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Psychologyisms: How to have a Rich and Full Life -The Rewards of Simplicity

Updated on June 6, 2011

Happiness Has Everything to Do With Our Basic Needs

Our basic needs start from the desires of the heart and mind - having our health, having people who care about us in our lives, to love and be loved, to listen to music, and the sounds of nature, to laugh, to know we have done our best, to watch children at play, to have the unconditional love of a pet, to smell a flower,wearing comfortable clothes, appreciation of a good meal, taking the time to breathe deeply.

We work all our lives to have more material gains. We sacrifice sleep, relationships, and our energy towards standards we may have set based on what others tell us we should be doing.
Often times these material things have not brought us joy or satisfaction after we attain them.
Since ancient times, people have struggled and needed wisdom to help them make the best choices. Philosophers and great thinkers have delved into this topic for thousands of years.

Make More Time for the Things that are Important to You


When we think about it, the basics, the essential things in life that we need to live are the keys to good living. We live in a very commercialized material world. It is not easy to halt our habits, to change our thinking, to stop the messages that influence society.  The essential things are personal decisions, by thinking about what is important to you.

At the core of philosophy is our physical and mental well being. We forget what really matters to us.  What really matters is the simplest things in life. Open spaces that call out to us to linger - a park, a field, a porch, a garden can keep us grounded. If we pay attention, we are drawn to people who are open and natural, whose personalities draw to us, even in our hectic, busy lives.

In all this, we have the ability to streamline our lives so that we can focus on the things that are important to us. It starts with knowing our basic needs. When our fundamental primary needs are met, we can look at some of our unnecessary pursuits. If you can live without it, it probably is not necessary. If we simplify our lives, we will have more time for the things that are important to us.

Self Satisfaction and the Simple Things

In the simplicity of the ordinary joys, that make us smile and bring us satisfaction, we will find our greatest pleasures. We forget to focus on the simple things . Pleasures are abundant in our lives, when we seek and appreciate them. We have preoccupations that sap our energy and cause us to lose focus on what is important. It is truly the simplest things, where we will find our riches.

In diffficult times, being calm and clear headed in our thinking helps us through the tough times.. At its core life is rich. We often lose sight of that which is important to us.

Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher said we should choose the good life, live well by thriving on the simpler pleasures. He taught that more pleasure can be gotten when we limit our own desires. When we slow down a bit, we can see the picture we want for ourselves and find greater joy in living our lives. Epicurus was born in 341 BCE, on the Greek island of Samos, 7 years after the death of Plato. From his earliest upbringing, political turmoil caused his family to be uprooted from their home.

From this experience his beliefs were that politics and public life makes a tranquil life too hard. He realized that pleasure is the basics of a good life and from the simplest things we can gain pleasure, minimize pain, and gain a lifetime of satisfaction. His beliefs that the basics in life come from eating only what we need, not in excess, from lasting friendships, good conversations, shelter, experiencing the warmth of the sun, the soft drops of rain, the recollection of happy times are rewards that will last a lifetime. There is freedom in needing less.

Balancing Our Responsibilities and Focusing on the Simpler Things

How do we live a simpler life in modern times? Epicurus believed we must be choosy in our pleasures. Some pleasures can bring pain. He believed people should look closely at their choices. He would wonder,did you buy anxiety at the expense of your choice? Curbing some desires like spending can give us peace of mind and greater pleasures, the time to relax and the ability to focus on what is important to us.

If we learn to separate our needs from our wants we can learn to figure out what is essential for the pleasures in life. Simple things in life are plentiful and easy to get. We can start with mental pleasures. Our minds can help us recall joyful memories. Through our mind we can balance our responsibilities we do have with what is really important and the basic essentials of our greatest joys.  We can live more simply if we desire. When you rid yourself of the non-essentials and unnecessary things, you will have more space and time for the things that are important to you.

It is Not Easy to Calm Our Minds


It is not easy to calm our minds, quell our thoughts and seek the simplest things. We skim over the moments, aiming for bigger targets in our lives. Yet, we can focus on the circumstances in our lives and make ourselves comfortable within our own reality.   Within us we have all the answers we need.  Within us, at our core is the simplest parts of us. Within us, we know what we truly want. Stopping and making our world still for a moment, is respecting the essence of ourselves .

Meditation is a way of stopping. Imagine a string at the top of your head lifting your shoulders a bit higher. Slowly inhale to exand your diaphragm, as you exhale push open your entire body. Focus on breathing and your breath takes over.

Rhythmic Movements Help You Relax

Focus on the Basics

Another way to relax is to knit or walk,swim, and doing something in a unified rhythmic pattern helps your body focus on the movements and relaxes your mind. It is known as concentrated relaxation. After about 15 or 20 minutes, your mind shuts off from the busy spinning it was doing and creates an overall mellow feeling within. Relaxation and meditation, such as this helps grounds us. It is moments like this we come to know our true selves. Breathing helps bring us back to the basics of life.

