Clear the clutter and let the simple stuff stay. We need far less to live a good life than we realise. There is a lot of meaningless stuff that ties us down that we think belongs in our life, but it doesn’t. There are many distractions that we run to for comfort in times of turmoil but we really don’t need them.
The trick is to get to a place where we feel somewhat comfortable, for now anyway. Comfort is good, but it’s not going to give us the satisfaction we desire long term – it’s just our starting point. Once we’re there, this is what I recommend. Slowly, but surely, piece by piece have a think and begin to remove the things from your life that serve no intentional purpose or are just ‘comforters’.
Some things that tend to work well are these:
- Charge your phone in another room when you go to sleep
- Delete Facebook and Instagram off your phone!!! (keep messenger if you’re desperate)
- Try to work on paper as much as you can to remove the distraction of your computer
- Don’t let a device be the first thing you attend to when you wake up (have breakfast or talk to your spouse)
There’s these little things that can change your life dramatically that you just have to put in place. We can reduce the anxiety and impulsiveness that we experience on a daily basis by simply doing these small things well.
We have got to learn to tear away these comforters when we feel like we’re in a good place. Science says that the gratification we receive from message alerts on our phone produces dopamine, which makes us feel good, but is only a temporary solution. We have to remove these ‘comforters’ when we feel good because if we don’t they are just going to be temptations that we will run to when we experience challenge.
There’s got to be a shift from running to your phone to calm yourself down or to seek validation, to meaningful conversations with those we trust. When we get stuck we should talk to those around us and work to solve the problem, not run for an immediate temporary solution.
I honestly believe that these measures will teach you patience in the long run too, which will be invaluable (you can add your own measures too). As you get better you can start to find more personal ways to simplify your life, and some things will simplify themselves. As your anxiety reduces, your true self will shine through and those that are meant to be in your life will stay, the others will go!
A simple life is a better life.