In my last post I talked about how much focusing on experiences instead of things can help reduce stress and increase happiness. Today, I want to take that one step further and focus a little more on getting rid of things – both physical and mental. The idea is to find happiness in simplicity.
One of the reasons vacations are so relaxing is because we are away from most of our stuff and the responsibilities that come with it. You don’t have to worry about all sorts of projects and chores around the house and can just relax and enjoy the space you are in. You’re away from appointments, work, and being reachable. This allows you to focus on the people with you.
While we can’t replicate this feeling of vacation, what we can do is reduce the clutter in our lives and simplify things. This then allows us to focus on what’s important and what makes us happy. Here are some simple little ideas to help you start decluttering.
Decluttering Your Home
Let’s start with the simple stuff. There are tons of books, blog posts, articles and even TV shows about decluttering. While it isn’t easy, what it boils down to is to go through your home, one room or one area at a time and finding the things you no longer need or want. These can then be thrown out or given away. The idea is that in the end you are left with things you appreciate and a lot more clear space that’s more relaxing to live in and easier to keep clean and organized.
Decluttering Your Calendar
Next take a look at your calendar, or the activities and obligations in your life. Being busy makes us feel productive, but often the best use of our time is to cut out all the extra stuff that really isn’t necessary and doesn’t bring us joy. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless and even a little impolite at times. Feeling obligated shouldn’t be a good enough reason why you’re doing something. Get rid of it and then use the gained time to do things that help you relax, get ahead, and most importantly make you happy.
Decluttering Your Mind
Last but not least it’s time to declutter your brain. It’s amazing how much “junk” we let build up in there. We all have this running list of things we should do, ideas for future projects, what to cook, what to shop for etc. What we don’t realize is how much brain power that kind of thinking takes up. The best way to deal with it is to do a “brain dump”. Get out a piece of paper and start writing it all down. Everything you have in your head that you think you need to remember from the book you want to read next and what to cook for dinner tomorrow, to the meeting you need to schedule at work. Write it all down. Don’t judge, don’t edit, and don’t try to organize it. All of that can come later. For now write it down to get it out of your head.
When you’re done notice how much lighter and happier you feel with each area of your life decluttered. While it isn’t the easiest thing to do, it is well worth it and something you should try to do regularly.