“Simple living” or simplicity is a voluntary lifestyle that favors values such as family and the environment over material consumption and income. It has been linked not only to improved environmental sustainability but also boosted mental and physical health. This trend has been growing increasing popular as more people are realizing how much daily stress is ruining their health and lives.
An unpublished survey from the University of the Sciences in Pennsylvania found that 90% of people who identified themselves as part of the simple living movement reported improved physical health after voluntarily making a change to earn less money. Almost that many respondents also said their mental health improved as the stress from their lives decreased.
Consider just a few benefits of a life of simplicity
Healthier Life – Simple living can benefit physical and mental health on many levels. According to the CDC, more people die today from largely preventable diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, than from infectious diseases. The simple living lifestyle incorporates eating fresh, unprocessed, more natural foods which help people stay healthier longer. Living a more simple life also helps lower stress; which naturally decreases blood pressure, and reduces risk of disease, migraines and colds.
Time for Fun and Laughter – Cutting back the stress in our lives gives more time to relax and have fun. At the end of life what do you want to remember; the long hours at the office or the fun time with family and friends. Living simply allows for more balance in life which makes it easier to maintain the lifestyle we desire and acquire more good memories.
Less Clutter, More Organized – Living simply declutters a daily schedule and materialistic lifestyle. Simplifying gives us the ability to eliminate stuff such as activities, chores, responsibilities and clutter around the house. It gives us room to breath and relax without feeling overwhelmed and pressured from the noise of life.
Financial Freedom – Living with less ends up costing less. Money can be made by selling extra stuff, which can then be used for paying off credit cards, loans and mortgages quicker. Imagine having no debts, what could be done with all that extra money? Most people realize they do not need a large paycheck, which may lead to a less stressful job, which then gives us more time to enjoy life.
Environmentally Friendly – Tom Hodgkinson believes the key to a free and simple life is to stop consuming and start producing. One way to simplify life is to get back-to-the-land and grow your own food. Increasing self-sufficiency reduces dependency on money and the economy. Our environmental footprint is smaller when we consume less because we then discard less, which emits fewer substances into the environment.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
When does one decide simple living may be for them? There are lots of reasons and times in life when people might find that the lifestyle they are currently living isn’t working anymore. For some, it’s when big changes occur in their lives – a death in the family, having a baby, loss of a job. For others, there is a gradual realization that something just isn’t working. Simplicity and simple living looks different for every person and every family, and changes can be made whenever and however is best for their lives.