  • Define what enough is for you.
  • What are the simple pleasures for yourself?
  • Separate what you need from what you want
  • What do you do that complicates your life?
  • What memories do you want to create that will stay close to your heart?
  • Take time to listen to your favorite music.
  • Read a poem.
  • Use self expression to share an idea, to speak up
  • Do one thing at a time Be in the moment.
  • Concentrate on what you are doing.
  • Do what you are doing, and only do that. If you are eating, just eat. If you walking, just walk.
  • Make your actions slow and deliberate
  • Make up your mind to finish the task

The Rewards of Simplicity Await Us


From ancient to modern times, people have always struggled with the elusiveness of a joyful life. We are busy with work and “keeping up with the Joneses”. Our days are busy, our lists are long, and we never have enough time for the things we want for ourselves. It is not easy to changeour patterns. It is not easy to think differently. But there are rewards for taking on a new approach. The answer is in simplicity. By understanding ourselves well, and being satisfied with what we deem is enough, we can stop chasing something that may not be as important to us as we thought. When we think about our pleasures, and match them to our lifestyle, we can attain a higher level of joy and satisfaction within ourselves.  The rewards of simplicity await us.

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    • profile image

      theking2020 6 years ago

      The values of life are incredible no doubt about that focusing on basics will make life more valuable than striving what might seem impossible. Would love feedback on my article.

    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, I used to crochet or do cross stitching and it was always putting me in a zone, but I had no idea it was because they are rhythmic pattern activities, but it makes sense now :) Well written hub, very engaging, thank you.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Ingenira, I am glad you think well of Epicurus and his philosopy. It is always nice to see you.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      I like Epicurus's philosophy of life. Despite the difficulties he faced in his life, he is still able to have positive perpective about life. With such mind set, life is good !

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi C-Bless, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Sometimes we try to compensate for what we need and lose sight of the simplest things. In simplicity there is much we can gain, but sometimes we need to be reminded. I am glad you enjoyed this hub and appreciate each time you visit my articles. Thank you.

    • C-Bless profile image

      C-Bless 6 years ago from Canada

      A very good read. I especially enjoy reading 'focus on the basics'. Thank you for sharing.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Chs, It is good to hear that a simpler life is working for you. You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Pam, When you think about the idea that there is great satisfaction in simplicity it really does make sense. I am glad you enjoyed this hub and thanks for the up rating.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I was always impressed by Henry David Thoreau's statement that a person is rich in accordance with the amount of things he can do without.

      So many people knock themselves out to get things that they later find they don't really want.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      Hi ToKnowInfo -Glad to read your hub here - taking the simple path or the path of simplicity has taken me a while, but I'm getting there and life is definitely better this way.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I think you hub had so many truths in it and we need to choose what is really important. I like the idea of focusing on the basics and think that is extremely important. I enjoyed your hub. Voted, rated beautiful.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Fay, It seems like a simpler life is a richer life. And I think it is important that you used the word appreciate. We are so busy we forget to appreciate. Thanks for your up rating and kind comments. I always like it when you stop by.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 6 years ago

      I'm a witness that what you say is true. Once I stopped accumulating things, running like a headless chicken and settled down to appreciate what I needed as opposed to what I wanted, life became a lot more rewarding.

      up/useful and beautiful

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Dear, It seems like we lose our focus when we complicate our lives. Thanks for the up rating and for adding your comments.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi B, It is nice to see you as usual. You are a great example of how living simpler is more rewarding. It is an easy concept to understand, and harder to do. Thanks for the kind comments and up rating.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Wooded, It is complicated to simplify our life. Much easier said than done. Thanks for stopping by.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Amillar, I am glad I gave you something new to remember.Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      I love the thought about doing one thing at a time. We have become so proud of our ability to multi-task, and for what? We should be savoring every action. Great hub, up and useful.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Angel, I am glad you took the time to read and comment. It is so true, we are on a treadmill that leads us nowhere and causes us to lose our focus on what is truly important.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi HP, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments. I am glad you enjoyed this hub.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      And Less is More...if only we can learn that, and go from there. We downsized a few years back and found that in doing so, we have a rich and rewarding life. A wonderful Hub Toknowinfo, two thumbs up!

    • profile image

      Wooded 6 years ago

      I decided after my last move that I would try to simplify my life. I am still working on it, but I must say that it has been a great experience for me. Excellent hub!

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      "There is freedom in needing less." Well said; I'll remember that, and duly attribute it to you.

    • angel115707 profile image

      Angel Ward 6 years ago from Galveston, TX

      I love this article! Just reading it, was very relaxing... I couldn't agree more, I feel terrible for todays children, whose parents are enslaved to the idea our government has laid out for be nothing more than a consumerist...we are busy worker bees who work to spend, to spend to work, to work to spend, to spend to work... our children are forced on medications by doctors if they do not conform to a certain norm by grade school, and depression and suicide set in as teens and young adults... I know I suffered because of this growing up... Thank God I know differently for my children...we adults have lost our rhythm of the natural way of the earth and you brought a great clarity to that rhythm we need to tap into again!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

      The article is sweet and good.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Pdog, Staying in touch with our higher self is so important, but we often don't make it a priority. You always make sense.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I've been so busy of late so can relate - you are right TKI - rhythm and exercise are important keys to relaxation and having played music I know our feelings underline everything so feeling good means staying in a loving energy, do what you love doing not always what you think you must, listen to quiet rhythms when you are tired, upbeat ones when you want to dance. Mainly following the beat of one's heart is really important to staying in sync with oneself. I find constantly having music in the background can keep you in the loop (of what our higher self knows anyway). Hope this makes sense - great hub! Thanks TKI

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi L.L., It is always nice when you drop by. I think it is amazing what we can do to help ourselves.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Good information here. I didn't know that rhythmic activity calms the mind, but it makes sense to me.