Forced Love Isn’t Lasting Love

Love is a force that can blind us to reality.  Often, we see what we want and fail to listen to advice from others.  When love gets tricky, we become consumed with the issue to the point we struggle to identify any solutions.

This is particularly true when you find yourself in love with someone who is unable to fully return your affection.  This doesn’t always mean that they don’t want to, but more that they are unable to at this particular life stage.

You might find yourself begging for affections, crying out of frustration and able to talk to everyone about your woes, but them.  Consider how much they are able to listen and respond to you when you bring up these issues to your so-called partner.  Are you able to actually hear what they are saying to you?  Or do you become so consumed by waiting to hear what you want to hear.

Instead of focusing on how they are treating you, look instead at how you are treating yourself.  Are you acting like you love and respect yourself?  Are you turning down opportunities to spend time with your family and friends?  Are you able to be present in your work and community projects, or are you rushing home to attend to their needs?  It is important for you to take stock of your life and your needs and ensure you aren’t shortchanging yourself in order to try to make your “love” happy.

Choose to take a step back and focus on your physical and emotional needs first.  Get the appropriate health care team in place and work their program.  Next, make sure you are meeting all your work and volunteer obligations.  By focusing on yourself, you can more clearly see how this person fits into your life and whether they contribute to your well being.

If someone truly loves you, they will want you to be healthy and happy on your terms.  They will be actively invested in helping you maintain being a healthy individual.  Without the ability for you both to be healthy individuals, you will face unnecessary strain in your relationship.  Love means being aware of your individual needs and goals, while seeing your partner for who they are and not who you expect them to be.

If you are struggling in your relationship, you need to let go.  When you relinquish the need for control you can begin to understand that you are only able to be responsible for your actions and no one else’s.  Your partner’s shortcomings aren’t your burden to bear, but there’s.  When you see their shortcomings, you have a choice on how you act.  You can discuss your feelings, thoughts and perspectives with them, but afterwards it’s on them to implement behavioral changes and you must be accountable for your side of the dynamic.  If you still can’t work through the issues, even with professional help, consider that it might be time to end the romance.  It will ultimately be better for you to be friends than toxic lovers.

One of the greatest gifts we are giving in life is the gift of freewill.  No one ever wants to feel like a caged animal, or like they can only be loved conditionally.  The more and more we grasp at something, the fast we will fatigue and find that treasured item slipped from our exhausted grasp.

Listen and trust your inner wisdom.  If you feel like something is off, then it probably is.  You deserved to be loved passionately and without limits.  You deserve to have a true partner that can be your biggest cheerleader and staunchest advocate.  If they give you criticism, it should come from a loving place that helps you evolve into the best version of you possible.  They should be able to freely receive your love and affection.  They should be able to listen and process your feedback to be a strong individual and contribute to a healthy union.  Never waste time on a love that doesn’t fully respect you.  Those are hours and tears that you can never get back and will only serve to distract you from living a fulfilling existence.

When Loving Someone Isn’t Enough

Everyone loves to be in love. It gives you an exhilaration like no other. However, there are times when you realize that being in love just isn’t enough to make a relationship work.

There are many reasons why a relationship might not work even though there is love between you. It could be that you love the other person, but they aren’t reciprocating. It could be that there is love between both of you but there are just too many obstacles to overcome. Stress over finances, family differences, cultural issues or societal expectations can all play a role in failed relationships.

A cousin married his bride quickly. They knew each other for about three months before getting married and both were cautioned by others about the rapid pace. They were in love. Now, three years later, they are getting a divorce. In speaking with the bride, she said they loved each other “but had different goals.” She didn’t elaborate.

A long-term relationship, marriage especially, deserves some thought beyond feelings. Being with a person for the rest of your life means you will go through storms and bliss, ups and downs. It’s best to think through all the practicalities of the relationship instead of just falling headfirst into love.

Here are five things you should ask yourself when you think you may be in love to determine if this relationship has what it takes to survive:

  1. Do you feel good about yourself when you’re with this person?

A big red flag is being around them makes you feel insignificant or less than worthy. This could mean they are manipulative, narcissistic or controlling. People can use words to make others feel less than worthy. If you feel content and accepted, then great.

