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The modern world changes so rapidly that people feel the pressure to be in sync with the times. As new technological advances change the way we interact with people, the way we work, the way we commute, and so on, what ultimately gets impacted is the way we lead our lives.
In this rush to keep up with the times, we often end up overreaching and going beyond what really matters at the end of the day — good old simple happiness. So while life becomes more and more convenient each passing year, it’s doesn’t necessarily give us the simplicity and happiness we all seek in our lives.
The good news is, that it can be changed. By making important changes to the way we live our life, we can lead simpler and happier lives, even in these complex modern times.
1. Use a phone that meets your needs.
It’s important to not chase the next best phone on the market simply because it has “new features.” Many of these new features are unnecessary anyway. We use them because they’re available to us. If you took a different approach, where you listed down what you really need from a phone, and then bought one with, say, some additional useful features, you’d see why settling for a simpler cell phone makes more sense than buying a high-tech one.
2. Buy things that are either necessary or significant in some way.
We often buy various things that catch our eye on the street, without even thinking about whether we need them at all or if they have any significance in our lives. We get into the cycle of use-and-throw and get sucked into buying new things every other time we step out. Rather than fill our houses up with “junk,” which is what essentially most of the things we buy are, we should focus on buying things that we really need or which mean something to us.
3. Spend minimal time on social media.
Every time I halt at a traffic signal, I see people around me whip up their phones and get on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and other social media channels to check the latest status updates and private messages they’ve received. Quickly everyone moves on to scrolling aimlessly, laughing at memes and leaving unnecessary comments on friends’ pictures, till the signal turns green and everyone else starts honking from behind. Unfortunately, a metaphor for how we live every day.
4. Take care of your mind and body.
Food and work are two things we overdo in these times. We eat like there’s no tomorrow, gorging on pizzas, butter chicken, burgers, and chicken fried rice, without caring about our body’s needs. The same happens with work. We work so hard and long that we wear our minds out and are barely left with any energy to speak patiently with friends and family at the end of the day. Being more conscious about your food choices and work hours can help you be calmer and happier from within.
5. Avoid living on credit.
Credit cards and bank loans are useful tools, but relying on them too much is a sign of trouble. We should learn to live within our means. You should be clear about how much money you earn and how much of it you’d like to spend and save every month. Otherwise, we’d continue to spend wastefully and then rely on credit to bail us out. And then we’d struggle to raise the money needed to pay off the credit, along with the damning interest.
6. Spend more time with people offline.
The more time we spend online, the more we think of meeting someone as unnecessary. Back in the day, we’d see an attractive person, introduce ourselves to them, exchange numbers, use the phone — only to set up a date, and then meet with them and talk face-to-face. Now, we prefer to interact mostly over the phone. Some people take several months before deciding to meet, if they do, that is. Regular human connection is important, and we should engage in it often.
Image Source: The Gaia Health Blog
7. Be good to other people.
Another consequence of spending too much time on the internet is that we’ve forgotten how to be good to each other. The internet has made us mean and insensitive, and we often act like we’ve got very little time to give to others. This is unhealthy behavior, and affects people deeply. It’s a simple principle: be generous with your time and be good to others. This natural way of bonding goes a long way towards developing strong and healthy human qualities.
8. Do more of the things that fulfill you personally.
We should try and be more efficient with our time at work so that we have enough time to spend on things that fulfill us. Singing, dancing, painting, collecting stamps, stargazing — take up any activity that you personally find fulfilling and start spending time on it regularly. This will lift you up from the noise and struggle of everyday life and leave you feeling refreshed and alive.
9. Spend more time in nature.
Instead of being trapped within walls of concrete and cement, spend more time out in nature. Hear the birds sing, see the trees dance, feel the air pass through you — these are the wonderful miracles of life out in nature that we’ve unfortunately closed ourselves to by never leaving our cubicles, be it our home or our workplace. Even a couple of days spent directly underneath the vast blue sky and among lush greenery can transform your whole experience of life.
10. Do the right thing.
Finally, do the thing that’s right or fair. What you should do will often be clear to you straight away, but while you’ve been resisting acting on this impulse so far, you should step up and stand for it — straight, tall, and unflinching. Don’t suffer at the hands of others and don’t stand by and watch others suffer. Be kind to yourself and others. Keep things simple, and be a sign of hope, freedom, and happiness for others. You’ll begin to feel the same energy resonate within you and experience a kind of lasting happiness that you won’t find from the excesses of the modern age.