How do I practice a simple life?

Namo namaha.

Simple living. It’s a phrase you hear a lot about these days. Google the term and you will get a small number of pages on the topic, as I did here:

In Australia the term used is “Downshifting”, in Europe “Voluntary Simplicity ” or The “Slow Living Movement.”

But what is it exactly? Wikipedia defines it as “encompassing a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle.

It goes on further to say: “These may include, for example, reducing one’s possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they have rather than want. Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of simple living are ascetics. Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice.”

Webster’s dictionary has a much simpler definition: “to make less complex, complicated, make plainer, easier.”

Mazda defines it as:” paring down the essentials of life; what is important to you.”

So we can gleam from this that:

  • It’s a voluntary choice.
  • It’s about simplifying, making things less complicated.
  • Lifestyle is involved.
  • It involves more than just one practice.
  • Satisfaction seems to play a role.
  • It involves reducing possessions or increasing self-sufficiency.
  • Poverty is not the same thing.

Research into the simple movement suggests that 2/3 of people surveyed said:

  • Life is too busy. There is not enough time in the day.”
  • They desired a “simpler life”.
  • They are actively trying to simplify their lives.

Simplifying is in the current top 10 worldwide trends. In 2012, 200 million people worldwide were estimated to be involved in the movement.

But the resesrch into this area is still early and very limited. The main research at this point is (1) Alexander & Usher (2012) 2268=n sample size, (2) Pierce (2000) 211=n sample size, (3) Brown & Kasser (2005) 400= n sample, and (4) Boujbel & d’Aston (2012) 611=n sample size. This means that preliminary research is not vigorous enough.

Reasons to simplify

“Life gets too busy”

“I don’t have time “

These are common statements made by people who are time poor, stressed out and/or over worked. These are both valid reasons to want to simplify our lives. But there are a number of other reasons we need to simplify:

  • To help the environment.
  • To improve one’s health.
  • For self-reliance or self-sufficiency.
  • To de-clutter one’s living space.
  • For more time to oneself or with family.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to simplifying our lives. These include:

  • More leisure time which is spent on relationships.
  • Watching less TV.
  • Good low carb diet.
  • Deeper relationships.
  • Owning less material possessions.
  • Practicing mindfulness.

What areas of my life can I simplify?

There are five areas that we can change to lead a more simpler life. They are as follows:

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