Along with that, your insecurities may be the cause of negative feelings. Determine if this is the case. If you have root security issues, try to work on those before getting involved with anyone.

Some people just aren’t suited for each other even though they love each other. This will pop up when you are around the other person and can contribute to how you feel when you are near them. If you are constantly trying to be something you aren’t or avoiding your feelings of isolation or insecurity, then there’s a good chance this person isn’t a good match.

  1. Do they see my needs as important as their own?

This is a crucial point in today’s world. A truly loving relationship means both parties look after the needs of the other person as much as their own, if not more. If the other person doesn’t see your needs as important, brushes them off, or flat out ignores them, then you shouldn’t be with them. Otherwise, you will be doing all the giving and will never feel fulfilled.

  1. Do you have the same core values?

This is probably the most important element in a successful relationship. Those who do not share the same core values are doomed from the start because it is these values that home and family are based upon.

Core values include things like:

Children, whether to have them and how to discipline them

Religion and how much effort should go into practicing it

Handling money and views on spending versus saving

Fidelity and what boundaries make for a faithful relationship

Family traditions and how to combine them into your home

Integrity and where lines are drawn

Health and how active you are in pursuing health

These are issues that are worth digging into before you get heavy into a relationship because they are the dealbreakers. Both may want children but have different ideas on how they should be raised and disciplined. One may want private school while the other may believe public school is the only way to go.

With religion, it isn’t enough to both be religious. There could be conflict over what denomination to join or how involved you should be with a church, synagogue, or mosque. Also, specific religious ideals should be discussed. You may be favorable to faith but open to others, but your partner believes in evangelical faith. This is, as the Bible says, “unequally yoked.”

Similar conversations need to flesh out money, fidelity, family traditions, integrity, and health. Generally, people may agree in principle on such matters, but implementing goals and plans is where two people can disagree.

For instance, a problem will arise if one person likes to spend money on luxuries while the other just wants to save. There will be a problem if one person thinks hanging out with friends of the opposite sex is fine while the other person thinks that is wrong. Some who are incredibly honest may have a problem if their partner puts in some tax deductions that aren’t valid. Someone who wants to go to the gym every day for a workout may find it taxing their partner won’t join them but once a month.

  1. Is this a person that will be with me through the trouble?

There is a movie line from the “Love Comes Softly” series where a young woman faces a proposal from a gentleman. He, a rich man, tells her they can have a fabulous life. She replies she doesn’t want the promise of a fabulous life. She wanted someone who will walk through trouble with her.

There is a certainty of life. Trouble will come. There is a saying that goes you are either going into trouble, coming out of trouble or are in trouble. You need to evaluate whether this person you love has the staying power through all of life’s challenges.

  1. Does this person improve your life?

This should be a fairly easy question to answer. Simply, is your partner helpful to you? Do they add to your life? Or do they leave you drained?

Answering this involves a couple of other thoughts. You need to know this person loves the real you, even the you that isn’t lovable. They need to be able to see you even on your darkest days and accept the totality of you that includes the quirky and ugly as well as your finer qualities.

Second, they need to be supportive of you reaching your dreams. This includes positive talk of your goals and also ways they find to help you reach your goals.

Finally, a question to ask is do they make you a better person? Their positive traits should be rubbing off on you as yours are improving their life.

Understanding that love is more than a feeling is important to finding the right person for a lifetime. Relying solely on the warm fuzzy feelings will always lead you down the wrong path to the wrong person. This is why most wedding vows state to enter into marriage “sober-minded” understanding all that is involved. If you can balance your feelings of love with a practical sense, you will find happiness in a relationship.

How to combat self-loathing

If you have ever encountered self-loathing, self-hatred or low self-esteem, you might have had thoughts like “I hate myself.” “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t excel in everything I do.” It can be demoralizing to have these thoughts and can lead to serious depression or other mental problems.

Are your self-hating thoughts problematic?

We have all had thoughts of self-hatred if not once or twice. Having a bit of self-consciousness is a good thing. It meaning we put our shortcomings into consideration. It is this awareness that contributes to our ability to be compassionate towards others. the most important part of growth and maturity is self-critique.

