Latest Guide on How Live a Simple Life and Be Happy

how to live a simple life

Have you ever noticed how happy people are while living a simple life? Did it make you think, “How can I be happy with simplicity?”

If so, wonderful! Embracing a simple life, where you focus on what truly matters and let go of unnecessary things, can profoundly impact your inner happiness.

In your pursuit of happiness, simple living, also known as voluntary simplicity, offers an alternative to the constant desire for more. It’s a way of creating an exceptionally happy life while living simply.

I experience this concept every time I visit my home country of the Dominican Republic, where I see some of the happiest people living the simplest life.

As a child, I learned early on that happiness was not about things but about celebrating life, regardless of circumstances. I took those lessons to create a sustainably happy life while living simply still today. Both science and my own experience has taught me how to live a simple life and be happy.


Why a Simple Life is a Happy Life

Research conducted by Joshua Hook and his team at the University of North Texas found that over 80% of studies examining the link between simplicity and happiness reported positive results. 

Interestingly, simplicity benefits those with limited income or later life stages. These individuals experienced a stronger connection between simplicity and happiness. 

So often, there are societal messages that happiness lives in materialism, which is far from the truth and the research.

You will learn ways to live a simple life and increase your happiness.


20 Ways to Live Simply and Happily

1. Self-Reflection

Before embracing a simpler, happier life, you’ll need to understand what truly matters to you to live a happy life.

What are your core values, your deepest desires, and your non-negotiables? 

Knowing these will guide you as you choose what to keep in your life and what to let go.

Begin by taking some quiet time to reflect. Ask yourself what brings you genuine joy. 

Is it time spent with family or friends? Is it pursuing a passion or hobby? Is it doing meaningful work? The answers to these questions will provide a compass, pointing you toward what truly matters in your life.

Aligning your life with your values may require making changes. You might find that you’ve been giving time and energy to things that aren’t truly important to you. 

Recognizing this about yourself is a significant step towards living a simpler, happier life. It’s not about getting rid of everything; it’s about keeping what’s truly meaningful and letting go of the rest. 

Remember, the goal isn’t to do more but to be more in order to have a simple life and be happy.


2. Clear Physical Clutter

The space we live in mirrors our minds. Our space is one of the ways that we can live a simple life and be happy at the same time.

When our surroundings are cluttered, our minds tend to be cluttered too. 

That’s why decluttering your physical space can have profound psychological benefits. It can reduce anxiety, boost mood, and improve focus and productivity. 

So how do you go about decluttering? Start small. Pick one area of your home or one aspect of your life. 

Decluttering can be as simple as your desk, wardrobe, or daily routine. Take everything out, physically or metaphorically, and only put back what brings you joy or serves a purpose. 

Reducing your things to just what makes you happy can be freeing and help you recognize what’s truly important.

Do this monthly to ensure you keep only what matters to you.


Clear your mental clutter

3. Clear Mental Clutter

Just as physical clutter can weigh you down, so can mental clutter. 

Mental clutter can include anything from a busy schedule and constant multitasking to negative thoughts and unresolved emotions. 

Mental clutter can lead to stress and unhappiness and distract you from the present moment.

So, how can you clear your mental clutter? Techniques like mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools. 

Mindfulness and meditation allow you to pause, step back from your life’s business, and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. 

As a Happiness and Manifestation Coach, I use mindfulness daily to clear the mental clutter. It’s an easy way to return to the present moment and what truly matters during the day.


4. Practicing Gratitude 

Alongside decluttering, practicing gratitude can significantly enhance your happiness. 

Gratitude shifts your focus from what you think is missing in your life to appreciating what you have. 

It’s about recognizing the good around you, even in the simplest things, like a warm cup of coffee or a beautiful sunset. Simplicity in life is how one can live a happy life.


5. Avoid Comparison

One thing that often stands in the way of happiness is the tendency to compare ourselves to others. 

When we compare, we tend to feel inadequate, leading to lower self-esteem and happiness. 

It’s easy to look at someone else’s life, especially on social media, and feel like they have it better. 

But remember, what you’re seeing is a highlight reel, not the whole picture.

So, how do you stop comparing? Start by recognizing your worth and focusing on your personal growth. 

Everyone has a unique journey with different experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. Instead of comparing, try celebrating your progress and achievements. 

Remember that your value doesn’t decrease based on someone else’s success.


6. Do a Social Media Detox

Speaking of comparison, social media can often amplify these feelings. 

While it can be an excellent tool for connection, it can also negatively impact our mental health and happiness. 

Seeing everyone else’s “perfect” lives can make you feel like you’re not enough or missing out.

That’s why taking regular breaks from social media, a social media detox, can be beneficial. It allows you to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with yourself and the world around you. 

During these breaks, you might find more time for activities that you enjoy and make you feel good, like reading, walking, or spending time with people you love.


7. Simplify Your Daily Tasks

If your daily tasks and activities are making you feel overwhelmed or stressed, it’s time to simplify them.

One way is by batching tasks by grouping similar tasks and doing them all at once. For example, instead of checking your emails throughout the day, set aside specific times to review them all simultaneously.

Another strategy is to automate what you can. It might mean setting up automatic bill payments or using a meal planning and grocery list app. 

Streamlining frees up mental energy for things that bring you joy and fulfillment.


8. Connect with Nature

Connecting with nature is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to find happiness. 

Spending time outdoors has many physical and mental health benefits. It can reduce stress, improve mood, increase energy levels, and even improve physical health.

But it’s not just about the health benefits. Being in nature can also help you appreciate the simple things in life. 

The sound of birds singing, the feel of the wind on your face, the sight of a beautiful sunset – these simple pleasures remind you that happiness often comes from the simplest things. 

