Ways to simplify your life, slow down and be happy
Published by: LifeWorks,
Most of the world’s 3.4 billion workers are unwell. One in five people worldwide are suffering from mental health challenges and almost a quarter of adults are not physically active enough to prevent illness. One in three employees are distracted by finances at work, and, worldwide, only 13% of them are engaged in their jobs. In short, the majority of the workforce is suffering from one or more wellness issues at any one time, potentially leading to a long-term absence or high employee churn.
“All of us yearn for a simpler life in which we can be more present,”
Mary Pipher, therapist and best-selling author.
How to slow down, relax, and achieve a greater sense of happiness and peace in life – in and out of work.
- Be intentional in all you do – Simplifying your life and maintaining a sense of balance and calm is a challenge, says Dr Pipher. But it can be done. Set priorities and keep your deepest goals in mind as you make decisions about how you will spend your time, pursue your goals, and manage your expectations. What matters the most to you? Time with friends, family, people you love? Time for yourself? Time outdoors in nature? All of us are more likely to achieve simplicity if we keep our deepest goals in mind, says Dr Pipher.
- Redefining wealth – What makes your life truly rich? For you, wealth might be the number of times each week that you can sit down together as a family and share a meal. It might be the number of times you can visit with close friends. Dr Pipher suggests that as you think about your definition of wealth, have this as your goal: “More fun and less stuff.”
- Simplify your time – When talking about time, Dr Pipher makes the distinction between minutes and moments. Minutes are the time we spend rushing through our busy lives—working, multitasking, and getting things done. “Moments are the times in which we’re fully present, and we’re not aware of time at all,” says Dr Pipher. “One way to define wealth is the number of moments we experience in our lives.” Cut back on activities and multitasking to carve out time for more moments.
Make room for the important things in life:
- Block off time on your calendar to do nothing. Mark off a morning or a day on your calendar, in the not-too-distant future, to take time off to do nothing. Don’t make a plan. When you wake up that day ask yourself, “What do I want to do today?” That’s a harder question to answer than you might think, says Dr Pipher because we all have so many things we think we should be doing.
- Set limits to protect your time. Add an activity to your life, but remove another that takes up an equal amount of time. You can’t keep adding activities to your schedule if your goal is to achieve a simpler life.
- Make time for small, simple pleasures. Watching rain fall, playing with your cat, or quietly sitting and drinking a good cup of tea with someone you love — all of these things are profoundly calming and refreshing. Research shows that what adults remember from their childhoods with the greatest happiness are vacations, time outdoors, and family meals. Consider making those three things priorities in your family.
- Family life… unplugged – In our tech-driven, rushed, multitasking world, nothing is simple anymore. Even family holidays are more complicated – we have our smartphones, kids have theirs, and everyone’s tethered to earplugs and music. So, turn off all your machines—no TV, computers, or phones. Read books. Play cards and board games. Take walks. You don’t need to go away to a cabin in the woods to unplug. By just turning off technology and living in the present for a weekend, you can create this kind of quiet time.
- Create a “calmness space” at home. Set aside a specific room, corner, or chair where parents and children can go when they’re stressed or upset or when they need to calm down and want to be left alone. When someone goes to the calmness space, it lets others in the family know to leave that person alone so that he or she can calm down.
- Teach your children gratitude. Children cannot be happy unless they learn to feel gratitude. Talk about gratitude at home. Find opportunities to ask, “What do you feel grateful for today?” Ask children what they feel grateful for after a visit to their grandparents or a visit to the beach. You might also suggest that your children keep a gratitude journal that lists things they’re thankful for. And set a good example by letting them see you keeping one yourself.
- Slow down and be present in the moment. When families slow down, turn off their machines, and talk to each other, wonderful things happen. Children become calmer, more peaceful. And families have more good moments.
The Slow Down Manifesto
- Stop what you are doing and step out of the busy flow. Just be still for a minute.
- Take the time to look around and notice your surroundings. Look for one beautiful thing that you can focus on for the moment.
- Breathe. Be aware of your body.
- Be grateful. Look for one thing that you can feel thankful for at that moment.
- Give yourself the gift of quiet time. It’s more important than ever in these noisy, busy times to give ourselves the gift of quiet time.
- Start your day with quiet time. When you wake up in the morning, before you jump out of bed, give yourself one minute to feel your heartbeat, feel your pulse, feel the energy moving through your body.
- Give yourself the gift of quiet time by meditating. Practice yoga or mindfulness.
- Visit a museum and experience art.
- Have contact with animals and with the natural world.
- Appreciate silence. Teach your children that silence isn’t punishment, but an important gift with long-term benefits.