Published on March 31st, 2015 | by alexisstaley
5 Ways to Simplify Your Life: Limit Consumption for More Joy, Less Stuff
Limiting consumption doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived. Here are some radical ways to simplify your life, so you can love more and consume less.
Consumption is a funny thing. Many people’s lives revolve around the consumption of oxygen, water, food, time, money, gasoline, plastic and soda. Of course, some consumption is necessary but the key to simplifying your life is in something called symbiosis.
Symbiosis is a great biological process that ensures that both parties involved are both at an advantage. In modern day terms, this is called a win-win situation and is the key to global sustainability. An example of this is that when our bodies breathe out toxins and CO2, the local environment made of trees, flowers, and other plants absorb this as their food, digest it and produce Oxygen- which we then breathe and start the process all over again. Think of an infinity symbol, back and forth forever flowing with both parties giving and taking equally.
How can we do this more regularly? Our trash to biodegradable compost ratios are completely skewed hence the environmental crises already upon us. While large, overaching systems will have to change (the reason why you shouldn’t blame yourself) we can still make changes individually to help move us towards the right mindstate. Here are five ways to simplify your life and re-wire your life systems for maximum symbiosis.
5 Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. Minimalism Is Key– Evaluating your incoming object purchases is the easiest way to cut back on consumption. Every little knick knack, clothing item, wallet, shoes, plastic bag from the grocery store requires large amounts of inefficiently produced energy. Check out the 30 day minimalism challenge, for instance and inspiration. Ask yourself questions like: “Do I really need this?” and limit yourself. Read up on how to minimize your home space and feel the pleasure of a just-full space. Reduce.
2. Consider buying secondhand– If you must make purchases, consider the exorbitant amount of stuff that is just waiting for you at second hand stores and freecycle situations. Set yourself up with an extended group of acquaintances and take turns hosting free give aways. Each person will donate things they don’t need that will find a useful home with others. Be careful because consumption mindsets run rampant in the secondhand world. Reuse.
3. Understand Recycling Procedures- Take the time to understand the basic symbol system involved in recycling. Many items have little triangles with numbers inside that indicate if it’s ideal for recycling. Also be aware that many food items are recyclable, but need to be cleaned out before being recycled. If your town or city doesn’t offer recycling, team up with neighbors (specifically a someone with a truck) and cart your collective recyclables to the local recylcling place. Occasionally, you can receive monetary compensation for plastic bottles and recycled metal. Specialty items also have different instructions for recycling, so be sure and check those out as well. Recycle.
4. Change your brain patterns– Human brains love routines. Rewiring neuronal pathways takes dedication and an acute observation of your habits. This tactic is the most relevant and akin to such things as quitting smoking. If you normally go out for ice-cream a few times a week, try setting up a different routine that involves less plastic cups, storefronts, money and inhumane treatment of animals. Another routine might look like having an ice cold glass of cucumber lemonade on your porch instead of taking a drive to the ice-cream store. First observe, and then figure out what works for you. Rewire.
5. Satiate Yourself- Find free activities that support your health and the environment to satiate yourself. Instead of filling up on material goods like food or clothing, try filling up on a weekly run or long distance bike ride. Many activities require minimal inputs for maximum satiating output. As humans, we do need creative, sensual experiences to recharge- but those don’t have to mean over-flavored food or perusing the many textures and colors of the mall. You can find natural sensual experiences in any state park. Recharge.
All of humanity needs these minor re-wires to bring life on earth back to homeostasis and primary symbiosis. Encourage your inner self and your friends and family to seek sustainably enjoyable activities and minimal consumption for a better, healthier and more fulfilling life.
Minimalist space image via Shutterstock