When I first started on the path of joyful and intentional living I had no idea how it would improve my life, especially my well-being. I accidentally fell into a simpler lifestyle from a place of exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, overwhelm, and making life far more complicated than it actually needed to be. I was desiring a different way of living. I wanted to slow down my pace, remove things from my calendar, stop the striving, and doing ALL the things.
I wanted to live with intention, be more present, and dive deeper into life. I knew there had to be a different way because frankly, the way I was living life wasn’t working for me anymore. So I started letting things go little by little. I let go of activities that I was involved in that just didn’t resonate with me anymore. I started questioning my thoughts, beliefs, and choices more and sifting through them one by one, only allowing space for the ones that were life-giving and supported my well-being.
I started engaging with my life more while accepting where I was. I was so tired of wanting to be “over there” and missing everything I had right here in front of me. With lots of time, grace, compassion, heartache, and feeling super uncomfortable, I found myself on a new path that I had carved out intentionally. Looking around I could see it was a life that I loved. It wasn’t perfect by all means (still isn’t). But it was my little ole life and falling in love with the ordinary and the mundane is what made it even more lovely.
I always say I fell into a more slow and simple lifestyle accidentally. I actually didn’t even know it was ‘a thing’ at the time until I found this whole community living by similar values. It has changed my life significantly and this is why I’m such an advocate for it, and support and guide others to intentionally design a slower-paced life that is infused with joy, beauty, and simplicity.
During this journey I have discovered numerous benefits (seriously, the list goes on and ON) of living life more intentionally, gently, and sustainably. Today I am going to discuss the mental benefits of joyful and intentional living.
1. More acceptance: When we decide to live more slowly and simply we learn how to accept our values and begin to see we are wired differently. We are wired for a different rhythm of life and we see that this is okay. We not only accept ourselves, but we start to accept our lives more. The messy, unpolished, and imperfect versions of our lives. We accept the home we live in, the clothes in our closet, our belongings, the current season we are in. We accept what we already have, put the breaks on the relentless pursuit for more, and we know deep down in our hearts what we have and what we are doing is enough.
2. Less comparison: The more we accept our lives and what they are filled with, the less room there is for comparison. We no longer care about keeping up with The Joneses because we know what we have is enough. We know we have designed our lives with our values planted in our hearts, and knowing that gives us peace. The race for more never ends, but when choosing to stay in our own lane we realize that this is the best path for us, regardless of what others may think.
3. Less anxiety (and depression) and stressful thoughts: The more simply I live, the less stress and anxiety I experience. And consequently the more peace and calmness I have. After I’ve decluttered my head, my heart, and my home (to be fair, didn’t have a whole lot of belongings to declutter after bouncing around the globe this last decade), I’ve felt drastically more free, and more at home within myself. I don’t have the anxiety like I used to, because I’m no longer striving, pushing, and trying to achieve everything. I’m living at a pace of life that calms my soul and my mind. I also believe when we are living our lives with integrity and aligned with our values, we feel more peace and calm.
4. More brain space for the important things: When we declutter our heads, homes, hearts, and schedules, we have more space in each of these areas for the things and people that truly matter to us. Not only do we have more space physically, but we also have more mental space. We have brain space to be more focused, more productive when we need to be, and also more creative when our homes and schedules aren’t jam-packed with things to do, upkeep, fix, repair, and clean. There can be space to simply daydream, write, connect, build, and create.
5. Make mindful choices: Because there is space to reflect and my values are always at the forefront of my mind, it makes it much easier to make decisions from a place of trust, peace, and calmness. It’s easier to make choices when we are feeling deeply rooted in who we are rather than feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, and burned out. I have learned how to embrace the pause (so powerful!) and make decisions and intentionally choose things that support my overall well-being and vision for my life. Our choices do matter and giving them the space they deserve is essential.
I’d love to hear from you now! What has been your experience with slow and intentional living impacting your mental health?