So, try to incorporate nature into your daily life. It could be as simple as a walk in the park, gardening, or even just sitting outside for a few minutes each day.


Focus on experiences to be happier.

9. Focus on Experiences, Not Material Possessions

In today’s consumer-driven society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that material possessions bring happiness. 

But studies have shown that experiences, not things, make us happier in the long run. Experiences become a part of our identity, provide lasting memories, and can often lead to more social interaction.

That’s not to say that all material possessions are bad. 

But it’s important to recognize that happiness comes from within, not from what we own. 

So, instead of buying that new gadget or piece of clothing, consider investing in an experience. It could be a trip, a class, or even a day out with friends or family.


10. Cultivate Strong Relationships

Strong relationships are one of the most important aspects of a simple, happy life. 

Humans are social creatures, and we thrive with solid and positive relationships. Investing in these relationships can bring you great joy and fulfillment.

It also means letting go of relationships that are toxic or draining. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity. 


11. Make Better Lifestyle Choices

Physical health is often closely tied to happiness. 

Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and ensuring enough sleep are vital ingredients to a happier life. These elements improve your physical wellbeing and boost your mood and energy levels.

I found that my happiness increased when I thought about my nutrition as a way to fuel my body. I made better choices in what I used to do so, which also included prioritizing sleep as a way to fuel my body.

Start small with achievable goals. Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals. Take a short walk every day. Aim for a regular sleep schedule. 

Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. The goal is to make these habits a natural part of your daily routine.


12. Maintain Financial Simplicity

Financial stress can be a significant hindrance to happiness. 

This is where the concept of financial minimalism comes in. It’s all about simplifying your financial goals and living within your means.

Start by understanding your income and expenses. 

Create a budget that covers your needs and leaves room for savings. 

Avoid unnecessary debt and live within your means. Remember, more money or possessions don’t necessarily equate to more happiness. 

It’s about finding contentment with what you have and focusing on your financial health.


13. Embrace Imperfection

Embracing imperfection can contribute to a simpler, happier life. This concept is often associated with the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which finds beauty in imperfection and transience.

This means accepting ourselves and our lives, flaws and all. It means letting go of the pursuit of perfection and appreciating things as they are. 

After all, life is beautifully imperfect, and so are we. Embrace it, and you’ll find a more profound sense of simplicity and happiness.


14. Learn New Skills

Learning new skills stimulates your brain and boosts your confidence and self-sufficiency. 

Whether it’s cooking, gardening, or learning a new language, acquiring new skills can lead to feelings of competence and satisfaction.

Fortunately, there are countless resources to help you learn almost anything. I’ve used websites like Coursera or Khan Academy, which offer free courses on various subjects. Books and podcasts are also accessible ways to learn new things.

Remember, the journey of learning is just as important as the destination. 


15. Help Others

Helping others isn’t just good for the world but also for you. 

Volunteering and altruistic behaviors have been shown to offer numerous psychological benefits. They can provide a sense of purpose and increase happiness as you live simply.

Start small. Look for local volunteer opportunities or consider ways you can help those around you. 

Remember, even the smallest act of kindness can significantly impact yourself and others.


16. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for personal peace and happiness. Holding onto grudges can weigh you down, while forgiveness allows you to let go and move forward.

Practicing forgiveness isn’t always easy, but some strategies can help. 

Start by acknowledging your feelings and the hurt. Then try to empathize with the other person and understand their perspective. 

Finally, make the conscious decision to forgive. I think of this to release. It’s not about forgetting the past but choosing not to let it control your future.


17. Reduce Your Screen Time

Excessive screen time can affect our mental health and overall quality of life. It can disrupt your sleep, increase stress levels, and even lead to feelings of isolation.

Managing screen time doesn’t mean you must completely give up your devices.  

Start by setting boundaries. Dedicate specific hours of the day to be screen-free.  

Use this time to engage in hobbies, spend time with yourself, or relax. Apps like “Screen Time” or “Digital Wellbeing” can help monitor and control device use.


18. Practice Mindful Consumption

Mindful consumption is about making thoughtful decisions about what we consume, whether food, clothing, or even media. It’s about recognizing your needs versus your wants and making choices that align with your values.

Mindful consumption promotes simplicity and happiness by reducing waste, saving money, and fostering an appreciation for the things you do have.  

Start by asking yourself: Do I really need this? How will it add value to my life? The answers will help you determine whether you should get the item. And you’ll be surprised how often you don’t.


19. Develop a Positive Mindset

The power of positive thinking is your superpower.

Optimism and resilience aren’t just feel-good buzzwords—they’re vital components of a happy, simple life.

Cultivating a positive mindset isn’t about ignoring life’s challenges. It’s about learning to approach them with a sense of hope and resilience.  

Start by practicing self-compassion. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small.  

Surround yourself with positive influences.  

Remember, your mindset is like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets.


20. Create a Personal Sanctuary

A personal sanctuary is a space to relax, reflect, and recharge. It could be a corner of your home, a quiet park, or even a favorite coffee shop. The key is to make it a place that brings you peace and joy.

Your sanctuary should reflect your personality and needs. Like me, if you’re a nature lover, it might be filled with plants. If you’re an artist, it might be your studio. Create your special place and make it yours.  


Can I be happy with simplicity


How can I be happy with simplicity?

Yes, per the experience of many and the science of happiness, you can be happy with simplicity.

In fact, in one study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that materialism decreases your wellbeing and does not make you happier.

Numerous studies, such as one published in  Frontiers in Psychology, found that experiences, not things, increase wellbeing.

Happiness is often found in the simple things in life through living a simple life.

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