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3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

Is money really the root of all evil? It might be if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness.

That’s what came to mind after recently bumping into an old friend—let’s call him Kevin—who moved back to our hometown following a midlife crisis over money. Kevin’s story goes something like this:

Meet Kevin

Having had a fascination with numbers since he was a kid, Kevin eventually turned this into a skill that proved beneficial throughout his education and later on in the workforce. Though we all need cash to pay the rent, buy groceries, and support a family, Kevin eventually bought into the philosophy that money was the means to a more enriching lifestyle and took this way of thinking to a whole new level. After some bad advice—and still more bad advice—the bills for the car, memberships, subscriptions, and other expenses accumulated, until he was hoping for nothing more than a pot of gold to fall into his lap! The situation got so bad he decided to pay off all his debts, left the city he was in, and moved back home to start brand new.

“Money isn’t evil,” Kevin said as we were sitting in a coffee shop one day. “It’s like many things in the world that need to be dealt with in moderation. And like all those things, if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness, then there’s a problem.”

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While Kevin is slowly starting to get back on his feet again, his story got me thinking about my own life and how what many of us are truly seeking when we’re focused on making money are the freedoms we associate with every new bill stuffed in our pocket. What do I mean?

We sometimes perceive a bigger cash flow as providing special freedoms and immunity to many of life’s pressures, such as debt and emotional stress, but this is rarely the case. The people we consider rich have many of the same problems as us, and even if they don’t, they have different ones that money can’t solve. It’s important to realize money is not the ultimate answer to freedom and that there are other paths towards enriching life and gaining fulfillment without all the riches.

There are three things in particular that have had tremendous positive influence on my daily flow and outlook, as follows:

Downsize

Looking around your living space, take note of some of the rarely used or untouched items that ‘close in’ your home rather than open it up. Clutter can be a killer of creativity because instead of day to day life feeling light, we’re weighed down in our pursuit of trying to move forward and follow our dreams.

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The answer, however, isn’t a bigger home or even putting it all in storage, but saying goodbye to as much of it as possible. The keyword here is downsize, and I’m not talking about parting with your favorite sweaters, stamp collection, or grandmother’s pearls and diamonds, but the piles of clothing you wear once in a blue moon, old school papers sitting in a box in the attic, and all those books on the shelves that have little significance for you at this point in life.

Downsizing not only renews our living space, but releases us from worrying about things like constantly cleaning everything up, figuring out what to do with it all in case there’s a need to move, or how to let others into our personal domain without feeling self-conscious.

It could take a few Sunday afternoons or more to sort through it all, but when you’re finished it will be an entirely new sense of freedom.

Live a minimalist lifestyle

Downsizing is one thing, living a minimalist lifestyle is something else because it helps slow the re-accumulation of stuff. Living a ‘less is more’ mindset also instills a revolutionary feeling that whether money is available or not, a person can still survive on very little and lead an enriching life.

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That being the case, if you’re used to stocking up the cupboards or getting things in bulk when they are on sale, try taking a minimalist approach and reject the temptation for all the extras. This can be particularly hard for someone like me who loves a good bargain, but when considering a purchase ask yourself if it’s just about the great price and whether or not the item is truly necessary.

As for all other possessions and new things that may find their way into your home, do an annual ‘checking in’; putting everything in one of two categories, such as sentimental and non-sentimental. Try as hard as possible to let go of the latter, and since this is a process, don’t get down on yourself when making hard or surprising decisions. Less will be more.

Respect yourself

Finally, having found a major part of enriching life being the letting go of things and living more simply, another side is taking care of and respecting one’s self so all the newfound freedoms that come with greater flexibility can be put to good use.

This may mean putting up certain boundaries like not staying out too late, or scheduling time for work and play so neither takes precedence over the other and we don’t stray too much off course.

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It also includes doing things like eating well, exercising, getting back in touch with old friends and positive influences from the past, and improving current relationships.

The goal should be to live an overall healthier lifestyle because when looking back over the years you’ll want to know two important things:

  1. That you made the most of what you had, happy with your lot.
  2. That you’re healthy enough to carry on and enjoy the rest of your time.

If you can manage that, all the money in the world wouldn’t change the feeling of satisfaction.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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