Simplify Your Life: How do you do that?

Yesterday I had a conversation with someone who asked, “Why are things so complicated?”  While I wasn’t going to answer this question for this person, I sit here this morning thinking about how as humans, we often complicate matters.  We do this as means to distract ourselves from other things we’d rather not look at, for the pleasure of figuring something out haphazardly,  we are overwhelmed by the series of latest events – so wrapped up in the emotions that we keeping tying ourselves down with more fix it ideas that really only serve to bandaid one pin prick.

Even thinking about this question this morning I have a list of ideas too long, that I am overwhelmed by the advice of others (actually myself in most circumstances).  So I am going to pick 3 things, to simplify.  Take it or leave it, actually don’t take it if it doesn’t simplify!

Many people feel stressed and overwhelmed because they are ‘overconnected,'” says Debra A. Dinnoncenzo, president of ALLearnatives.  This means that there are now so many ways to connect and contact one another (phone, text, email, chat messages, forums, intercoms, walkie talkies, doorbells, cars, bikes, meetings…) that we forget to disconnect.  I mean, imagine when all we had was a messenger to send a note?  (idea sparked by this article)

Cat Li Stevenson comments, “We don’t have to reject all consumerism, move to a remote island, or follow a strict Zen routine in order to experience the inner peace that comes with simple living.”  There are very good ways to get ride of the extras – which could include adding more errands today when I need to focus on leaving town, or letting the weeds grow a bit more (they will still be there tomorrow), or sending out one more email (can’t it wait?).

Danny, who started simplifying life 2 years ago, has a great blog that uses words and simple images in reflecting on the journey of simplifying.  Particularly I liked the statement, “Simplifying has taught me that I already have what I need.”

Top 10 Tuesdays: Simple Steps

Top 10 Tuesdays are aimed at sharing resources and tips that have had usefulness in my life.  Mondays can be long, stressful, and disgruntling so Tuesday often is about taking action, making a new plan, or maybe tweaking the attitude just a bit.  Today’s top 10 are going to be simple – nope, no brain surgeon needed here!  The thing is, when life is busy, complex, packed with stress and responsibilities – these simple steps can get pushed aside.  Let’s use them.

1. Breathe – Recently I was told that I have a short breath in, compared to my breath out.  I’ve been working on breathing and counting to 6 slowly, and then out 6.  The simple step of stopping what you are doing, taking the time to breathe and notice your body, can bring you back to a place of calm.

2. Laugh – So important to find the funny in life.  Laugh hard, laugh regularly!  Giggle 🙂  Here’s my example:  

3. Notice – Notice the colors, the texture, the sounds, the smells, the space that you’re in.

4. Show Gratitude – Whether it be leaving a small note to say thank you, or making a quick call, or a quick text message to say you appreciate a gesture – noticing kindness can go a long way.

5. Plan for Success – Now I’m not saying if you plan for success that everything is going to turn out all right, but notice your attitude, your excitement, & your ability to brainstorm when things aren’t going quite as planned.

6. Find Nature – Smell those roses!  And if you really can’t find nature (stuck in an elevator, a building or room with no windows) close your eyes and find nature there.  Your favorite nature spot.

7. Indulge – Make a plan for something you want but haven’t made time, had the $ for, keep forgetting.  How about a massage, or a fruit smoothie, or a fun excursion down the river?  And when you do this, be present.

8. Stretch – Stretch your body out, your necks, your back, your wrists, shoulders…you name it stretch it.

9. Share – We are good at asking kids to share with one another.  Do we do this ourselves?  Share a message, over lunch, whatever it may be – and enjoy the joy your sharing.

10. Play – What’s your favorite recess activity?  Dance to a song, play a sport, chase a pet or a friend, play hard.