woman feeling happiness
Personal Development

Experiencing Happiness With Less – A True Story

There’s not much going on in my life right now – and I love it.

I’m pleased to admit that my life is pretty simple, and not just because I currently don’t have a job. I write and ‘blog’ in the mornings, I search for employment in the afternoons and I network and spend time with my husband and good friends in the evenings. I don’t do much more, and I’m glad that it’s this way.

I’m glad because I can taste a kind of ‘Zen’ simplicity in my life, and I want to keep tasting it.

Everyone wants to experience this simplicity in their lives, to eliminate the headaches that they constantly suffer from, and to try and find some sort of answer to the chronic problem that is their day-to-day life. They feel overwhelmed and stressed, and some even fear life itself like it’s a monster that’s out of control.

But I believe that anyone can experience a level of simplicity in their life. I say this with conviction, because I’ve now reached a level of simplicity.

Sure, I could find a new line of work, and then have to fit that in alongside everything else, but that’s OK. I’ll accommodate by removing that which is no longer important, and reorganize my life to experience that ‘Zen-like’ quality again.

And I believe that anyone can do this, no matter how chaotic their life has become.

Want to know how I reached my happiness?

How I Did It

Simple is beautiful

The first thing I did was to try and cut out the aspects of my life that were no longer working for me. For this, I took on an approach that covered different angles, but the target was to cut out what is known as ‘clutter’.

I removed emotional clutter by working through some of my deeper memories, helping myself come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer a young child, and what happened back then was not my fault. In other words, I learned to discard the old beliefs that were ‘cramping my style’, and this then served to give me room to breathe. At times, I felt like a new person.

I then removed social clutter by going through a ‘friend cull’ on Facebook and Twitter (for the uninitiated, this means deleting friends and followers that no longer keep in touch with you), and only going out with friends who I deeply consider as friends.

To test this, I visualized each friend in my head, and experienced how I felt with each one. If I didn’t feel good when thinking of them, then I knew it was time to let that friendship go. If I felt good in any way, then I made a point to keep that relationship, and get in touch with them again. Using this way, I ‘removed’ about 50% of my relationships.

Read also: 10 Things I Learned When I Gave Up Facebook

Then, it was time to remove digital clutter. I managed this by cleaning out my two e-mail accounts, so only the vital e-mails remained – if anything was no longer of use, I hit the ‘delete’ button. I also cleaned out my memory sticks using the same procedure, as well as my bookmarks and ‘blogs to read’. If I no longer got value from a blog, or that blog had since fallen inactive, then off it went.

Finally, I went to work on the physical aspect of clutter, and this was the most remarkable change for me. I’ll explain it in more detail here.

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. – Thomas Jefferson

Operation ‘Simplify’

In my room, I used to have a lot of junk. I had many CDs, DVDs, books that no longer portrayed the kind of person I was, and all manner of board games, trinkets, clothes, video-games and everything else under the sun. Consider I have a fairly small room, and you can imagine how cramped it might feel.

One day, after starting my ‘simple mission’, I decided to go to town on my room, and start cleaning it out bit by bit, until I was satisfied with what my room looked like and resembled. Whilst I haven’t hit my ultimate target just yet, I’ve come a long way in getting there.

Some of the actions I’ve taken are:

–          Removing all my CDs. And I mean all of them

–          Halving my DVD collection

–          Keeping only the books that mean something to me

–          Throwing out or selling the assorted mixture of clutter that was gathering up in my room

The action I took was to either sell something or throw it out. Notice the word “sell” in there. I did this online, through eBay and Amazon, and I didn’t just sell a few things here and there – I managed to sell the majority of my CD collection, some DVDs, a few books, and even an old Guitar Hero game!

Read also: 9 Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Live Minimally

It then became apparent that I was experiencing a ‘dual benefit’ – I could simplify my room, whilst making money out of it. I felt good financially and spiritually, and this combined made me feel great.

If this isn’t an incentive for you to do the same and start simplifying your personal space, then I don’t know what is.

The Toys Don’t Matter Much

You may have asked by this point, why go through such a large operation? Why not enjoy the things you’ve bought over the years? Doesn’t that mean that you’ve wasted all that money spending in the first place?

Well, this is where the philosophy of simple living comes in – a simple life is a happy life. By gathering more and more in our lives, we then have more and more to think about. We keep looking at our DVD collections, despite never watching any of them again. We look at our 400 e-mails, wondering where that e-mail about our bank account has got to. We have all this, yet our lives aren’t better for it. In fact, they’re worse.

Here’s where the mantra comes in, “The toys don’t matter much”. All that we gather in our lives are toys. They’re trinkets to keep us amused for a little while before we move onto the next trinket. Yet we keep hold of each toy because we might use them again, even though the chances of that happening are very slim. And so we gather toy after toy, until our homes to fit to burst.

Read also: 10 Ways Consumerism Hurts Us

Then there are the more expensive toys such as flash cars, big houses, swimming pools, and memberships to elite clubs. They require us to work an extra 10 hours a week just to keep up with the payments! Yet if you don’t use that swimming pool, if you only drive that flash car to work every day, and if you only visit that club once a month, is it really worth keeping it?

Or, is it worth getting rid of it and utilizing the dual benefit of being better off financially and better off spiritually? Think about it.

You Already Have Everything At Your Disposal

This is the big thing that I’ve discovered about life – we already have everything we need. If we want entertainment, why not go for a walk and people-watch? If we want a deep conversation, why not open up to a loved one? If we want nourishment from our food, why not visit your nearest market and pick up local produce, often for cheaper prices?

Too often we look outside of ourselves for our needs and wants, usually at something we don’t currently have. We want the latest fashion or trend so much that we convince ourselves that we actually need it, yet this is far from the truth. We don’t need anything that’s a trend, or a passing blip on the modern scene.

Read also: Non Food Items That We Let Go To Waste?

The only things we really need, such as respect, love, attention and care, are timeless. They can also be found inside you, and in many places that are free.

I would reckon there’s a lot you can do to simplify your life, some of it you can do as soon as you’ve finished reading. I also reckon, by doing some simplifying and removing clutter, you can experience that dual benefit for yourself.

So if you want a happier life, get simple. Enough said.

AboutNatalie

Natalie’s love of gardening began with her love of cooking. What started as a few potted herbs to add some spice to her culinary creations on her porch in Seattle has turned into a mild obsession with her backyard and all things that grow (well mainly things that grow fruits or veggies).

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