I feel frazzled, stressed and poor, by a consumerist society that is continually telling me what you need to own in order to be happier. It made me wonder if there was a healthier way to live. Well there is. I think everyone wanting an ‘out’ from today’s world should read ‘Zen Habits‘. Since I haven’t quite got the hang of meditation, this is a baby step towards filling my mind with zen thoughts.
1. Clutter can take a physical or mental form. Too many things on your schedule or just too much stuff on your desk. Just imagine less of this and you instantly feel peace. White space can be a good thing. No wonder I am in love with minimalist nordic designs, where the whole room is white and you can truly appreciate the tiny splashes of colour. Looking at a typical Scandinavian white room makes me feel instant serenity.
2. To make a new habit stick start out with baby steps – chose a habit you already love like journalling or reading.
3. A minimalist life is not against buying things. What they mean is, only buy it if you truly love it. It must truly bring beauty and joy into your life. It’s a bit like food. Only eat a little of the high quality stuff that you love, like espresso or really good chocolate, and savour it, rather than loads of the poor quality stuff like a couple of packets of biscuits that are full of transfat and make you feel ill after your consume it. How to simplify when you love your stuff.
4. Satisfy your wanderlust without stress. Why do we always need a holiday to recover from our holiday. We often pack too much into our trip schedules. And what about doing away with the schedule. We have lost the joy of discovery.
I would agree that sitting at a cafe and people watching is probably a whole lot more fulfilling than queueing for 2 hours in the blazing sun to be shuffled like sheep up the Eiffel. Taking a picture of it would have sufficed.
Too often a vacation or travel becomes a check list of things to do. Promise yourself that you’ll stop trying to tick things off just for the sake of it.
For example, f you do make it to Paris then visiting the tourist attractions needn’t be your top priority. You won’t see many French people paying to climb the Eiffel Tower. They’re all sitting in the cafes having a short black coffee (the cheapest option) and people watching.
5. Great artists, musicians, writers and scientists share that it is solitude that allowed them to be the most creative. I can truly attest to this as I find words just flow, especially in the middle of a quiet night. I find that I need complete silence in order to read, write and think.
6. I love the idea of slow reading, rather than zipping through a book. I found that I read less but enjoy more.
What I have learnt from all this is I need to reduce my consumption of the Internet (ironically). Digital breaks on a regular basis sounds like a plan. I would love to hang out at the library and get more reading done. I have already drastically reduced my consumption of TV and it has worked wonders. I now get a headache if I watch more than an hour of TV with all those annoying ads which pop up every 15 minutes. Next, I definitely need to get into minimalist eating and focus on savouring the good stuff instead of mindlessly bingeing on junk – which is often just a distraction from my intense worries about the future. I learnt that eating while watching TV is the worst possible habit.