5 Ways to Simplify Your Life...And Enjoy It More!
By Stephanie McWilliams
Before reaching for the latest edition of "Life Would be Better if You Buy This Book", try these ideas for simplifying and enjoying life without spending a penny more!
1. Eat simply.
Just as we want to be conscious and aware of the energy within our environment, we also want to open our eyes to the energy of the foods we're eating. I was walking down the grocery store isle this week and was pretty darn shocked that most ALL of the foods were packaged, processed, chemically-treated, genetically modified and downright artificial. It was tough finding much of anything whole and natural anywhere in the entire store! In the name of convenience and low prices, our country (and now the world) is starting to compromise the energy and integrity of the foods that fuel our precious bodies.
Getting back to whole, natural foods whenever possible can bring a huge burst of energy and freshness to your body's internal Chi. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have a life force that is vibrant, alive and powerful. And if you have the means, eating locally grown and organic produce is still better yet.
Try adding fresh dark leafy green veggies to your daily fare. My favorites are kale or collard greens cooked in broth with lots of onions, garlic & sea salt. Or how about fill your fridge with fresh fruit instead of reaching for the candy, sodas and processed sweets? Try making a big batch of brown rice, quinoa, barley or millet once a week and serve instead of bread with your evening meal. It's filling, yummy and nutritious — and easier on the ol' blood sugar! (for more terrific tips, visit my fabulous and famous friend's yummy website: Alex Jamieson)
2. Enjoy the little things.
We've become a nation that's consumed by gadgets and overwhelmed with distractions at every turn. From cell phones, pagers, blackberries and iPhones, to wireless internet, instant messaging, emails and voicemails, it's hard for biology to keep up with the booming technological trends. And many of us have come to believe that the more we can cram into one single day, the happier we will be'along the way losing sight of the small and simple joys all around us.
Others get so fixated on their careers or the pursuit of money, that when the job is lost or the money dries up, they're left floundering to find meaning in other lesser-developed areas of their lives. I've been there and done that schtick myself, and it sure doesn't feel good.
I heard a very true statement this week: "Where your attention goes, your energy flows".Consciously placing your attention on those things that bring you greatest joy, and continually pivoting your focus to those things that feel better, can provide deep satisfaction and aliveness. Gratitude for everything that surrounds us — big or small, fast or slow, loud or quiet — opens the heart and lets joy flood in!
3. Commune with nature.
Nature is the epitome of balance. From the flow of seasons, tides or lunar cycles to the intricately-magical design of a leaf, tree, sea shell or flower, there is something powerful and wise within Mother Earth. Spending time outdoors and connecting to our natural surroundings can often do more good than a trip to the most expensive spa. Planting foods to feed your family, growing flowers to feed your soul, collecting stones, wading in water, listening to the birds, or watching a sunset can transform even the worst worries, stresses or woes.
Tidbit Tip: More and more studies are showing that many Americans are vitamin D deficient — the vitamin naturally generated when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Getting 15-20 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) can not only help balance certain hormones, but brighten your outlook as well. It's quick, easy...and FREE!
4. Slow down.
America is the land of more, more, more...faster, faster FASTER! But the real name of the game is balance: with fast should come some slow, and with complexity should come some simplicity. It's that delicious and delightful richness of the present moment that we all secretly crave...
Try slowing down for just one week. Walking more slowly can allow you to enjoy your surroundings. Eating more slowly will help all your body's systems and processes function more smoothly and absorb more nutrients. Talking more slowly will help you communicate more effectively and listen more deeply. Breathing more slowly will tell your body you're no longer in fight-or-flight mode and help to sooth many of your body's stress responses. Slow is the new SEXY!
5. Get quiet.
When do we ever allow ourselves to just relax, chill out and get still? I mean REALLY still. I'm talkin' doing absolutely NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero?
Are you taking time to do absolutely nothing on a regular basis? Not watching tv, reading a book, listening to the radio — but truly just being? If you're like most Americans, your answer is probably no. We believe that doing more, and becoming more efficient at doing so, equals success. And while it's possible for busy people to lead wonderfully successful, fulfilling lives, most unfortunately don't. There's a spiritual depletion and emptiness, and so many of us are asking the wrong questions and chasing the wrong answers.
Remember the days of your childhood? — When days stretched on infinitely and playing in the back yard for an hour felt like a lifetime? It's not because we were delusional ' but rather, we were present. We napped when tired, played when excited. And as adults we've forgotten this simple skill. Turn off your boob-tube, toss your trashy magazines and pitch the doom-n-gloom newspapers... and instead start taking time out to sit, breath, listen. Noticing the feeling of your own body and the sound of your own breath, even for a few minutes a day, can radically shift your entire day's experience.
And for those who are brave, start with 1 hour a week, (then gradually moving up to an entire day per month) to do nothing - and I do mean NOTHING. You'll be shocked at the results....
Stephanie McWilliams is the vivacious host of HGTV's smash-hit "Fun Shui" and host of John Edward's new project, "Infinite Quest". She is a gifted feng shui consultant, intuitive coach, holistic health counselor, and the author of "The Ultimate Room-by-Room Feng Shui Workbook". By combining coaching and dynamic feng shui design, her cutting-edge approach helps unleash your power, passion and purpose!
To receive her newsletter, join her "Change Your Chi" Community, or just to get a whole bunch of fre*e stuff, visit: http://www.evolvingarts.com