The Simple Life (Part Three)

“Only in quiet water do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is there an adequate perception of the world” ~ Hans Margolius

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Demanding jobs, endless to-do lists, media over load, personal dramas, and so on, can really make people crazy – literally!

Now that we’ve simplified our diets and decluttered our living spaces, it’s time to address one of the most often overlooked factors for enjoying “the simple life” – our head space!

It’s not uncommon for people to live their lives on auto-pilot, giving very little thought to what’s going on upstairs in their noggin! When we clear our minds of incessant thinking, worrying, and other emotional stressors, we naturally allow space for new creativity and inspiration to emerge. Sound good? Onward we march!

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3. Find your Inner Calm

Here are a few simple tried-and-true tips that can go a long way in helping to reclaim your mind (and spirit)!

Make your mornings sacred. It’s helpful having certain rituals first thing in the morning that enable us to start the day off with a clear head. It’s not uncommon for people to go straight from their beds to their desks for eight hours; not to mention the morning commute which can leave people feeling frazzled before they even start their work day!

Commencing your day with a clear mind will allow you to find focus, make clearer decisions and increase your productivity.This could be as simple as throwing down a mat in your living space and doing some simple stretches, deep breathing or a guided mediation. You might even try doing a morning yoga routine. A great resource that I recently discovered is yogatoday.com. They offer a free weekly class that you can do from the comfort of your own home right from your computer. No studio membership or DVD required! All you have to do is sign-up (create a username) and then you’ll have access to the free class. The free class remains posted for a week so this means you can access it every day for a week until they post a new one!

Another great morning ritual is lacing up your sneakers and getting outside in the fresh air for an energizing walk. It doesn’t have to be a long walk per se, even a stroll around the block will do. Alternatively if you live relatively close to your work you might leave a little earlier and walk, avoiding the craziness of morning rush-hour! Now that summer is upon us in the northern hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to implement this morning ritual. It seems almost a sin NOT to get outside and enjoy a little bit of the sunny weather before going to an office all day!

Separate your workday from your evening meal. You know the feeling after a long and stressful day at work? You feel mentally drained and physically exhausted and perhaps you just want to come home and crash on the couch or self-medicate with food? It’s really important to unplug yourself from all the crazy energies you’ve been soaking up all day-long before you start mindlessly eating.

I’m mentioning this here because people usually find it easy to eat healthy during the day because they’re preoccupied with work, but when they return home all their best efforts are thrown out the window. For many, this is a natural time for emotional eating to rear its ugly head.

I suggest choosing one of the activities mentioned as per the morning ritual recommendations. If you didn’t get any form of physical activity in the morning this is a great time to fit it in. Again, it can be as simple as going for a brisk walk. Perhaps you walk home from work if that’s reasonable for you. Alternatively, you might decide to soak in the tub for 20 minutes and imagining all the negative energy go down the drain with the water!

When you’re ready to sit down for your evening meal you’ll be in a much better head space and more mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth. When you’re anxious or stressed you’ll be more inclined to overeat AND experience digestive upset!

Try a Media Fast. In this day and age we seldom give second thought to the pervasive influence of the media on our emotional state. Television, radio, magazines, newspapers, social media, etc, all fight for our mind space. Furthermore, being connected all day long is now a reality with the invention of the “smart phone”. We have the world at our fingertips! Whereas before for example, you may have checked your personal email once per day, now you are conveniently notified of every new message allowing you to access it the minute you receive it! This has many benefits of course but at the same time you become a slave to your phone – incessantly checking.

A media fast entails limiting exposure to all forms of media including television, internet, radio, newspapers, magazines, emailing, texting, etc, for a designated time period. It might be as short as a weekend or as long as a month. All areas aren’t a problem for everyone, so choose your poison! You don’t have to go cold-turkey either. If you’re one of those people who incessantly checks their email or Facebook account, try allotting 30 minutes in the morning or evening to catching up, engaging, etc. If you’re the type of person who comes home from work and watches television for the entire night, you might try limiting it to one hour.

The summer is a great time to try a media fast. Being outside is much more desirable as result of the beautiful weather and longer days. Go for a walk, play in the park, or connect with your friends in person!

Keep in mind, these are all simple tips that anybody can apply. You might implement one new change per week rather than trying everything all at once. For example, tomorrow you might wake up a little bit early and go for a walk, on the weekend you might ban yourself from the internet and television, and the following week you might come home from work and try the online yoga resource (mentioned above) followed by a soak in the tub before dinner!

It’s these modern times that require us to be extra vigilant if we want to experience any sense of peace or inner calm in our lives.

This brings us to the end of our three-part series. I hope you’ll join me in living the Simple Life!

Elaine

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