is I feel great and I’m healthier than ever. Just because I don’t dig gyms or weights doesn’t mean they are not valid. The point is to do what you enjoy. Exercise is important to our inner and outer well being so your chances of sticking with it are better if you like what you’re doing.
Take a walk. I try to take a walk almost every day. Getting out in the fresh air even if only for 15 minutes does me a world of good. Some people argue that they don’t have time to take a walk each day but I challenge you to find a few minutes each day to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. Give up watching the news when you get home or use the last 10 minutes of your lunch hour to stroll around your office park. Don’t set yourself up for failure with an overly ambitious time schedule. Start small and then go from there.
Get plenty of sleep. Each of us has different needs. I feel best with 7-8 hours per night. Any less and I can really start to drag. Find the right amount for you and do your best to get that time each and every night. The quality of your life will drastically improve.
Quit worrying excessively about money. There’s nothing that interferes more with our inner peace of mind than worrying about money. If you are paying your bills and are out of debt or working on a plan to get out of debt then let go a little. If you study the history of banking and fiat currencies, you will discover that unless you are a member of the banking elite much about money is out of our control anyway. Even if every currency in the world fell tomorrow, there would still be natural resources, knowledge, labor, and new ideas. Money is just an idea and an idea that we sometimes give way too much power to. Concentrate on inner abundance and not how many zeros are on your bank ledger.
Limit your media intake. I like to keep up with current events as much as the next person but there are so many media outlets completing for my attention that it makes my head spin. Much of journalism today is not really journalism nor is it investigative in any way. Sadly, too many of the mainstream media outlets first priority is to their shareholders and not their viewers. They meet their monetary obligations to their shareholders by having good ratings. Fear and sensationalism help them to accomplish this. Keep this in mind the next time you get all worked up about some story that has absolutely no effect on your life at all.
Quit engaging in non-productive political arguments. I used to love to discuss politics until I had the enormous epiphany that I would never change anyone’s mind. I can’t speak for other countries but politics in the US has become like a sporting event and a very bad event at that! Very few people are interested in meaningful dialogue because so many just want to win an argument at any cost. I now carefully choose who I discuss this volatile subject with and make sure the person is interested in a civil exchange of ideas and not a reenactment of a Fox News or MSNBC roundtable showdown whose only goal is to bring in money for their corporate sponsors.
Give yourself a set period of time to do nothing each week. Ideally, I would love to give myself one day a week to do nothing but often I have to settle for a half-day on the weekends. When I say do nothing I don’t mean I sit on my couch staring into space. Nothing for me means not having any set plans. I take it as it comes and do what suits my fancy. Sometimes I’ll read a book or watch a documentary. Other times I will play with my cats.