Simplify Your Life for Happiness

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Hot chocolate in mug with heart in foam

Today I was given an unexpected gift in the form of a day off work due to severe storms and a tornado watch in our area. We take our tornado watches pretty seriously here in the South after the devastation in Alabama and Georgia in April 2010 when a similar line of storms spawned a record number of tornadoes and resulted in a lot of devastation across our region. Granted, I’d probably be safer in the brick basement of our university library than here in our small, wood-framed ranch with no basement, but I do worry about the dogs being home alone in an emergency. Their grasp of the family emergency plan is a bit hazy.

I started my day with my usual cup of English Breakfast tea, reading, and yoga. My favorite morning ritual that gets me ready to face the world. I finished the last few chapters of Life is Good: The Book – How to Live With Purpose and Enjoy the Ride. In this book, the founders of Life is Good, Bert and John Jacobs, talk about how they live life with optimism according to ten superpowers, the most important tools for living a happy life. I decided to use this gift of time today to take superpower #10, Simplicity, and put it to work.

I’ve never read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (it’s on my list!), but most of us already know the wonderful feeling of contentment and satisfaction that comes from getting rid of our excess stuff (be it emotional or physical) and organizing our homes. As a society, we are becoming more aware of the joys of simple living. From the simple living magazine explosion to the capsule wardrobe craze to the tiny house movement, Americans are rediscovering the value of simple living, not only to our pocket books, but also to our emotional well-being. Simplifying can help us save money, reduce stress, be more mindful and present in the moment, and reconnect with the important relationships in our lives.

While I don’t claim to be anywhere close to someone who truly lives simply (I just discovered Talbots and I’m in real trouble!), I do understand the value in decluttering your space and getting rid of stuff you aren’t using anymore. It gives you a sense of calm, peace and order in a chaotic world. I’m feeling that sense of calm right now as I write this post. This morning I was able to take 2 garbage bags full of clothes, 7 purses, and a bag of various miscellaneous items (why do I have a set of hot rollers and 4 curling irons? I never curl my hair!) to our local battered women’s shelter charity thrift store. Not only do I get the calming benefits of having a neat closet and organized drawers, but also the wonderful feeling of happiness that you get when you help someone in need.

While I think it is wonderful that some people can truly get rid of most of their stuff and live a very simple existence, for some of us that is just not in the cards. However, most of us can do some simplifying and paring down in our lives. It’s time for spring cleaning, so challenge yourself to simplify as much as possible and reap the benefits.

What have you done lately to try and simplify your life? What benefits did you get from it? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Simplify Your Life for Happiness

  1. Dawn

    That’s awesome, Dana. So proud you were able to put the day to good use. And good for you for donating excess things that you no longer need. I’m constantly amazed at how many clothes and books and just things I collect. And I love the feeling of getting rid of the excess burden — although it doesn’t stop me from feeling like I need more things! Maybe I will get there some day. 🙂
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  2. Leo Tat

    Tidying up and reducing material baggage does work. Whenever I see my home messy and with so many surplus things around, I just can’t feel at peace; my mind feels cluttered too. We have a garage full of things that we should get rid of since we have not used them in years. We do clear things out to charity or sell them, but the main thing I am trying to do is to stop accumulating. It’s difficult though as we have two kids who we keep buying (including necessary) things for.
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