The problem comes when thoughts like; I don’t love myself dominate thinking.  You can be asked a few questions:

  • Do your self –hatred thoughts make it hard for you to achieve your goals of function well in life?
  • Can I do away with these thoughts or does it look like they just come into my head without permission?
  • Am I going through worthless moments, depression or, just general darkness that is linked to these thoughts?

How to cope with self-hating thoughts

Self-hatred and low self-esteem have certain degrees. Some of us just encounter these thoughts and feelings intermittently. To some, it is not easy to get a handle on since self-loathing is a constant reality. It doesn’t matter what the case might be, nobody should feel like they just have to cope with these feelings.

Believing that you deserve better is not easy, more so if you have lived with low-self-esteem for long. However, it’s possible to feel good about yourself and to just do away with those “I hate myself” thoughts.

Below are ways you can get started:

Meditate

This idea of meditation may sound relaxing especially to someone who has dark racing thoughts. However, unlike well-known belief, meditating doesn’t need you to stop thinking. It wants you to keep noticing them. You should become more mindful of your thoughts and then decide what to do with them, whether to ignore them, acknowledge them or react to them.

Journal

At times the only way to release our thoughts is just moving them from inside our head to a different medium. You don’t have to write complete sentences to do journaling. Just take 5 minutes and write everything that’s going on in your mind, it can be therapeutic and is likely to give you a little perspective.

Speak to a counselor

Knowing where your self-hatred originates from is not easy and for many of us, we prefer doing so under the care of a therapist. A good counselor may help you know why you have low self-esteem.

They can even help you with things you can to heal. I know it’s not easy to speak to a therapist for the first time, but trust you me, a therapist knows it all and cannot judge you.

Be around positive people

You should know how some people have contributed to your negative thoughts especially when you are in the process of understanding your feelings of self-loathing. Choose to be around people who uplift you and inspire you to do better. You will lead a happy life when you have these people to guide you.

How to Easily Manage Your Anxiety

Anxiety, just reading the name alone can trigger its symptoms for so many of us!  The worry, fear, and nervousness are felt at multiples levels and can be expressed in a variety of ways.  Emotional expression of anxiety can be one of panic.  Mentally anxiety cause us to ruminate over our concerns causing a state of analysis paralysis.  Physically, hearts can race and breathing becomes shallower.  Our bodies can begin sweating, trembling and contribute to a lowering of our immune system.  The good news is that there are simple ways to help ease the effects of anxiety.  Read on, and try the following four ways to reduce the effect of anxiety in your life.

  1. Don’t Forget to Breathe!

During an anxiety attack people become so consumed by their worries that they forget the simple act of breathing.  Although it may feel difficult, when the concerns start clouding your ability to be you, create a moment of rest and taking a mindful cleansing breath.  This act will shift your focus back to the present where you have the ability to take immediate steps to fix your issues.

If you have more time to devote to mindful breathing, consider creating a grounding mantra.  Mantras can help you settle more deeply into your breathing and allow you to experience greater relaxation.  Breathing exercises in general, allow people to focus more on the present and creates space to listen to one’s Inner Voice.

Begin by getting into a comfortable position and close your eyes.  Mindfully, inhale slowly and then exhale equally as slow through your nose.  Focus on this present moment.  Allow a mantra to come into your mind that brings you a sense of direction and comfort.  On your next inhale visualize the first half of the mantra.  On the next exhale visualize the second half.  Repeat tying your mantra to your breath for a few more cycles.  When you feel calmer, open your eyes, slowly release from your position, and return to your daily routine.

  1. Nonjudgmentally Explore the Roots of Your Insecurities

Anxiety is a vicious cycle.  We worry and therefore release adrenaline that can tax our body and causes us to worry more.  We can be so caught in this loop that we fail to look at what is really bothering us and why.  To begin to ease the effects of anxiety we must understand what is really behind our concerns and why.  It is important to create space and time to explore your thoughts and feelings without feelings of shame or guilt.  One of the best ways to process your thoughts, feelings and emotions is by writing in a journal.  You might also find working with a therapist or trusted confidante to be especially helpful at not just understand what is going on in your mind, but how to create steps towards healing.

