all you need is less? – ideas for enjoying a slower and more mindful life

If you already read some previous posts, you know that I am a big fan of minimalism. After excessive consuming when I was younger, I started to basically clean up my life. I sorted out my books, I sorted out my clothes, I sorted out actually every corner of my life. My goal was to only own the things that give me a warm feeling of love when I think about them or own the things that are truly essential for me in order to live the life that I choose to live. While backpacking, I realized that I even needed less than I what I owned before I left Germany – and I already thought that this was pretty minimalistic. For me, it’s not about fueling my ego by being able to live off as few things as somehow possible, for me it is simply about the headspace for inspiration that appears when I don’t think about things that don’t actually matter. Being mindful and thinking for a second time about what you choose what to buy turned out to be some kind of magical key for the human being that tends to find their comfort in unhealthy extremes. Right now, I am at a point where I believe that the mindfulness and the consciousness that appears when you choose to become more minimalistic – even if it’s only in one single part of life when we start – are the key to live a happy and fulfilled life. We actually need very little since we already are born whole and can find everything that we need by looking within ourselves. Realizing that that fulfillment is not found by owning more things, but by owning less and choosing to turn inward instead.

Nevertheless, even though I became really minimalistic when it came to the things I belonged, there were still other parts of my life left behind in which the mindfulness I desired was still missing. I was constantly doing things in order to run behind a feeling of being and having enough. With having enough, I thought that some feeling of comfortable satisfaction would follow. Well, I never really had enough and therefore I never felt like I was enough either. I always tried to do more every day and by doing so, I lost that first taste of consciousness and mindfulness that owning less once brought with it. I got completely addicted to forcing productivity. I felt guilty for sleeping more than five hours a day, for losing even just a few minutes of time, for not taking every hour of the day to work on achieving something. I got lost in that addiction of more in another form than consume. I tried to run after something while I was actually running in the complete wrong direction of what I was truly dreaming about. I was basically looking for it in the wrong corner of life. Before I was able to stop after I realized what I was doing, my health really began to go down. I constantly felt tired, angry, depressed or empty. ”Feel the shit to feel the shift”, right? I realized that the satisfaction I was seeking for by always doing more never showed up.

After I finished school, I started to fall into the other extreme right away (didn’t I already mention that extremes are my kind comfortable cave haha?) I didn’t do anything at all anymore and binged on of food everyday instead – by doing so – my mind probably escaped into the next temporary extreme. It made me suffer even more since I felt so incredible guilty for all of my actions. I am still not completely free from binge eating but during the past months I feel like I have been slowly led on a path on a path where I am now more conscious than ever before. When there are moments where I am not mindful because of tiredness or stress – it still happens that I give into that little ego voice wanting me to stuff my face with more and more food. Luckily, I am at a point right now where I am able to get out of that cycle quite quickly and I can remind myself that this will not fulfill me for longer than ten minutes while the unconditional love I can choose to give myself in these moments is what will eventually heal me forever and deeply.

During my months of traveling, I was so free of that addiction of achieving and doing more that once drove me through my days. I almost forgot about it. Since I am back to Germany and I am back to the usual surroundings I spent the past years with, I got really aware of that feeling that I don’t need to have more or eat more to be happy, but to do more in order to be happy since my awareness is not so consumed by seeing new places everyday anymore. Well, I still choose to be as mindful as I can everyday, and even though I wouldn’t call myself being an addict to doing more at all anymore – since I do way less and I feel quite alright by doing so, I still get that tricky feeling some days that something is missing and that I should do more in order to fulfill that need. Instead of listening to that little ego voice and trying to do as much as I can, I center myself and become aware of the present moment. To do that, I practice gratitude and remind myself of the beautiful truth that everything that I need is already there, already within myself. That simple reminder helps me so much to enjoy the present moment, to enjoy the time I spend here writing while discovering a new café instead of constantly stressing myself and making plans in my head of everything that I need to do today in order to get and be enough. All I need to do is to live more mindful and take the minimalism I used to practice to a whole new level by choosing a slower and more conscious life. A life that allows me to see the true beauty and worth of everything that I get to experience. A life that allows me to be happy instead of being stared of just being what I truly am.

Maybe you find yourself in a situation quite similar. Maybe you are already a minimalist when it comes to what you have, and you are doing your best to become a mindful minimalist when it comes to what you eat – but, when it comes to what you do, you are not a minimalist at all and even find yourself being scared of just being present in that human experience. Therefore, I want to share some tips with you today how to live slower, more mindful and embody the minimalistic way of living also on the aspect of what you do. And even though I hope that my tips can improve your daily life, I believe that there are also so many other tips for allowing yourself to live the mindful and slow life you desire that I don’t know anything about yet – I would be more than happy if you share your own tips in the comments as well.

TIPS FOR A SLOW AND MINDFUL WAY OF LIVING

ONE – define what is important to you – we can create so much more beautiful time to be filled with simple positivity when we start defining what is truly important for us. When we decide to only do what we love for the main part of our day and say no to everything that we don’t want to do. There are many habits that we simply have without loving to do them or needing to follow them. Do you really love scrolling through your Instagram feed, watch five youtube videos in a row, go to a manicure or go shopping once again? Skip the things that you don’t need and want to do but choose to follow your passions instead.

TWO – awareness for details – we all experience waiting time everyday. Instead of distracting ourselves by scrolling through our phone or spending that waiting time with stressful thinking, we can choose mindful being as well. We can simply focus on observing the present moment and enjoy the positive details every moment brings. In the end, your life is not about the amount of years, but about the amount of life within your years. Choose mindful quality time instead of more.

