Have you ever wondered how to live a simple life and be happy?
Maybe you’re feeling like you’re always busy. Always rushing from one thing to the next. And wish you could slow down and live a little more simply.
Or maybe you’re feeling like the days, weeks, months and years are flying by and you wish you spent less time “going through the motions”. And spent more time enjoying and being present in your days.
Whatever the reason that’s brought you here, you find yourself wondering how to live a simple life and be happy.
And while I don’t have all the answers, I have spent the last several years trying to answer that question for myself.
Experimenting with ways to slow down, live more simply and find more happiness, joy and contentment. In the midst of real, everyday life. Where there are still kids to feed, toilets to clean, work to be done, dogs to walk, dishes to do, etc.
Today I’m excited to share 11 ways I’ve found that help me live a slower, simpler life and find more happiness and contentment. I hope it will give you some ideas of how you can start living a simple life and find more happiness as well!
How to live a simple life and be happy: 11 ways to start
1. Know what matters most to you
One of the biggest keys to finding more happiness is knowing what matters most to you.
What are your values, goals and priorities? Which of your values, goals and priorities are most important to you right now, in this season of life?
Get really clear about what matters most to you.
You can’t live in a way that aligns with your values, goals and priorities if you don’t truly know what they are.
The more clarity you have about what matters most to you, the more you’ll be able to build a life that keeps what matters most prioritized. And when you prioritize what matters most to you, it’s easier to live in a way that feels intentional, purposeful and meaningful.
2. Clear the clutter from your home
Clutter in your home weighs you down. Stealing time, space, energy and attention from you. Keeping you busy and focused on less important things, instead of what matters most to you.
Get rid of the things you don’t use, need or love so you can spend less time managing “stuff” in your home. And instead, have more time, space, energy and attention for what matters most to you. Including the values, goals and priorities that matter most to you. As well as the people and activities that matter most.
Not sure where to start? Check out this post with a great list of ways to start decluttering and creating a home you love.
Or check out Your Clutter-Free Home, my comprehensive decluttering guide complete with detailed decluttering checklists to help you declutter every room in your home!
3. Clear the clutter from your schedule
Clutter not only exists in your home but also in your schedule as well.
Take some time to notice where your time went over the last few days, weeks and months. Some of that time was spent in meaningful, necessary and important ways.
But some of that time was likely spent in less meaningful ways. Maybe on activities you don’t enjoy but feel obligated to continue with. Or activities that take up your time, but don’t add a lot of value back into your life.
This is not to say you should be “doing” and productive all the time. Time to rest, disconnect and recharge is meaningful and important for all of us.
But if you notice time spent doing things you don’t need to do or enjoy doing. Or time spent in a way that looks like downtime, but doesn’t actually recharge you or make you feel better. Such as getting sucked into scrolling social media or mindlessly binge-watching a show. There might be clutter in your schedule.
Be intentional with your time. Including how you’re spending it and who you’re spending it with. See if there is anything you can simplify, reduce or eliminate in your schedule to clear the clutter and free up your time and energy for more intentional uses.
4. Practice gratitude & appreciate the simple joys around you
What you focus on is usually what you tend to notice more of.
If you focus on all the challenges, things going wrong and complaints during your day, you’ll probably notice more challenges and things to complain about.
But when you look for the good in your days, you’ll probably find yourself noticing more good to appreciate.
“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”– Abraham Hicks
There are simple delights and things to be grateful for all around you. But you need to slow down, clear the distractions and give yourself the opportunity to notice them.
You can learn more about how to start a simple gratitude practice here. And read more about how to find more joy and simple delights in your days here.
5. Let go of comparison
One of the quickest ways to feel dissatisfied with your life is to compare your life to someone else’s.
We often see the highlight reels of other people’s lives on social media. Making it easy to feel like your own life is not good enough, less than or lacking in some way.
While letting go of comparing yourself to others is definitely something that’s often easier said than done. With practice, the more you can learn to let go of comparison, the happier and more satisfied you can become with your own life.
Rather than looking at other people’s lives to decide what success and happiness look like, start by defining what success and happiness are for you. What does a successful life look and feel like to you? What would a happy life look and feel like to you?
Focus on your own definition of success and happiness and set that as your standard. Rather than looking at what other people are doing or not doing to define what success looks likes. When we only see the highlight reel of people’s lives, we never see the whole picture anyway!
6. Take social media breaks
One of the best ways to let go of comparison and feel more content with your own life is by removing the window into other people’s lives that can easily lead to comparison in the first place.
And that window is often social media.
Taking breaks from social media is an easy and effective way to reduce comparison, increase happiness in your own life and increase your ability to live more mindfully.
Take social media breaks to practice living for yourself and for your own definition of success and happiness. Not in comparison to others. And not just to create your own highlight reel to share on social media either!
7. Take control of your spending
Financial worries are one of the biggest sources of stress for many people today.
And sometimes, a lot of the stress comes from spending more than you can afford on things you don’t even truly need, use or love. Spending more than you can afford (causing stress), to buy stuff that eventually ends up as clutter (adding more stress to your life).
