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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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