I caught myself doing it again. Laying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, while my thoughts ran wildly in my head.
I was rehashing everything I imagined went wrong that day, beating myself up for not changing the cat’s litter, replaying the last conversation I had with my addict brother, all the while resisting the urge to check my email one last time before bed.
Can you relate to what I’m saying here? It sucks doesn’t it?
When I find myself getting all tangled up in my thoughts, I try to find peace in my all time favorite Al-Anon slogan – Keep It Simple.
But sometimes I need more than just this slogan. I need a way to actually apply this slogan to my life. Sure, it’s great advice to tell yourself to Keep It Simple, but how do you do that?
How do you Keep It Simple not only when your mind is in crisis mode but how do you make it part of your life? How do you live it?
Today, I want to share three of the habits I use to make keeping it simple a part of my daily life.
Now. I have to admit I’m not perfect at keeping it simple. If left unchecked I can complicate anything. But with the three habits I’m sharing with you today I’ve been able to cut back on the amount of time I stray from simplicity.
Remember, it’s all about progress and not perfection.
After you’ve had a chance to check out today’s post, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. How do you Keep It Simple in your life? Any tips, tricks or habits you can share?
Remember, your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read right now.
Thank you, as always, for reading, commenting and sharing.
Until Next Tuesday.
#1 Learn To Live In The Gray
I’m going to use coffee, one of my favorite beverages, to show what it means to live in the gray.
Here’s the deal. I love coffee but when I drink too much of it, I don’t love it so much.
There have been times where I’ve found myself drinking four to five cups a day and wondering why my blood sugar is all over the place and I’m bouncing off the walls.
When this has happened, I’d get really fed up with myself and cut out coffee all together. So, in a matter of minutes I’d go from drinking a bucket of coffee a day to drinking none.
This is not living in the gray.
Living in the gray would be going from four or five cups of coffee a day to maybe two or even a cup and a half a day.
It’s about recognizing that in life, it’s not only about A or Z. There’s a whole alphabet in-between to choose from.
Not living in the gray makes it nearly impossible to Keep It Simple in your everyday life.
Because it can cause you to overextend yourself, overwhelm yourself and send you on a wild goose chase to satisfy some unrealistic expectations of what you should be doing.
Try This: Pick one area of your life where you can experiment with living in the gray. Write down what you’re going to do. Do it for an entire week and then check in to see how you feel. Did you experience less anxiety? Are you more aware now of your own all or nothing thinking? Just treat this exercise as an experiment. Get curious about what you discover about yourself.
#2 Learn To Love A Good Downgrade
I know Beyonce is all about the upgrade but when you’re trying to Keep It Simple, I’d recommend a good downgrade.
And to show you what I mean when I talk about a good downgrade, I’m going to use a ridiculously simple example from my own life.
So, getting to the grocery store during the week causes a lot of stress for me. It’s often the last thing I want to do when I’ve got a massive to-do list and am feeling exhausted on top of it.
In my neighborhood I have two stores to choose from. There’s a small one that’s a five minute walk from me and a larger one that’s a 15 minute walk away.
The larger one has loads more to choose from but often the smaller one has exactly what I need.
But for some reason, I’ll get the crazy idea in my head that I have to go to the bigger one. And once I get fixed on that idea, that I have to go, all of a sudden I’m feeling all of this added stress about getting my butt to the bigger grocery store.
And that’s when the beauty of a good downgrade comes in. Instead of stressing out about getting to the bigger store, I can decide to just downgrade to the smaller one. After all, it has what I need and it’s a simple five minutes away.
When you’re dealing with bigger stresses in your life such as, the addiction of a loved one, a good downgrade can help you Keep It Simple.
And keeping your everyday life simple will free up the mental space you need to deal with the bigger issues in your life.
Try This: Decide to commit to downgrading one area in your everyday life that’s causing you extra stress. Where in your life could you benefit from a good downgrade?
#3 Unsubscribe From The Drama In Your Head
To truly live the Keep It Simple principle you’ve got to start by unsubscribing from the drama you create in your head.
Now. I’m not even going to pretend that I’ve mastered the drama I create in my head on a daily basis. Because I haven’t. I wish I had some magic solution to share with you here that would keep your mind drama free but I don’t.
What I do know is this. The simple act of recognizing and taking responsibility for the story that’s grinding away in your own head is a step in the right direction.
There’s a great quote from Robert Tew that goes like this,
“Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!”
Not only can this quote apply to your outer world but it also makes a lot of sense when you apply it to your inner world.
Try This: For one week carry around a journal and write down the thoughts and stories you subscribe to in your own head. After a week (or even a few days) review what you’ve discovered and try unsubscribing from one repetitive thought or story in your head. Give this a try without placing any added stress on yourself to do it perfectly. I’m telling you right now, this exercise will not be easy. I’ve done it before. And while the process can be challenging the discoveries I made about the drama in my own head was priceless.