  1. Understand What you Can and Cannot Fix

Do you often find yourself worrying about things that are illusions or unlikely to occur?  It happens to us all from time to time, but there is little benefit from focusing on unrealistic thoughts.  Instead of fixating on these nerve-wracking illusions, choose to focus on aspects of your life that are within your control.  The unknown is scary, but it also can provide us valuable lessons.  Greet the crossroads in your life with a sense of gratitude and preparedness.  By create small simple steps toward success on your journey you can help ease the “gremlins” or limiting beliefs in your mind.

Consider a fear of meeting a new person after being hurt in a previous relationship.  Begin by thanking the universe for no longer wasting your precious time and energy on an unfulfilling romance.  If you have one main interest that you couldn’t share with your last partner consider focusing your dating search around this key passion of yours.  This way instead of feeling anxiety prior to a date and being consumed by thoughts of if and how this new person could hurt you, you can breathe and focus on how this new person experience joy from your shared passion.  By centering your attitude around positivity, you can feel more in control and peaceful when facing a new scenario.

  1. Ground Yourself!

If you find your anxiety spiking, breathe and focus your attention onto something that brings you peace.  Try listening to music, going for a walk, meditating. or being creative.  By finding enjoyment and peace you can better regulate your heartrate and breathing.  Soon you will find your concerns being transformed into something more productive, and you can begin to heal yourself in a proactive way.

Ignoring Mr. Wrong

Do you need to know how to ignore guys that you aren’t interested in?  Do you fall for the wrong guy but have to walk away?  It is easier to talk about than to do it.  There are ways you can ignore Mr. Wrong.

Deserve

If you ignore you or treats you bad then you need to get rid of him.  Tell yourself that you need to not be treated like that.  If he is mean, he isn’t the right guy for you.

Sometimes you need to just ignore him and go your own way.  Walk away and find someone else.

Keep Cool

Control yourself when he comes to you and don’t be rude to him but let him down easy.  Say just a few words so you don’t attach to him and send him on his way.

Have different schedules when you have to be around each other and hang out with your friends more and tell them you don’t want to see him anymore.  They will be on your side.

Ignore him and the feelings that you had for him.  Try new things and stay busy.

Tune Him Out

When he comes around, pretend he isn’t there.  Don’t let him comment to you and get on your nerves or you will lose it.

Tell yourself that you are making a good decision to let him go.  You will be better off without him.

Pay Attention

Make sure you pay attention to your happiness and if he doesn’t bring you happiness then walk away from him before it is too late.

 

Relieving Stress in All Situations

Stress is just a part of life. It affects your overall well-being. You won’t always have control over your circumstances, but you can control your response to them. It helps to have effective techniques to relieve stress, but unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method. Besides, what works when you’re at home may not be usable when you’re working or running errands.

So, it helps to know of multiple stress relief techniques that work for you. This will allow you to choose the technique that will work best in whatever your current situation may be.

All-Purpose Stress-Relief

The best stress relief techniques can be practiced anywhere, don’t cost anything, take little practice to master, and bring about immediate relief.

Here are five common techniques that fit those requirements:

  1. Visualization

Visualization simply involves imaging yourself in your “happy place.” It’s like a short vacation in your mind. To practice visualization, simply close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful setting. Focus on each sensory experience, and let yourself feel as if you’’re actually there. For example, picture yourself sitting on a beach. Hear the waves, smell the ocean, and feel the warm sand beneath you. After a few minutes, just open your eyes and return to the present.

  1. Meditation

There are many different meditation techniques. You may develop a mantra to repeat mentally as you take deep, slow breaths. Or practice mindfulness, which focuses your awareness on the present moment, leaving no room for rumination about past events or for worry over the future.

  1. Release Muscle Tension

Recognizing and addressing muscle tightness and tension allows you to relax more easily. Progressive muscle relaxation is the group-by-group relaxation of all of your muscles. To practice, take a few deep breaths. Then, tighten and relax each muscle group, starting with your toes and moving up to your forehead.

