9 Simple Ways to Do Less and Be More

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"Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest." Leo Babauta

You don't have to move to Tibet to live a simple life.

Or become a monk and don an orange robe.

nine_simple_ways_to_do_less_and_be_moreSociety leads you to believe that you have only two choices "“ live like Thic Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk, or like you're living the life of a leading reality television personality.

You can either have peace of mind or you can spend your every waking minute climbing the corporate ladder.

Live like Gandhi or Donald Trump.

You don't have to live at either extreme.

You can slow it down and live it up.

You can simplify and live rich.

Yes, there is a middle way!

A simpler life, one with more space and less noise, is actually filled with unlimited joy and abundance.

And who am I? Oh, just someone who was living without much purpose but always on the go: acquiring, advancing, building, and trying to get ahead.

Until life forced me to step back and re-evaluate my priorities. After finding myself in a soul-crushing well-paying career and a heart-breaking divorce, I started to question why I was doing what I was doing.

If you're feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied by the life that you're living, let me suggest these 9 ways to help you simplify, slow down, and become more connected to your life.

Here are 9 ways to simplify your life but expand your experiences. To do less but be more.

1) End your war with things.

You don't have to give away all your material possessions and drape yourself with a white Gandhi-esque loincloth.

However, you can end your war with material possessions. Are you mindlessly buying things without knowing why? Do you salivate at every sale that comes your way? Do you fill your closets with suits and shoes that you wear only once?

When your life is preoccupied with mindless shopping and the acquisition of things, you can lose your inner balance and sense of purpose. The stuff can become suffocating and take up your mental and emotional space.

Chose to live a less materialistic life. Question your purchases. Ask if you really need it.

If you haven't used something for six months, give it away. Call a local charity and donate all the stuff in your house for which you have no need.

Become more aware of the things on which you're spending your money. Set up an automatic savings plan so that you save some money every month. Budget. Focus on reducing your debt and paying off credit cards.

2) Live more deliberately.

Think about why you're doing what you're doing. What do you really want out of life? Stop living on auto-pilot and doing what all your neighbors are doing.

Getting promotions and moving up in your career to earn more money is only one way to live your life. You can earn so much more money by simplifying your life and not spending frivolously.

You can be exorbitantly wealthy by doing what's important to you in life and what matters.

Forget about real estate. Find the space that brings you unlimited joy and inner happiness.

Don't go with the flow when it comes to following the crowd.

What do you really want? If you don't know, make time to sit with your thoughts and listen to your intuition.

3) Let go of soul-crushing work.

A recent poll by Gallup shows that 87 percent of employees worldwide are actively disengaged and unhappy with their jobs.

You don't have to quit your job overnight, but you do have to ask yourself if you can see yourself doing this kind of work for the rest of your life.

You don't have to start with the question of money and limitations. Don't ask what you have to give up in order to do work that's more in line with who you are.

Start with figuring out how to make a difference, how to do more meaningful work and what makes you happy at your current job.

Begin the journey to more authentic living by questioning your purpose.   Give yourself space so that your dreams can manifest in your life.

Once you have a clearer idea of what you really want, make plans on how to get there.

4) Let go of emotions that weigh you down.

Emotional baggage can take up space in your life. The path to emotional healing starts with your desire to come to terms with the emotions that occupy your life.

Use journaling, counseling, therapy, friendship sessions, or whatever works for you to help you acknowledge and come to terms with the heavy emotional weight that you're carrying around.

The path to healing requires that you acknowledge your emotions and take responsibility for them.

It also requires that you forgive and let go of lifelong grudges.

It may require that you focus your attention on today instead of allowing past pain and disappointments to govern your life.

Choosing to come to terms with your emotional burdens will help you open up more space and give you more breathing room in your life.

5) Stop over-booking your life.

Once you know and acknowledge what's important in your life, you will find it easier to prioritize and say "no."

It will become easier to reduce your social commitments and energy-draining activities.

While you care about many things in this world, protect your time and your energy by graciously declining invitations. No, you won't be popular, but you will live a satisfying life.

If you have experienced activities or people that drain you emotionally, be more aware of them so that you'll stay away the next time around.

6) End relationships that no longer serve you.

Forgive those you can. Strive to be your greatest and most noble self, especially when it comes to family and other relationships that you can't avoid.

See the person and situation differently by practicing compassion and empathy.

When you have no alternatives, you must part ways with people who are negative influences on your life.

You can't create freedom and space in your life if you're around individuals who are putting you down, bullying you, criticizing you, or making you feel terrible about yourself.

Be willing to let go of negative people who soak up your time and energy.

7) Stay away from criticism, judgment, gossip, and rumors.

While some people take up much of your energy and time, so do gossip, rumors, and talking about others.

Be mindful of your own habits when criticizing and judging others.

Instead of being preoccupied with our own lives and our own development, our minds try to make us feel better about ourselves by helping us feel superior to others. Our minds (spurred by our egos) do this via judgment and criticism.

If you're inspired by gossip and rumors, become aware of those habits. Stay away from those people in your life who delight in being critical and judgmental about others.

Engaging in critical and judgmental behavior creates negative energy and takes up too much unnecessary space in your life. By reducing these types of activities, you'll experience more peace and live with ease.

8) Create space for downtime.

You don't have to book every minute of your day.

Leave space for downtime. If you're uncomfortable with downtime, think of this time as necessary for your relaxation and growth.

Do the things that help you relax. Exercise. Read. Take your mind off work.

Spend time on self-reflection. Take a walk during your lunch hour.

Write. Create. Draw. Paint. Take photos. Cook. Find what helps you relax and do a little bit of this every day.

Meditate. Eat mindfully. Catch a yoga lesson. Create time to connect with yourself.

9) Stay true to your own life.

Stop watching reality television! Reality television is not how most people live their lives "“ it's entertainment that usually reminds you of what you're lacking in your own life.

Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have their purpose. They can keep you updated about what's happening with the people about whom you care. However, they are the highlight reels of most people's lives. You don't see the downsides and the struggles that people are having.
Don't live your life according to how others are living theirs on social media.

Also, stop the incessant comparisons you might feel compelled to make with your social circle. Don't be inspired by someone else's house, car, career, or salary.

How about being inspired by someone's character instead?

Comparing yourself with others is a great way to feel terrible about your life. Substitute gratitude for comparison.

Don't ask yourself what your friends have that you don't. Ask yourself what you are thankful for in your own life.

Simplify. Let go and reduce your commitments in your everyday life. Fill that space with whatever brings you more contentment.

Live more deliberately and intentionally so that you can enjoy life to its fullest.

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About the author


Vishnu Subramaniam is the writer behind the popular self-help blog where he writes about starting over in life. For Vishnu's latest book, Does True Love Exist: 15 Simple Ideas for Finding Your Life Partner, click here.