7 Invisible Benefits of Living Simply

The Inner Workings of Simplicity

When we think about living simply, we tend to focus on things we can see. We think about decluttering and donating. We celebrate clear countertops, empty book shelves, and organized computer desktops. While all of those things are important and worth celebrating, that’s just the surface of simplicity.

The best part isn’t always visible, and can seem a little vague until experienced. Once it’s evident though, it is nothing short of life-changing.

7 Invisible Benefits of Simplicity

1. Under-reacting
A simpler life allows for time to consider a response. When things are too busy, and complicated, we get lost in a reactionary lifestyle, say things we don’t mean, and blow things completely out of proportion. When we have time to reflect before responding, we can answer appropriately from a thoughtful place instead of a fight or flight mentality.

2. Self-care
When we reduce commitments and obligations, and eliminate common stressors like debt, crappy jobs, and hurtful relationships, we have time to take better care of our heart and soul. There is time for a nap or writing and being creative, and space for meditation or a simple gratitude practice.

3. Better health
Even without changing our diet or working out, simplicity can lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of disease. Stress can trigger migraines, colds and even auto-immune conditions. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, simplify for your best health.

4. More engaged relationships
It’s hard to really connect with anyone when we are hyper-connected to our computers and phones. Our minds are full enough, and then when we add layers of digital information, it’s easy to lose focus during a simple conversation. Unplugging gives us a calm platform to listen and engage.

5. Hope
After experiencing some of the benefits of simplicity, from enjoying a smaller living space, to growth in a savings account, we become more hopeful and open to new experiences and possibilities. A simple life is a hopeful life.

6. Massive freedom
When we aren’t tied to stuff, engaged in drama, overreacting, or feeling crappy, we have massive freedom. We make better decisions, and live lives we truly want. Instead of trying to live up to a standard that someone else set for us, we are free to be exactly who we are. That is massive freedom.

7. Benevolence
When we free up resources, need less to be happy, and have time to consider what matters most, we simply become more loving, caring, and giving.

These invisible benefits become completely tangible, and they are the secret behind being more with less. Just a taste of the inner workings of simplicity inspires us to go after even more simplicity. We naturally want less of the meaningless stuff and more of what really matters.


  1. says

    I love this post! You described it perfectly. These are the real reasons to move toward a simpler life, on an individual level and as a culture.

  2. says

    I’ve always been an odd duck in simple living circles because I started – and continue to operate from – the internal benefits. When I go looking for something to declutter, it’s my heart, mind, or spirit.

    Thanks for helping me be slightly less unconventional among the unconventional, Courtney. I particularly liked the new perspective on simple living being a force for under-reacting. In fact, I think that concept is powerful and novel enough that you’d be well-served (and we would too) if you wrote a whole post about it.

    • Tracey Martin says


      Well said! I am a huge believer that inner clutter begets outer clutter. Fix what’s inside, and the outside naturally follows. You are inspiring!


  3. JulieB/Julie Spahn says

    I know that since I’ve been freeing myself from “stuff” I’ve felt so much lighter, and I have been in a fight or flight mode much less. I Project 333 and have been working on it – imperfectly – for two years now. I really appreciate that blog and this one. I always feel so much more centered and affirmed in my goals after reading.

  4. says

    I love this post and can really relate to several – especially better health. I am turning 43 very soon and feel so much better than I did when I was 22, 25, 30, 35. I think your post The Most Powerful Source of Health and Wellness Information really elaborates on that point. I found it a great read and am so glad you linked to it above.

  5. Shara says

    I also think this whole post is brilliant and just sums up so well what simplicity is for me..its so many of the internal changes, more so than the external ones.I’m crafting a simple life from the inside out !!

  6. Tracey Martin says

    What a wonderful perspective! I agree with all the great comments thus far as well. I have noticed that when I start with a smaller amount of stuff, stress, etc., my life possibilities open wide like a funnel . Earlier in my life it was the opposite. I started with a wide funnel full of “stuff”, both physical and emotional, and my options and possibilities were narrow and restricted like the end of a funnel. I found this very enlightening :)

  7. says

    Massive freedom is my favorite. Selling our house and renting an apartment has simplified our life tremendously, and that gave us more freedom. This is especially true in terms of time. We now have a lot more time available to spend time enjoying life instead of just trudging through it.

  8. says

    I love this list! My favorites are under-reacting, engaged relationships and massive freedom. Simplicity has given me much needed focus and passion for the things I care most in life. Thanks Courtney!

  9. says

    As always, Courtney, you are so right. When simplifying or simply cleaning we can immediately see the visual appeal, but how many times do we also catch ourselves breathing deeper or simply smiling when coming into a room that is uncluttered. Same goes for everything else. We often don’t realize how much stress, physical or emotional, the clutter causes, and it can be any kind of clutter: too much stuff, too much noise, too much digital junk. I still have long ways to go in my being more with less path since I am the only one in the house that embraces simplicity, but I try to lead by example. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  10. Flor says

    WOW! the more I get to know you thru your writing, the more I realize how deep your are :)
    I am speechless with this post!

  11. Diane says

    Re your “most powerful source of health” link, that was interesting. Are you familiar with Drs Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard and John McDougall? And the DVD Forks Over Knives?