Hello again! Remember minimalist shoes from our kinetic chain blog? If not, go back and read it. It seems there’s a healthy trend on the rise… “Less is Best.” And by the way, Lems is a great brand of minimalist shoes to check out. Today we are expanding on the theory that less is best by talking about living a simpler life and the benefits associated with it. Minimalism is all about living with less. This includes fewer financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses. For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions. Minimalists often put a huge emphasis on mindfulness, too. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, often as a therapeutic technique.” You may be thinking, “what does all this new age hippie crap have to do with Chiropractic?” It’s no secret that in our Chiropractic office the number one focus is your total optimal health… physical, mental, and emotional. This is a look at the effect simplicity has on your mental and emotional health which we all know can greatly affect your physical health.
The Epicureans may have gotten it right with their philosophy on life. We subscribe to it, just with a few modifications… “EAT (lots of veggies), DRINK (lots of water), & BE MERRY (while being active) for tomorrow we may die.” All joking aside, keeping life simple and living in the present moment are two very handy keys to living a life of freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve disappointingly built our lives around. A real kind of freedom. I dare you to imagine how much time you would have to savor life if you weren’t constantly tripping over all your kid’s things while trying to organize and clean your things at the same time you’re worrying about paying all the bills for everyone’s things! Kinda makes you wonder why you have so many things in the first place, huh?
You’ve heard the expression, “keeping up with the Joneses.” I feel this concept has spiraled so out of control that keeping up with them simply isn’t good enough anymore. It has infiltrated society to a point where our days are now dedicated to trying to “one up” each other instead. Whatever Mr. Jones has, mine has to be bigger and better. Remember the days when children could happily occupy themselves for hours just playing outside? These days, it’s normal for small children to be given fancy electronic devices as a means for keeping them occupied. While I realize that times change, adaptation is necessary and electronics are now a permanent part of life, I’m just saying that maybe we should be more conscious of the example we are setting for up and coming generations. Maybe by getting back to the basics, we can curtail their need to “keep up with the Joneses.”
In the beginning, it was determined that all we need to survive is food, water, and shelter. Someone re-wrote the rule book somewhere along the way because now we need:
- a big house with a she-shed and a pool
- a car (or 2) for every driver in the house
- a boat
- 27 credit cards
- a high-stress job with a 6 figure income
- designer clothes and accessories (the more it costs, the better)
- a cosmic sized smart tv in every room of the house
- the latest I-Phone on the day it’s released
- enough food in the pantry to last a lifetime
And this is just the cliff notes. A wise person once said, “extravagance is often a picture of an unsatisfied life.” Hmmm… What are we trying to mask with all of our stuff? Or are we trying to curb boredom since we are not accustomed to just BEING?
When was the last time you tasted your food? I mean REALLY tasted your food? Smelled the smells, paced your bites, savored the unique flavors and was truly thankful to be eating something that nourished your body? Most of us run through drive-throughs, buy over-priced so called “food,” then shovel it in while we’re racing down the interstate angry at the driver in the next lane who is a just a little bit more aggressive than we are. The truth is that the very Earth we live on can provide us with the absolute healthiest of foods. But we’re too busy with our stuff that we don’t take the time to plant, water, nurture, and harvest. And when was the last time you turned off your tv and took a nature walk, without your phone? Had a picnic with your child and discussed the meaning of life? I’ll wait. I’m not judging though, because I’m guilty, too.
By now you’re saying, “I get it! We have too much stuff, we’re always in a hurry and don’t appreciate life the way we should, blah, blah, blah…” But do you get it? We’re killing ourselves in a race we weren’t designed to run. I’m not telling you to get rid of everything, go live off the grid, grow some dreadlocks, and eat only what you harvest in your own personal garden. But there’s a lot to be said for getting rid of costly unnecessary items that clutter your house, not replacing them with other costly unnecessary items, getting back to nature, hitting up the produce section once in a while, and choosing a book over Netflix. It’s not rocket science that having fewer things to worry about/fewer distractions will cause you less stress, free up time to do things that are meaningful to you and allow you to figure out what really matters to you in the first place. You might even decide that you want to start a garden!
In review, here’s a list of side effects that come from living simply:
- More financial freedom– Having less stuff saves you money because you’re not wasting it on frivolous items and allows you to live in a smaller dwelling which will undoubtedly put your finances on more stable footing.
- More peace of mind– Living a simple lifestyle allows you to see the reality of your situation more easily. Your mind is less stressed because it has less to worry about. It is easier to make wise decisions you feel good about when you know your principles in life.
- Better health– By focusing on what’s most important, your stress levels will be lower, and your health will benefit. Stress can affect your mood, blood pressure, and mental health, just to name a few. People who live simply tend to focus on their health more and watch carefully what they put inside their bodies. They care about the future enough that they do not want to abuse it in the present.
- More meaningful relationships– It’s easier to focus on the other person when your life is simple. The interaction tends to be more sincere since you’re free of the need to impress him/her. You can also be more conscientious of the people you invite into your life.
- More self–awareness– When you’re not distracting yourself with your iPhone and other electrical gadgets and stressed about becoming a CEO before the age of 40, you have the time and mental space to learn more about yourself. You have time to reflect and be grateful for what you already have.
- More free time– How will you spend all the extra time you’ll enjoy as a benefit of living a simple life? This is one of the greatest benefits of simple living. It can be hard to learn to relax when you’re used to running around trying to get everything done. But free time is a gift that only a lucky few of us truly get to appreciate.
- Freedom– As mentioned earlier, freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from overwhelm, freedom from guilt, freedom from depression as well as freedom from unnecessary financial burden, freedom to come and go as you wish due to less obligation, and freedom to experience life.
Now that you’ve been warned, what are you waiting for? Start Project #declutter and go find some roses to smell! In all seriousness, I invite you to a 28 day/4 week Decluttering Challenge. Choose one room each week and do some purging every day. For example, week one can be your bathroom. Get rid of samples and products you never use (makeup, hair products, nail polish, etc.), expired beauty products, duplicate items, broken styling products (blow dryers, hair straighteners, etc.), dirty things that have worn out their welcome (old makeup brushes, foundation sponges, etc.), and old toothbrushes, towels and wash cloths. You get the idea. Then week two can be designated for your kitchen, and so on. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
“Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.”
-simplelionheartlife.com (minimalist lifestyle)
-moneyunder30.com (minimalist living)
-medium.com (real life resilience/the beauty of simplicity)
-thriveglobal.com (human beings, not human doings)