Life can seem incredibly complicated sometimes, can’t it? No matter which way you turn it seems like there are a thousand different distractions trying to seize your attention, and thousands of different information streams all giving you a different idea of what you should be doing with your time.
In such a hectic environment, learning to simplify things and just relax can be one of the greatest of all skillsets to pick up.
So here are a few tips for getting started.
Track your finances
Having receipts strewn about your home, bills piling up, and a vague anxiety about how much money you should be spending or saving each week, is definitely not the way to find peace and happiness. It is, however, an all too common reality for many people today.
One of the first steps in simplifying your life is getting a basic handle on your finances, and putting a simple system in place to help organise them without making your head explode.
This can be as simple as using a budgeting tool like YNAB to plan what to do with your income, and keeping a folder where you store the pay stubs from your job for future reference.
Physical clutter and consumerist attitudes are probably some of the leading causes of stress and misery in the modern world. You’ve probably already noticed that when you’re in a neat, tidy space, things just seem more in control and positive than when you’re surrounded by random piles of mess.
The same principle applies to the number of things you own. If you find you’ve got an endless amount of belongings crowding up every space in the house, and realise with horror that you keep adding more to the pile for no real reason, you should consider trying out minimalism.
Don’t worry; there’s no need to get rid of your beloved family heirlooms. The formula to follow is simple; for each belonging, ask yourself “is this really useful to me?” and “does it bring me joy in some way?”
If the answer to both questions is “no”, bin it.
Decluttering your mind is at least as important as decluttering your house, and meditation is the way to achieve that.
If your idea of meditation is an ancient monk in some mountain stronghold sitting cross-legged and chanting, you’re only partly right. There are many different ways to meditate, from the more traditional forms to modern, recorded guided meditations which do most of the work for you.
In any case, a serious meditation practice will help you get some distance from your thoughts, which creates a sense of spaciousness and calm in the mind.
Apps and services such as Headspace.com can help guide you through the journey in a controlled way, and you only need to commit as little as 10 minutes a day to begin enjoying the benefits.
Spend less time surfing the web
A lot of the information overload we’re constantly hit with today comes from the ever-present internet. While it’s essential for most of us for work, social-planning, banking, and almost everything else, it can still be a great idea to take a break now and then.
A brilliant place to start is by shutting your computer down and putting your phone away an hour or two before bed, and using that time to get some quiet reading done.