When we think about the benefits of simplicity, we tend to focus on things we can see. We think about decluttering and donating. We declutter the wardrobe and different things in our homes. We celebrate clutter free 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 benefits of simplicity aren’t always visible but after less clutter comes less stress, fewer distractions, more free time and personal growth. These life changing benefits may start slowly but a simpler lifestyle often leads to a shift in how you think and a better way of life.
These benefits have changed my health, my relationships and my life.
1. You don’t overreact as much.
A simpler life gives us space and time to consider how we want to respond. When things are too busy, and complicated, we get lost in a reactionary lifestyle. We say things we don’t mean, and sometimes 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 quick choice of fight or flight. We might decide not to react at all. This is self-care at it’s best. Having the clarity to know that an under reaction might be the best next step keeps your stress levels lower and may bring you closer to the people you love.
2. There is more time to take care of you.
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 journaling and being creative, and space for meditation or a simple gratitude practice. Different people need different things to support their physical and mental health so consider what might work best for you. Better health always simplifies things. Maintaining quality time to take better care of yourself may feel like a luxury at first. As you experience the benefits, you’ll want to figure out whether minimalism or a more simplistic lifestyle will make even more room to take care of you.
3. You’ll feel better.
Even without changing our diet or working out, simplicity can lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of some 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.When I was diagnosed with MS, I learned how stress can negatively impact my condition. I wanted to live well with MS so in addition to working with a great medical team, I eliminated as much stress as I could. That included owning fewer possessions, less multitasking and overcommitting, more physical activities like walking and pilates. The way I eliminated most of the stress from my life was through simplicity. I share more about my health journey in Soulful Simplicity.
4. When you disconnect, you can reconnect.
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. If you want to get closer to the people you love, put your phone down and give them your attention. If you struggle, try a few of these 15 ways to spend less time on your phone.
5. Say goodbye to decision fatigue.
I didn’t realize how amazing it would be to make fewer decisions. With a small wardrobe, I don’t have to make a bunch of decisions about what I’m going to wear. Because I surround myself with my favorite things instead of every thing, I don’t have to make endless choices about taking care of my stuff or which coffee cup to use or other small, sometimes silly decisions. This helps me be more clear about more important choices.
6. Do less cleaning and organizing.
When it comes to benefits of simplicity, this one is underrated. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to spend my time cleaning and organizing my stuff. I understand the idea of being organized, and the benefit of having organizational systems and routines but I also see that most of these systems were just created to help us save everything and store more stuff and get more done so we can bask in the glow of our productivity. I don’t care about those things. One of the reasons we are so easily overwhelmed is because we have so much to deal with.
By turning your focus from organizing to living with less, you can create more margin so when bigger things happen they don’t completely upend your life. You need a buffer and some margin for the unexpected. Let’s face it, if organizing worked, you’d be organized by now. Owning less is gentler than cleaning and organizing more.
7. You can be more generous.
One of the best benefits of simplicity is that you can be more generous. Once I became clutter-free and debt free, I had more to give. When I cleaned up my calendar and began to streamline the way I spent my time, I had more of that to give too. I started simplifying my life for selfish reasons, because I wanted to be healthier and happier. It’s important to note that I had to put myself first before I could give more freely. The better I felt, the more I had to enjoy and to give.
These benefits of simplicity may not be visible in your living space but they are the secret to being more with less. Just a taste of simplicity inspires us to go after even more simplicity. We naturally want less of the meaningless stuff and more of what really matters.