30 Aug The Rewards of Embracing Simplicity
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. — Confucius
Living a simple life. Sounds boring, on the surface, but is it? And why should you even think about simplifying your life?
Over the last few decades of industrial and technological growth, we’ve been conditioned to want more, accumulate more, do more. In the whirlwind of this nonstop quest, it’s hard to find a moment to quiet the mind.
Yet when you’re going through recovery, quiet moments are not a luxury — they’re a necessity. As you’re learning to approach your life from a fresh perspective, it’s critical to put aside as many distractions as possible. Not only mental and emotional but also physical ones.
That’s where the power of simplicity comes in. Embracing simplicity doesn’t mean you’re giving into a boring lifestyle, nor is it necessarily about frugality. Rather, it’s a way to focus on your main goal — becoming healthy and rebuilding your life — while eliminating things of secondary importance.
Recovery is a complex process because it has many facets, yet it’s also simple if you follow the right steps. You can simplify your journey through recovery by:
- Learning to direct your thoughts to the future rather than dwelling on the past and the mistakes you made.
- Creating realistic expectations for your recovery and your new life, including achievable goals and timelines.
- Eliminating negativity, whether it’s negative thinking or relationships, and choosing to focus on the positive.
Keeping things simple in your recovery journey will help you minimize stress and anxiety, so you can channel your energies into getting better. Here are some examples of how you can unnecessarily complicate things:
- Relationships are complex, and inevitably bring drama. As you’re building resiliency, you can’t afford to devote your mental and emotional strength to navigating complicated relationships.
- When more “stuff” — like the latest tech gadget or trendy thing — is the source of your comfort, you constantly need to up your game and buy more. This creates another major stressor, financial worry.
- If you’re always searching for an outside stimulus or validation, the “quest for more” is never-ending; however, learning to validate yourself and building internal strengths simplifies the kind of experiences that you need to seek as you become stronger.
Here are three easy ways to uncomplicate your life on your recovery journey:
Declutter: Just like hanging on to worries about the past, hanging on to things you don’t use or need makes it difficult to become centered. Many of us don’t love to clean but it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds: Even 15 minutes a day and an hour or two on your day off will help you get rid of junk, one closet or even one drawer at a time, and you’ll get your space organized in no time.
Cut back on screen time: Spending most of your day in front of a TV, computer or mobile screen will lead to a disconnect from friends and family in the real world. Not to mention that when you’re constantly distracted by a variety of stimulants like news and shows, are you really focusing your mind and time on what you truly need to be doing?
Let go of negative relationships: As an addict, you likely had your “party crowd” or friends who weren’t a positive influence in your life. Disconnect yourself not only from these negative relationships but also from anyone who brings too much drama. That’s a difficult step if the drama comes from family members, but tell yourself it’s OK to reconnect with them later, once you’re farther along your recovery.