There are many reasons why people chose lives of sufficiency and voluntary simplicity. People can become slaves to the belief that we need stuff that we don’t really need. The pressures and demands of modern lifestyles are not necessary and can be eschewed for considerable benefit. Many people are making the decision to simplify their lives in order to live more in tune with natural systems – environmental, social and individual.
The benefits of simple living include:
A simpler life means you spend much less, if anything, on unnecessary things. Spending less means you could save more, or use your money for meaningful pursuits like travel, education or giving. Or even better still, spending less should mean that you need to earn less to cover your basic costs, so you can work less.
Less working for money means more time doing things that bring genuine happiness. One of the most common regrets of dying people is that they wished they hadn’t worked so hard. Time is something you can never get back. Every moment is precious, so why waste it on meaningless and unnecessary pursuits. Spend it doing things you love, and with people you love.
As well as working less a simple life gives you more time in other ways too. For example, a small simple home means less time cleaning and maintaining everything and more time for yourself.
Simple living is peaceful living. It is the opposite of the proverbial rat-race. Having some stress in life is unavoidable and can be useful, but often we stress ourselves for no real benefit. The modern world puts unnecessary demands on people in terms of juggling work, family commitments, relationships, personal development, and keeping up with news and current affairs. In addition, there are a plethora of modern distractions like social media, new technologies, entertainment, fads, fashion, and so on. By living simply you can cut through what isn’t beneficial – to what is.
Simple living requires much fewer resources including energy. It is much more responsible to live lightly on the earth. It helps sustain habitats, biodiversity and nature generally. Living in tune with nature, and within natural resource limits, is a gift not a cost.
Affluent materialist lifestyles keep us fixed on what the humanist psychologist Erich Fromm called the ‘having’ mode. The metaphorical rat-race is all too real for many people. By letting go of that we open up ourselves to forms of personal development and flourishing that we didn’t have the time or energy to pursue before. We move from the mode of ‘having’ more to the mode of ‘being’ more.
In conclusion, voluntary simplicity is the most potent way to both reduce your ecological footprint and to achieve the personal benefits of simple living.