There’s a TED talk I watched years ago called “Life Is So Easy,” by a man named Jon Jandai. He talks about how he moved from his homeland in Thailand to work 9 to 5 in Singapore. He soon realised that despite working more hours; he was financially poor, time poor and his relationships were suffering.
He moved back to Thailand and began building his own house on a farm, harvesting his crops only three months of the year and taking the rest of the year off to read, spend time with his family and enjoy life. He had less money, but he had more time and financial freedom.
This is just one example of someone that decided that life didn’t have to be so difficult, it could actually be enjoyable and heaven forbid, it could be easy. So why do some of us make our lives so hard?
A lot of it has to do with our beliefs. If we’ve grown up with the belief that working ‘hard,’ is the only way to get through life, then we're not going to live a life with much ease. But what if there was another way, what if we could make it easy for ourselves?
Well, we can; it all comes down to changing old habits and beliefs. It’s like a domino effect; once we start implementing habits one at a time, they eventually grow to become a whole new way of life. Before we know it, we're looking back on your old way of life, wondering how we ever lived that way.
Here are 8 simple ways to start living life with more ease today;
Adopt positive physiology
Our bodies are a direct reflection of your mind and the way we walk, talk, breathe and smile say a lot about us, so by bringing awareness to these things, we can begin notice when our breath is short and tense or our posture is defeated. Practicing longer and deeper breaths has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight, signalling to the brain that we’re safe and everything’s alright. Hunching is also a defensive posture and indicates that we’re retracting from the world or protecting our heart, but we can change our physiology very simply by standing tall, making us feel instantly more empowered and open to the world. The words we use are also a good indication of our self-talk. When we’re kind to ourselves and back ourself up, we're available to be kind to others and our interactions with each other feel easier and less-judgemental. If we have no idea how to implement these things, yoga is a great way to open up our posture, to smile and breathe when things are difficult and to adopt positive inner-world.
Make movement a natural part of life
When people talk about exercise like it’s a chore or a form of self-punishment, they’re making their lives phenomenally difficult because every time they go out to exercise, it’s attached with a feeling of obligation, rather than a feeling of joy. But there’s another way to look at it. Movement was once a natural part of our everyday lives, but our 21st century lifestyles are more sedentary than they used to be. When we become hyper-aware of how many hours a day we might spend sitting down, we'll naturally start to feel inclined to move our bodies more. Exercise doesn’t have to be a separate part of life that need to be ‘completed,' it’s much easier when we can make a natural part of our lives. If we work close to home, there's the option to ride a bike, if we're catching up with a friend, we can go on walk instead of sitting at a cafe. Not only does it help develop a healthy attitude towards moving, but there's no need to find the motivation when it's genuinely enjoyable.
Be kind to yourself
How do we practice Self Kindness? We can start by noticing our internal dialogue. It might be surprising at first how, often it's negative. If we notice we put ourselves down a fair bit, it’s time to stop and become our own number one biggest fan, because we'll soon realise that all the validation we ever needed was within ourselves all along. Backing ourselves up no matter what happens in life is not a form of egotism, it’s essential. Ironically, the biggest critic we need to back ourselves up from the most, is ourselves. Next time we notice negative self-talk, we can practice giving ourselves the same patience and understanding we’d offer a friend if they made a mistake, by saying “it’s okay, I’ve learned for next time, I’m only human.” Becoming our own ally makes life a lot easier, because when our inner world is a better place, so is our outer world. Buddha said “you yourself as much as anyone else deserves your love and affection.”
Start educating yourself of new ways of living
In school, they don’t teach us how to have good relationships, replace limiting beliefs with expansive ones or how to be more productive — but thankfully, there’s plenty of resources available to teach ourselves these skills. There are so many books, articles and podcasts available that are great to listen to when commuting to work or during a morning walk. A lot of the time, we’re influenced by the same people over and over again, our colleagues, our friends and our family. Introducing new influences from books, travelling or meeting new kinds of people can change beliefs rapidly. When people travel, they often come back saying they’ve ‘found themselves,’ but what’s often happened, is they’ve met new people that have exposed them to new influences and new ways of living that have made them see new possibilities for their lives.
Let go of beliefs that make you feel low and un-empowered
Beliefs are the linchpin of everything, they’re the difference between feeling lethargic or feeling energised and positive throughout our day. If we don’t believe you can live the life we want, then we won’t allow ourselves to dream of it, let alone reach for it. What’s more, if you do try reach for something, but our beliefs aren’t in the right place, our subconscious mind will find ways sabotage us in the process. Our minds don't discriminate and it believes whatever we tell it, whether that’s positive or negative. Programming our minds to believe work is fun or we have the power to change, can be the difference between living a life with ease and pushing a bolder up a hill.
Embrace doing things the easy way
If our problem is productivity and organisation; there’s a book for that. If it’s feeling anxious all the time; there’s endless information in forums, podcasts, books that can help to move through it. If we want to find easier ways to change our beliefs; there’s a book for that. Whatever it is, go out and find a better way; there’s always an easier way — knowledge is power.
Let this moment inform your life
This one is simple, we can only do what we can do in the moment. The past has already happened and the future is not worth worrying about because it’s all a hypothesis. Letting thoughts of the past or the future contaminate the present moment, only causes us to lose focus, spontaneity and joy. Words to live by; “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever."
Accept the full Spectrum of your emotions
Anger, sadness, guilt and anxiety are the perfect messengers and allies. They’re either there for our survival or to let us know when something in our lives is out of balance. We can welcome each emotion to our door, let ourselves feel it fully, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it is and listen to what it’s telling us. These emotions tend to push us in the right direction if we use them as a gauge to make positive changes, rather than unpacking our bags and living there. If we’re anxious for example, it might be an indication that something in our lives needs changing, whether it’s a relationship for example, or our beliefs about a relationship — it’s all there to teach us. When we look at it like this, we begin to see that there’s no bad emotions, only teachers.