Taking control of your spending not only reduces a big source of stress in your life, giving you more peace of mind and control over your finances. But it also helps you align your spending with your values, goals and priorities. Helping you feel good about how you’re using your money as well.
8. Slow the flow of stuff coming into your home
And of course, when you’re more intentional with your spending, you also become more intentional with what you’re buying.
Helping to slow the flow of stuff coming into your home. Reducing the amount of stuff you have to manage and take care of. As well as reducing the amount of clutter you might otherwise accumulate.
Because we know clutter can steal your time, money, space, energy and attention, the more you can do to avoid accumulating clutter the better. You’ll not only have more time, money, space, energy and attention. But you’ll also reduce the amount of stress, frustration and work that comes with taking care of your home and the stuff in it.
Some easy ways to slow the flow of stuff coming into your home are things like a no-spend challenge. Where you decide to only buy essentials (food, gas, etc.) for a set period of time. Without spending on anything extra or non-essential.
You can also try giving yourself a “purchase pause”. Waiting 24 hours, 48 hours, a week, a month or even longer before buying something you think you want or need.
Giving yourself this purchase pause is a great way to avoid impulse purchases and get in the habit of only buying things after you’ve given them thought and consideration.
9. Schedule & protect downtime
We all need different amounts of downtime to rest, relax and recharge. But everyone needs some downtime.
As an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person, I need more downtime than a lot of people. And I truly need that downtime to recharge and be able to function at my best.
Start noticing and paying attention to how much downtime you need. Once you know what kind and how much downtime you need, get in the habit of scheduling it to make sure you get what you need.
It can be easy to push through and keep going, even when you’re tired and in need of downtime. But eventually, you’ll burn out and pay the price for not taking the downtime you need.
Getting in the habit of scheduling and protecting your downtime is a way to ensure you meet your needs and can function at your best.
10. Give yourself more time to do things
Overscheduling yourself not only cuts into the downtime you need. But always feeling like you’re rushing and scrambling to get everything done can be really stressful and draining too!
One easy way to live a simpler life and find more ease in your days is by giving yourself more time to do things.
Rather than filling every available minute and keeping yourself rushing from one thing to the next, try scheduling less and giving yourself more time to get things done.
Making a prioritized to-do list is a great way to start. Focus on getting done the most important things that matter most first. And see if there is anything you can eliminate from your to-do list altogether to give yourself more time to do the things that matter most.
Build in some margin between your tasks to give you a bit of a buffer and breathing room between tasks. Not only accounting for the things that don’t go as planned and take longer than expected. But also giving you time to rest, catch your breath and regroup between tasks so you can do your best work when you start the next thing.
Even planning to leave earlier to get where you need to go can make you feel less rushed and more grounded.
11. Practice mindfulness & staying present
Learning to stay in the present moment and live more mindfully is a skill you get better at the more you practice it. And is a great way to help you live a simpler, happier life.
When your mind is always somewhere else, thinking about what’s coming next or what happened before, it’s hard to enjoy, focus and give your best to the task you’re doing.
Mindfulness is something that takes practice and commitment. But every time you practice staying in the present moment, your ability to stay present gets a little stronger.
You can practice mindfulness through a meditation practice. Or even simply by taking time each day to really focus and stay present with whatever you’re doing.
Maybe that means really savouring the sight, smell and taste of your coffee in the morning. Or noticing all the details of your walk into work.
A mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s simply the practice of being intentional with your attention. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
How to live a simple life and be happy
I hope today’s post will give you some ideas about how to live a simple life and be happy. Showing you that little changes to the way you approach and move through your days can add up and make a big difference to the way your days feel and flow.
I’d love to know, what’s something you’ve done to simplify, slow down and find more happiness? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Thursday 16th of March 2023
This article literally summed up everything I needed a mind reinforcement on! I loved it so much I will be sharing it with my network and possibly making some social media content around these points and of course, I will tag the author if I do! :)
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 20th of March 2023
Thank you so much. I'm so glad to hear you found the article helpful! Thank you for reading and for sharing :)
Sunday 19th of June 2022
Hello… This segment was a really good read. Too many things do seem to take false priority over our lives but at the time we get so caught up in our “stuff” we are slow to realize it has eaten away true happiness. This year I sold off 1/2 of my craft supplies. Now I am enjoying more time to create instead of wondering where to put new things for my creations. I’m basking in this new treasure of time and the outcome is even more of a pleasure! I love your suggestions and appreciate all the time it takes to write it down! Blessings to you! Joan
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 20th of June 2022
Thank you so much for sharing this Joan! I love that you are enjoying the value of having less stuff and more time and space for creativity! That's awesome and I'm so happy for you. Thank you for reading, for sharing your experience and for your kind words!
Sunday 19th of June 2022
Thank you for your article. I love anything related to simplifying life, especially as its not simple to do. I will take your tips on board 💜
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 20th of June 2022
I'm so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for reading :)