Simplify Your Life
How More is Making You Miserable
Dr. Kristin Keough
Is more making you miserable? We are surrounded by more technology, more responsibilities and pressured to be more. This “more” is stressing us out and affecting our ability to use our emotional intelligence and be genuinely happy. There is help however, and it comes from the concepts of Minimalism and Essentialism. These innovative ways of living can help us find balance and improve our lives.
Do you often feel like you are running on a hamster wheel? You are trying to get everything done but there is always more to do. You find yourself not having enough time, feeling exhausted and completely overwhelmed by your responsibilities. You think you don’t have enough or that you aren’t good enough. You feel you need “more” to make you happy but even when you get “more” you are still suffering.
Society has told us that to be happy we need more things, need to do more activities, engage in more media, be more attractive and have more money. They have projected the distorted belief that if we have the perfect clothes or shoes, post the most on Facebook and have the most Likes, drive the best cars and are beautiful from head to toe, then we will be better than others and be content with our lives. We are bombarded by media ads telling us what we should do or have and how to live our lives. This constant goal of trying to live up to these societal expectations has created more stress, overwhelmed us, contributed to health problems and lowered self-esteem. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t keep up.
There is a way to challenge these concepts of more and help us determine what is truly important to each of us. Essentialism and Minimalism teach how to bring “less” into our lives. It’s a reassessment of what is important to each person and selecting only the essentials—the essential things we have in our homes and the essential activities, responsibilities and roles we serve. It’s decluttering our house, our mind and our lifestyle. It’s getting rid of things we don’t need, learning to say no and setting boundaries in our personal and professional lives. It’s disconnecting from all the distractions that don’t add value to our day, especially those that make us feel worse; and accepting that less is okay.
So how do we simplify? As author Charles Bukowski states, “The less I needed, the better I felt.” Time to let go of things you no longer need, to lose the things that need to be lost. Donate old clothes or household goods to organizations that will give those things to people who need them. You may find getting rid of things you no longer use alleviates the guilt of not using them or frees you from the obligation that “I will get to that one day.”
Say no to extra responsibilities, roles or even friends who don’t add value to your life and make you feel drained. Monitor media time which is often a distraction and can actually make you feel worse because you may unfavorably compare yourself to others. Ask yourself, is this a want or a need, and if it’s a want maybe it’s waiting to fulfill that want because your interest in it may change. Set aside one hour every day to process and check in with yourself. This decompression “me time” will help you figure out what you really need and give you the space to determine what is most important.
Recognize that more of one thing can mean less of something else. Trying to get more money could mean more working, which leads to less family and self-care time. Accept that by letting go of some things you may have less; and that is okay. Make a plan of what you want to reduce in your life, determine what is most important for your own true happiness and start taking steps to make those changes.
You may also want to consider seeing a psychologist or life coach for help in assessing what is most important to you and letting go of things that are no longer serving. Self-help books may help educate and prompt further action. It’s up to you to decide the most important things to have and focus on in your life. Now is the time to start, and become the architect of your destiny.
Dr. Kristin Keough is a licensed clinical psychologist, life coach, hypnotherapist, accelerated resolution therapy clinician and membership chair for the Society of Emotional Intelligence. To learn more about the services she offers, visit TransformationalGrowth.net. See ad left.
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