“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau
12th July marks National Simplicity Day, which falls every year on that day to mark the birth date of the author, environmentalist, abolitionist and American icon, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was an advocate of living simply and wrote a number of books on the subject. He followed the philosophies of simplifying life in both mental and material ways.
Thoreau believed that people have knowledge about themselves that transcends all external forces in their lives. He advocated for living a simpler life to better get in touch with those feelings. For example, his most famous work is Walden, written in 1854, it’s an account of the two years he spent living alone in a cabin – which he built himself by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.
Modern life has many distractions. From our phones and other electronic devices to social media as well as work and family commitments, we rarely have time to just sit and reflect and gather our thoughts. Here are some simply ideas you could try on your Simplicity Day.
• Challenge yourself to take a break from all technology for a day. It can be refreshing to not be constantly plugged into the lives of other people on social media and have more time for yourself. It’s an act of self-love.
• Use your Simplicity Day to look at all your various belongings and figure out what’s important to you as opposed to just taking up space. Everything that falls into the latter category can be donated or given to a charity shop. You will feel more comfortable in your home and you will have done a good deed.
• This simplification process can be used to prioritise other areas of your life. As Thoreau said, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” It’s an opportunity to think about what you spend your time and energy on and whether it would be better to do more useful or constructive things.
• Take time to unwind. This is all the more important for more empathic people. Our lives are scheduled around jobs, school, workouts, childcare, etc. and we often forget just how taxing that can be. Take some time out, even if it’s just mentally, and focus on the importance of the simple things.
• Spend some time in nature, even if it’s just in your garden or a park. It’s all too easy to under estimate the importance of nature to our psychological and emotional health.
As we head into the summer holiday time, we could perhaps use the principles of Thoreau and properly switching off from work, spent quality time with friends and family and be mindful, slow down and take a moment. This will ultimately make you more productive and help to guard against stress and burnout.
With the current pandemic and lockdowns, you have an opportunity to take time for reflection and moments of calm and clarity.
However, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to someone, but make sure you also take the time to just stop, even for a few moments, and breathe. With Hypnotherapy, for example, you are able to explore your thought processes and beliefs. These can be that the root of emotional, physical, mental or even spiritual problems. Once identified, changes can be made to address these issues and improve your quality of life. To find out more, click here.