If it’s true that our new economic reality is here for a while, what can we do to cope?
How about simplifying and living within your means to reduce financial stress now and to enable living more wisely in the future?
It’s fortunate that the best things in life are very simple – and free: love, motivating work, enjoying nature. Yet most of us are chained to making a certain income to support a cluttered lifestyle, the opposite of simplicity. At the other extreme are some younger people who are promoting a lifestyle where you only possess 100 things. If you have three pair of jeans that counts for three! That’s too stark for me but the sentiment is appreciated.
A good place to start figuring out where you could simplify is to listen to your inner wisdom. But do you listen and act on its authentic advice? To hear it you must slow down. You could:
* Begin your morning routine more slowly. Get up a few minutes earlier, brush your teeth more slowly, eat slowly, and drive more slowly.
* Daily connect with nature with a conscious walk; not just a mechanical one, but one where you focus on the birds, the squirrels and the emerging morning light. At minimum before getting into your car deep breathe the fresh air and appreciate our gorgeous, emerging fall weather.
* Surround yourself with beauty. I don’t mean buy stuff that becomes clutter but rather make your surroundings more attractive with flowers, photos, meaningful mementos, candles and fresh air.
* Seek and enjoy silence daily, the opposite of the cacophony of daily noises: the alarming alarm that shocks you awake, the offensive hair dryer, the endless drone of depressing TV news, the ubiquitous office clamor. All day we’re surrounded by so much noise that it becomes part of the backdrop of life — until it totally stops — leaving the sweet sound of silence.
Don’t underestimate the stress of this incessant noise. To hear your inner voice above it you must regularly stop the noise and create silence for yourself through deep relaxation, sitting in silence with no TV or music, sitting comfortably in nature listening to its peaceful and natural sounds.
With practice, you’ll slow down allowing your intuition to surface. Keep a journal nearby to record your thoughts. You don’t need to act on any ideas but at least get them onto paper and into your conscious mind.
To attract your intuition to surface ask and answer questions:
§ What energizes/drains me the most? Why?
§ What part of my life is/isn’t working? Why?
§ What could I do to make life easier?
Be patient. It may take awhile for your answers to surface.
Americans have bought tons of stuff and discovered it doesn’t make us happier. In fact, the more stuff you have the more you want. Simplifying your life clears out the clutter so the clarity of what you really need shines through.
-Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple.