“All of us yearn for a simpler life in which we can be more present,” says Mary Pipher, clinical psychologist and best-selling author. Here are a few ways to help do that.
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 are the essentials that matter 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.
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.”
To achieve a simpler life, you must simplify your time—by cutting back on activities and multitasking in order to carve out time for more moments.
Simplify your family life.
Unplug and spend a weekend living the way people did in the past. Turn off all your machines—no TV, computers, or phones. Read books. Play cards and board games. Sit and visit. Cook. Take walks. You don’t need to go away to a cabin in the woods to create an old-fashioned weekend (although that would be nice!). Protect time with the people you love. By simply turning off technology for a weekend, you can reconnect with one another.
Slow down and be present.
By simply slowing down, it’s possible to orchestrate meaningful moments and to be present in those moments. When families slow down, turn off their devices, and talk to each other, wonderful things happen. Children become calmer, more peaceful. And families have more good moments. Practise slowing down.
Give yourself the gift of quiet time.
Create a “calmness space” in your home. Set aside a specific room, corner, or chair in your home where you (or anyone in your family) can go when stressed or upset, or just to calm down and be left alone. When someone goes to the calmness space, it lets others in the family know to they need some alone time.
You can also give yourself the gift of quiet time by meditating or engaging in yoga or mindfulness practices; by visiting a museum and experiencing art; or by spending time in nature.