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7 Reasons a Minimalist Approach Can Make You Healthier

7 Reasons a Minimalist Approach Can Make You Healthier

We all want to live a healthier lifestyle, but in our attempts to do so we overcomplicate things: trying diets that don’t provide us with enough nutrients, eating supplements, dragging ourselves to the gym everyday where we do boring cardio and lift weights, buying more things than we need thinking they’ll make our lives better, etc.

All of that ruins our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The solution to all this lies in simplicity. Choosing the simpler version of anything can make you not only happier but healthier too.

Here’s how a minimalist approach can save you from the complex, stressful everyday life:

1. Giving your body only what it needs will make you energetic.

The main principle of minimalism says that less is actually more. According to this philosophy, you should eliminate anything unnecessary from your life, and thus have more freedom, peace, and contentment.

Start with your fridge and menu. Write down what you usually eat and drink so that you can see the big picture, and for each item on the list ask yourself if it’s necessary.

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You might be surprised by the type and amount of food you consume daily that your body doesn’t actually need. Anything that comes in a package, any drink other than water and tea, special additives while cooking, and most of the snacks you eat — most of these are actually bad for your health. They can make you lazier, less healthy, and moody. And it’s pretty easy to get addicted to such foods because of all the sugar in them.

If you ditch these, however, if you throw away most of what you don’t need so that it’s not in your fridge and easily accessible anymore, you’ll focus on the real foods.

These include fruits, veggies, seeds, proteins, nuts, and herbs. Together with drinking plenty of water daily, they will keep you fresh and energised throughout the whole day and will help your body perform all its functions properly.

2. Fewer worries will make you happier.

Focus on less when it comes to overthinking something from the past or planning something that might go wrong.

Most thoughts connected to yesterday or tomorrow only make us worried and anxious, which lead to many other negative behaviours.

3. By being present you’ll quiet your mind and focus better.

Mindfulness is another important aspect of having a minimalist approach.

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It’s as simple as being right here, in this moment, without wanting to change it, without thinking about the past or future. Instead, you’re focused on the present moment.

That helps you eliminate distractions, which are a big part of daily life, and thus concentrate effortlessly and finally get things done quickly.

This is beneficial to your work performance and how your mind works in general.

4. You’ll sleep like a baby.

This new mindset you’re developing thanks to simplicity will also allow you to fall asleep fast instead of staying awake for hours unable to get the rest you deserve.

Because you’ll quiet the voices in your head and will enjoy the present moment, you’ll be able to let go of the tension in your mind and body and sleep soundly the whole night.

5. Being outdoors will contribute to your overall well-being.

Instead of going to the gym, or doing any other sport you don’t really enjoy, just go outside.

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The easiest thing to do is to take a walk or go jogging. Not only will this keep you fit, but the fresh air (or sunlight during the day) will lift you up and raise your energy levels, and you’ll enjoy the view.

You can start biking, too, and explore new areas in your city.

6. Decluttering will lead to less stress.

Living in clutter isn’t healthy. Many belongings at home collect dust, need to be fixed all the time, and require your time, attention, and money.

Having less stuff at home will give you more space and more freedom.

Think about getting rid of things you don’t actually use, even if it means giving away most of your clothes or selling some furniture and the many gifts you’ve received over the years.

You’ll feel relieved once you do that. Fewer objects also mean saving time in the future, being more organised and productive when getting things done at home, and not carrying things from the past around with you.

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7. Solitude will give you peace of mind.

We live hectic lifestyles and often forget how to relax. That’s yet another reason to be stressed out all the time and to struggle with falling asleep.

Spending some quiet time alone can fix this. You’ll slow down, leave all the anxiety behind, be present, and do things you enjoy.

Reading a book, drinking your coffee in peace, listening to music, organising your desk – all these and many more activities can be done when you’re alone and have nothing else to do.

Even if you’re still doing something, know that your mind isn’t tensed and you’re being at ease.

Create such a ritual and incorporate it into your day. It’s important to be by yourself, in a quiet and peaceful environment, and not thinking about anything else that you’ll need to do later in the day or tomorrow.

Simply enjoy your own company, do things that give you pleasure, and don’t be in a hurry, waiting for the next moment or task on your list to come. The ability to be mindful alone will make your interactions with other people easier too.

So that’s how you can live a minimalist life, and improve your health at the same time.

Any other ideas?

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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