  1. Just Breathe

Focusing on your breathing calms your brain and your body in just a couple minutes, and nobody else will know you’re doing them. So, breathing exercises can help reduce your stress even if you’re in a stressful meeting or a crowded theater. Here are two simple breathing exercises:

  • Inhale through your nose and count slowly to three as you fill your lungs with air. Hold for one second, then count slowly to three again as you breathe out through your nose.
  • Breathe in through your nose while imagining you’re inhaling calm, peaceful air. Visualize that air dispersing throughout your body. As you breathe out, imagine that you’re exhaling tension and stress.
  1. Go for a Walk

Taking walks will treat you to a change of scenery, getting you into a fresh frame of mind. They also include the benefits of exercise. Whether you take a break from a frustrating task by strolling around the office, or you decide to meander through a park after dinner, walking will reinvigorate your body, mind, and spirit.

At-Home Stress-Relief

These three stress relief techniques will help you relax when you’re in the privacy of your home:

  1. Physical Touch

Physical touch, such as snuggling with or hugging a loved one, is an underrated way to reduce stress. Snuggling releases oxytocin, which is nicknamed the “love hormone.” Oxytocin raises happiness levels while lowering stress levels, decreasing blood pressure, and reducing stress hormones.

  1. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy helps you feel energized, more relaxed, and more present in the moment. And certain plant extracts and essential oils affect brain waves and reduce stress hormone levels. Aromatherapy can involve candles, diffusers, and body products.

  1. Be Creative

Creating artwork has a meditative effect. Being creative is easy for children, but it’s not too late for adults to start. Try painting or drawing, or color in a coloring book. Anxiety levels decline when people color complex geometric patterns, which makes coloring an excellent stress-reducing activity.

Long-Term Stress-Relief

It’s important to create a lifestyle that will help you face challenges and combat stress in a healthy way.

These six habits promote stress resilience and increase general wellness:

  1. Eat Well

An unhealthy diet brings greater susceptibility to stress. Comfort food, high-sugar, and high-fat foods provide temporary stress relief, but only compound long-term stress. Refined carbohydrates, such as sweets and salty snacks, cause blood sugar to spike. When blood sugar levels inevitably crash, many people experience increased anxiety and stress. A healthy diet helps combat stress. Foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and nuts and seeds help balance energy, reduse tension, and regulate moods.

  1. Take Time Off

Leisure activities are a great way to reduce stress. Including downtime in your schedule will help you feel your best. Leisure time will make your work time more productive, because when people feel good, they function more efficiently.

  1. Speak Positively to Yourself

Self-talk matters. Self-criticism and self-doubt are never helpful and only serve to stress you out. Talk to yourself in a compassionate, more realistic manner. Instead of calling yourself names or doubting your ability to succeed, engage in a gentler inner dialogue. This will help you develop a more positive outlook and successfully manage your emotions.

  1. Practice Yoga

Yoga combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing, all of which provide physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. You’ll definitely reap benefits from doing yoga once. But consistently incorporating yoga into your life will yield long-term benefits. To get started, enroll in a class, explore an online program, or find a yoga app.

  1. Be Grateful

Expressing gratitude makes you conscious of everything you have in your life to be thankful for. Ponder all of the good things, even if they seem insignificant: It’s a sunny day. You safely got to work. Make it a habit to express what you’re thankful for. Start a gratitude journal, or discuss gratitude with your family as you sit together at dinner.

  1. Exercise

Physical activity improves mental health and helps manage stress. There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your day—join a gym, take a class, or exercise outside.

Finding your optimal stress relief strategies will take time and practice. But it’s important to have techniques to successfully navigate the unavoidable ups and downs of life.

How to start a new day on a clean slate

Below are ways you can start your day on a clean slate:

  1. Be grateful

This keeps you at the moment when you pay attention to something or someone. Regardless of what happens, you are grateful it happened. It keeps you in the now.

  1. Make a No “What Ifs” Rule

Doing away with what might hinder you from moving on. You might be thinking every time of what you should have done differently. Just know that you didn’t do anything and move on if you find yourself thinking a “what if”.

  1. Let your past make you stronger

You are likely to tell a story that doesn’t paint a flattering picture. Try thinking that your situation has a position of power.

  1. Get physical

Exercise, register for yoga or dancing classes. Your brain will be busy doing something other than focusing on your past if you choose an activity that needs you to focus or balance a sequence of motions.

  1. Have a to-do list

Having an everyday schedule hinders you from feeling ungrounded. You will not regret it if you have something that keeps you busy every day.

