A peaceful life is a happy life, right? So does that mean all I need to do is to find the secret to being happy? Let’s think about that for a bit.
If I want to be happy, I’ll just buy something new
Many people feel like you can buy your way to happy. Well let me tell you – Americans have more than just about any other society in the world, yet we are far from the happiest country, based on surveys.
So it goes without saying that owning a lot of stuff isn’t the key to happiness. In fact, most of us would be way happier with less. Since we’ve been programmed to believe that we need to continuously upgrade our lifestyle we better work on changing that belief. Until you do, it will be challenging to find the happiness you seek.
How can I be happier with less?
It goes against what we see on television, what we hear on the radio, and what we experience on social media. But, please just take a moment to consider:
Has buying something ever made you happier? Think of all the things you’ve really wanted and ultimately acquired. You just knew you had to have it! You showed it off to your friends, you took a selfie with it. It was a great moment! In the end, though, after the initial thrill was gone after you purchased the item, were you any happier?
You can’t buy your way to happiness. In fact, accumulating stuff tends to create stress. More stress means less peace.
So how can I overcome that stress?
Start by getting rid of the things you don’t need. A great first step is to sell, give away, or throw out the stuff you don’t need. Pick a room and be honest with yourself. Take some before and after photos. It might be hard at first to let go of the lava lamp you used six years ago for that seventies’ party, but you’ll feel so much better once you have the free space again.
If you just can’t get rid of it, do what we used to do in the industrial world. We would tag and date excess inventory, tools, or things that weren’t being used. Then we would put those tagged items in a designated area. At the end of each month, we would review the tags and get rid of anything that was six months old. You could determine how long to keep it, but set the time limit and be firm. If you haven’t used it, you probably won’t miss it.
If you sill have trouble letting go, take a photo and save the photo. It was probably sentimental in value, You will have the photo as long as you like, and it will take up a whole lot less space. Fie it away with the before and after photos so you have the reminder, and can admire your results.
How is this going to make my life more peaceful?
Less stuff means more free time. When you own fewer things, you have more free time to use as you please. Less stuff means less maintaining, less moving, less dusting, less cleaning – and who doesn’t want that?
You no longer have to move the stuff in the garage around just to get to your mower. It’s a clear path, and the time you spend on routine yard work goes down.
You finally have enough room in your dresser or closet, you no longer have to move everything out of the way and insist you “have nothing to wear.” You can easily find that perfect outfit because it’s visible. The benefits continue. Less stress means more peace.
Don’t fall for their trap
Understand the motivation of marketers and media. Television, movies, radio, and many websites primarily exist to make money. Every ad you see is an attempt to get you to buy something. There’s nothing wrong with that if it is something you genuinely need. The primary motive of the marketers is to convince you that you need what they are selling, even if you don’t.
If you don’t need it, then don’t buy it. Understanding this will allow you to be happier with less.
Is the simple life really the magic formula?
If you are in the mind that you can acquire happiness through things, the desire for more is never-ending. You might think you’ll finally be satisfied with a 3,000 square-foot home, but you’ll eventually want a bigger one. Owning a pool might be your dream, but once that urge is satisfied, a new desire will take its place. There will always be one more thing – always.
How much do you own? How much of your time taking care of it all is currently spoken for? Do you believe that having even more will bring you greater happiness?
Still wondering if the simple life will lead to a more peaceful life? Give yourself a chance to experience the simple life and judge for yourself!
So that’s all there is to it – super simple
It may seem overwhelming, but just take baby steps until you are more comfortable. Start by removing the unneeded items from one room and get them out of your house. Ensure that you’re using your free time wisely. Schedule some of that free time to sort and clean out the clutter. Do a little every day and then evaluate your progress after a month or two. Do you feel better or worse? I bet I already know your answer.
If you’ve climbed the ladder of success, acquired the things thought you had to have, and still feel like something is missing, I challenge you to try living with less in your life!
Find your purpose – find your joy!