You’ve probably heard it said by a mentor, teacher, or friend, “Simple is Best!” or “Keep it Simple!”. But do you actually know why simple is best?
Across all areas of our lives, simplicity is usually the key to better focus, understanding, and clarity. In fact, there are very few situations where complexity truly enhances what we’re doing or trying to accomplish.
Whether that’s in a presentation at work, communicating with loved ones, tackling an at-home project, or just trying to set goals, the simpler way is usually the better way. In this list, we have 8 of the most compelling reasons why simple is best.
Why Living a Simple Life Is Better for our Happiness
Chances are there are things you want to get done, but you haven’t. For whatever reason. Whether that’s a looming to-do list item, a hobby you want to start, a new friend, or a person you want to get to know. You name it. And if we just had more time, more money, more, more, more, we’ve convinced ourselves that it would happen. But actually, the opposite is true. Studies show that simplified living can actually be the key to increased productivity and happiness.
Furthermore, part of what we believe about happiness is fundamentally tied to simplicity. Think about it. Anytime we’re on vacation or have a second to detach from our daily grind, we often feel lighter. We get a taste of clarity, stress-free, slow living. And yet, when we return to reality, those values start to fade away.
So, how do we start to embrace simplicity in our daily lives? As with anything, it’s a process to start eliminating the clutter in our everyday lives and resetting our priorities. But knowing some of the benefits of simple living can help us take the plunge to actually simplify.
8 Reasons Why Simple is Best - For All Aspects of Life
There are so many benefits to reducing the noise and clutter in our lives and embracing a more simple approach to living. For both our mental health and physical health, a simple life is a healthy life. Here’s why…
1 - Less brain fog and distractions
A popular psychology phrase is, “Stress begets stress.” And when we are surrounded by the noise of our to-do lists, checklists, appointments, meetings, and schedules 24/7, then our brains never get a break. In fact, when we have created an environment of constant stress in our lives, it is a hard cycle to stop. One of the reasons why simple is best is that we eliminate the distractions that cloud our minds and thoughts. The outcome is less brain fog and less stress.
When we embrace simplicity, we have more attention, focus, and mental bandwidth.
2 - Increased excitement and joy
In most areas of our lives, more time and more money seem like the solution to our problems. But what if you could have more excitement and joy if you eliminated things from your life? Believe it or not, with less focus on money, technology, social media, and the other elements that make our lives busy and distracted, we open up space to enjoy the things that bring us joy. By placing restrictions on some of these things that suck our energy and cause us stress, we can prioritize hobbies and relationships that are life-giving.
3 - More energy to do what you love
Similar to increased excitement and joy, another reason why simple living and less complicated routines are healthier than non-stop busyness is that we have more energy to do what we love. The KISS principle is one you’ve probably heard of - Keep It Simple Stupid. While it may make you laugh, there’s a lot of truth to it. The essence of what we want out of life should be our focus. Instead, often the peripheral details become our focus. Think about the energy you would have to devote to your greatest treasures and passions if you had a better work-life balance. That’s just one example of how simpler living could be a game-changer in your life.
Simple living allows more time for connections and relationships.
4 - Build relationships and connections
What’s the number one reason we tell our friends or family that we can’t do something? “I’m busy!” And yet our friends and our family are often the people we wish we had more time with. Part of the beauty of life is the relationships that enrich our experiences. And if we’re too busy with our daily routine, our work, our goals -- which can all be good things – then we can quickly lose sight of what’s most precious to us. This is part of why simple is best when it comes to how we spend our time. We have time to build stronger relationships and connections with loved ones. And we have enough time to find and invest in a community that’s meaningful to us.
5 - More Resources: Time and Money
This may seem counterintuitive, but hard work doesn’t necessarily equal making more money. In fact, there are times when our efforts, whether in our careers or our personal lives, start to see a diminishing return. In these cases, when our work is taking up more time and effort than it’s worth, it’s actually better to scale back and live more simply. A less cluttered schedule can actually yield more return on investment when it comes to our time and money.
More time do to the things you love and are passion about is another reason for why simple is best.
6 - Better focus
Another reason why we should embrace simplicity over complexity is for the sake of better focus. When we have less vying for attention, we can devote more time and attention to what’s important. This is ultimately what we need to narrow down what it means for us to live a meaningful life. As humans, we have to be able to focus on what’s important to us so that we can achieve success, in whatever way that looks for each of us.
7 - Easier decisions
There are times in life when we are faced with big decisions. These are times when we are often going back and forth between end scenarios and trying to figure out what is best for us. But this is also true in our daily lives. We are faced with a hundred different scenarios and small decisions each day. If we were able to simplify our lives - for example, meal prep for the week ahead and eliminate the daily lunchtime question of, “what am I going to eat?” - then we’d not only make better nutritional choices (probably!), but we’d have one less stressor or decision for the day.
8 - More success and completion
Last but not least, why simple is best has to do with our success and goal completion. If we reduce the clutter in our lives and allow ourselves to hone in on what’s most important to us, we will naturally have fewer goals. Or at least fewer subject matter for our goals. We can dedicate more time to achieving and succeeding and completing these things that we’ve deemed most important. And that’s ultimately going to make us feel lighter, happier, and more content.
Easy Ways to Start Embracing Simpler Living
- Clean out your coffee cups and travel mugs (this may seem silly, but it’s a great exercise in simplicity!)
- Get rid of items in your closet you never wear
- Start going on a morning walk
- Create space for journaling every day
- Invest in a service that would make life easier (example: house cleaning, meal delivery)
- Make a list of your essential daily tasks
- Make a list of the daily tasks you do that you wouldn’t have to do
- Set a limit for the time spent on social media every day
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb at a certain time every night
- Add a weekly mental health check-in to your calendar
- Start a daily meditation practice
- Do yoga or a form of exercise that you enjoy
- Look for the beauty in nature in your own neighborhood
- Make a goal to prioritize your physical health in a new way
- Spend more quality time with your loved ones
- Get better sleep (try meditation, journaling, or reading before bed)
For more resources on self-care, simple living, and personal growth, check out the Silk+Sonder blog.