  1. Go outside

You can use nature to sweep away bad energies since it’s like a natural reset button. The chemical excretes when you receive fresh air and sunshine help to overcome the ones you release when you are sad or anxious.

  1. Happiness is a choice, do not forget that

You have the choice to be happy in every moment. Everything else can be taken away from you, but you have the freedom of choosing your attitude in any situation.

  1. Begin with affirmation

You will be more focused on the present and in the future if you start your day with thoughts like, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life” or “I’m excited about what today will bring”. Have a positive affirmation and say it before starting your day.

  1. End the day positively

Sleeping at night is not easy if you keep thinking about what could have happened. Count your blessings every day. It makes you wake up positively and start your day on a clean slate.

  1. Do not compare

Do not compare your life to those of others. Social media has a way of making us think our friends are better than us.

Life is not a competition. Where you at the moment is perfect for you, or else you wouldn’t be there.

Ways of releasing bad patterns effectively

Negative patterns are habits and behaviors that hold us back from accomplishing all that we want and make it hard for us to develop and have self-realization. Regardless of who we are or what we do, we all possess them as they are part of everyday life. Our success and well-being depend on us releasing these unproductive patterns, it doesn’t matter who we are.  I am going to help you understand why we have bad patterns and how we can use skills to release them.

Negative patterns. Below are a few examples of negative patterns. You may possess some of these:

  • Having negative thoughts
  • Not paying attention
  • Avoiding responsibility
  • Blaming and criticizing others
  • Agreeing to all assumptions
  • Not embracing transformation
  • Not valuing yourself
  • Complaining
  • Overthinking
  • Not eating healthy
  • Addiction
  • Being indecisive
  • Lack of self-control
  • Withdrawing
  • Ineffective communication
  • Being disorganized
  • Procrastinating

Prepare a list of your negative patterns and be ready to be truthful. You can seek opinions from friends if you want to spot them, but I’d also suggest practicing mindfulness so that you can pay much attention to your thoughts and habits without discriminating or judging them.

Other times these negative patterns are just part of us but we do not want to embrace them and therefore decides to project them to others. Due to this, we need to develop self-acceptance and take responsibility for the bad and the good things in our lives. Mindfulness helps us to accept rather than live in denial.

 Why we have negative patterns?

Negative patterns give us feedback on our personal growth and self-development. Instead of seeing them as faults, we can see them as benefits, something we can benefit from.

We can learn through self-awareness how to identify something better for us when we have negative patterns. Just like muscles, our personalities also use resistance to grow.

Bouncing back and healing from depression

Below are ways you can bounce back from depression:

  1. Acknowledge the happenings.

Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step to transformation. It’s not that you are surrendering, it’s just the opposite of refusal. Do not live in denial, seek a solution to the problem. Acceptance is not easy especially in a world where depression is seen as something bad. But it’s very important.

  1. Keep away from negative energy

Although no one can fix your struggle, those that can’t help will hurt you more. Embrace only positive vibes and do away with people who try to make you feel bad about your situation.

  1. Communicate with friends and family

It’s not easy to ask for help, depressed people love doing things on their own. But when they get the courage to speak about what they are going through, they can’t stop. You’ll be surprised at how people embrace you.

Your people, especially friends and family, will listen patiently and won’t complain that you are now becoming a burden to them. They will encourage you and some will even share their struggles with you too.

  1. Get professional help and don’t be afraid to do it

You might have a bad attitude towards therapy. However, you shouldn’t fear anything or fear being judged. Before seeking professional help, you can speak to someone about your situation. You’ll gain confidence.

Several individuals don’t want to seek help due to fear of the unknown and they just keep figuring out what might be wrong with them. At times, it’s only through professional help that you can be helped.

We usually don’t think twice when we want to see a doctor for a sore throat or aching ankle, so why should you hesitate to see a therapist. Just do it.

  1. Treat yourself well

A malnourished body will make your mind weak. Running won’t cure your depression but exercising and eating well will help maintain your body. You might decide not to do it for a while but you’ll see the consequences of such.

3 Great Ideas to Simplify Your Life

Are you one of the millions of people who are overwhelmed by the number of choices and options we face on a daily basis these days?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The proof is in the countless number of self-help books and articles about simple living. And, while one would think that a book about simple living would be, well.. simple, they are often not. Some of them boast as many as 1,500 ways to simplify life. That’s around 10 times the amount of tips that the average person can read, process, remember and utilize in everyday life.