THREE – one thing at a time – enjoy every experience of life to the fullest – instead of doing multi-tasking, try doing one thing at a time for the next time you want to do it. Dive fully into that experience, as simple as it may be.

FOUR – enjoy silence – there is so much noise all around us that we can simply remove in order to create and enjoy more silence. Turn off useless noises of your phone or the radio. Instead, choose mindful what you want to listen to. There is an abundance of knowledge to soak up online, become silent and think if you really feel like drawing your attention to that right now, or if you maybe rather want to experience the beautiful silence for some minutes before you start doing something else again.

FIVE – create space in your life – maybe you think that a more mindful and slower living would be a good thing, but you feel like there is no way to fit that way of living into your busy schedule. Remind yourself that being busy is a choice and that there are many little changes that you can make in order to add more space to be mindful and practice simply being present. One thing that you could do is to wake up earlier in order to be able to have a slow and mindful morning without stress, just for yourself. Another change could be more offline time.

SIX – embrace boredom – the beautiful truth is that boredom is not a bad thing at all. Boredom actually gets the wonderful creativity of yours flowing. In our society being bored is definitely not known as something to be proud of. Fair enough since always being bored definitely isn’t. But –  some boredom everyday is a beautiful thing. As children, didn’t we all have the best ideas when we were bored? Right, so turning off your phone and enjoying the simplicity of silence is a magical key to tune into your creativity. One example, after my one hour morning run this morning, I wanted to go for a one hour walk afterwards – I usually Iisten to music or grow my mind by listening to an interesting podcast or even read a book while walking sometimes. Well, this morning, the battery of my phone got empty and therefore I just walked in silence for one hour. Guess what, so many new and creative ideas entered my mind during that walk in nature and I returned back home being extra excited for the day.

SEVEN – mindful early start and early ending of the day – back in Bali I loved to naturally wake up around 6am while the sun was rising. I felt energized, peaceful, and so happy to have the experience of a new day right in front of me. Right now, I really want to get back into that beautiful routine of early starts and early endings of the day. It feels so much more natural and I feel like it tunes me into the true energy of what I really am. Waking up early allows you to have a slow and mindful morning while the rest of the world is still asleep. Taking some extra time for yourself to celebrate the new day is always worth it. Meanwhile, taking time for a beautiful early evening routine instead of choosing restlessness and never having done enough things for that day is so worth it as well. Take your time to practice gratitude, stretching, meditation and all the other beautiful evening rituals while still being able to provide yourself with the hours of sleep that you need to feel energetic the next day.

EIGHT – turn an everyday routine into a ritual –  there are so many things that we do everyday – instead of doing them mindlessly while doing something else at the same time, we can simply turn them into a special ritual and do them while practicing being completely present. Choose to really focus on what you are doing, on the way the socks feel on your skin, the way the first sip out of your tea tastes or how you are able to clean the dishes with your hands. These little moments are what life is made of. Choose to let anything you do on routine basis become a special ritual of celebrating life. I also suggest you to include some extra special ritual into your daily routine to practice mindfulness. For example, I like to journal and let the mess inside my mind flow through my pen on a paper. It always makes me feel more okay and closer to my truth whenever I feel out of my center.

NINE – more offline time – I think I don’t have to explain that the extra time you spend on your phone isn’t the best investment if you want to live slower and more mindful. Therefore, become aware of the time you spend online. Ask yourself what you are actually seeking for and try to fill that need otherwise. If you have no idea what you are looking for yet, maybe you could fill up that space with simplicity of presence?

TEN – connect with your food – pay attention to what you are eating. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you feel full. Tune into your body before your first bite and practice gratitude for having access to an abundance of healthy food. Focus on eating and take the time you need in order to truly enjoy every bite of your meal instead of eating while distracting yourself by watching youtube videos or working. Don’t misuse food as a drive to make you work more or as an escape from reality when you are bored.

ELEVEN – challenge yourself – in order to become more away of all the beauty that is there in the present moment of your life right now, simply try to do some challenges all about doing or having less. For example, you could skip plastic or processed food for a week. It’s not only good for the environment and your health, but also for your mind to become more aware of how much there actually is.

TWELVE – use your hands and feel more – ashumans we not only have been given the beautiful gift to listen and see. We can also feel – with our hands. Include all of the different senses you’ve been gifted with in everyday life – mindfully. Feel your fingers tipping on your laptop, feel your blankets on your skin or the water of your morning shower hitting your skin. All of that makes life so much more lovely, I promise!

THIRTEEN – read books and get inspired – beautiful books have the creative power to open a whole new world inside of your mind. So even when you are not traveling and staying in the same place for some time, books allow you to let your imagination take you into a whole new world without even traveling. Instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed for a second time, turn off your phone and all the other distractions . Simply enjoy some time to grow your mind or your creative imagination by reading a book.

FOURTEEN – go for a walk in nature everyday – the healing power of nature is incredible. Mother Nature is our real home. Choose to go outside each day, if it rains, if it snows or if the sun is shining. Just focus on the regular movement of your legs. Maybe you even realize that every step is a little bit different than the step you took before. Nature walks create space within yourself which you can make use of for yourself.

FIFTEEN – don’t forget to declutter – even though you may already be a minimalist and you only own a few things with a special importance for you, as I do, regularly decluttering is always a good idea. At least I still find things sometimes that I don’t need anymore, even if it’s just some old bills that I accidentally took with me a week ago. Freeing yourself of things you don’t need clears your mind and your life. It reminds makes you remind wonderful truth of how whole you actually are.

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