To make matters worse, a lot of these books will tell you that getting rid of most of your stuff will simplify your life. But, if you live a complicated life and have a cluttered mind, getting rid of the clutter in your environment is only one way to deal with the problem. It’s certainly not a total solution. In other words, an organized sock drawer may make you feel better about your sock storage decisions, but won’t have much effect on the rest of your life.

Simple living is less about how much stuff you have and more about making better decisions

You can live a minimalist life with a clutter- free environment and still have a cluttered mind. Today we have so many choices and options that it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all, which leaves most people at a standstill, choosing to make NO decision. Before we take any action, we make a decision, and before we make a decision we are given a number of choices. So in order to simplify life, it makes sense to limit your choices so that decisions are easier and more actions are likely to be taken. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll receive by limiting your options:

You’ll be less overwhelmed with daily life

Imagine that you’ve decided to subscribe to a streaming service, such as Netflix, only to discover that they offer 30 different plans which they think will fit the needs of their customers. It’s not likely that you’ll read through all 30 plans and choose one. Instead, you’ll go find a service that offers three plans, and then choose one of those. You actually do things similar to this all the time in various aspects of your life and don’t realize it. So, starting out with fewer options saves you some time and stress.

You’ll make better decisions

Decision fatigue is a very real thing. Ray F. Baumeister, a social psychologist, conducted a series of experiments on undergraduates. The results showed that making decisions requires mental energy, and that we have a limit to that energy.

The undergraduates were asked to perform tasks which required them to make a decision and use willpower to accomplish. They were less able to make decisions and fight off temptation during the next task.

Basically, the findings were this: you’re less able to make good decisions after you’ve already made a lot of decisions.

The fewer options you have, the more objective you’ll be

With fewer options, you’ll be less likely to be tempted by an overly indulgent choice.

Consider a buff and. If you’re on a diet, a buffet with many options will make the decision to eat healthy food a hard one. But, picking the healthiest food out of three options is far easier. Having fewer options makes decision-making a lot easier.

How to limit your options and simplify your life

Now that you know about the benefits of having fewer options, here are three ideas you can use to simplify your life:

  1. Cut down on the options you have in daily life

There are number of decisions you make every day, such as what you wear, what you eat and what route you take to get to work. So, take time to think about how to simplify them.

When it comes to choosing what to wear, there are several ways to simplify this decision. You could plan your outfits the night before, or plan them for the week. Or, you could find a simple signature style combination. Steve Jobs liked a black turtleneck and jeans, Mark Zuckerberg likes gray T-shirts, and the Queen of England is partial to picking a dress with a brooch that matches it.

When it comes to making decisions about food, you have some options to simplify this process, as well. Planning your meals for the week cuts down on indecisiveness. And prepping your meals for the week ensures that you’ll stick to your plans.

  1. Think about what’s most important to you

Let’s say you’re trying to make a decision between two job offers. One is an hour and a half commute and pays more. The other is closer to home and pays less. So the choice here is about whether the long commute is worth it to you for the extra pay.

Many of the decisions in our lives come and go. But if we know what’s important to us and what’s negotiable, they’re easier to make.

  1. Use your imagination

One easy way to decide on what you want to eat is to imagine what each one of your  choices taste like. You can also imagine how your stomach will feel after you’ve eaten it. Will you be pleasantly full, or full of indigestion? Does the orange chicken or the pepper steak jump out at you?

This works with other decisions, as well. If you choosing between working for someone full time and freelancing, think about how you’ll feel. If the thought of drumming up your own business is stressful, rather than exciting, it’s easier to make the decision to steer clear of it.

You’ll be surprised how often this exercise helps you through daily decisions.

Our lives are full of decisions. But, we tend to overwhelm ourselves with so many choices that we choose to make no choice.

Confucius said: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

When we get overwhelmed by our choices and make no choices, we make no decisions and therefore take no action. Taking no action could lead to an unfulfilled life.

But, what if the act of streamlining the decision-making process could lead to an action that actually gives you the life that you want? You’ll never know if you don’t try. Try these three ideas today. If nothing else, they’ll make make life easier.