More is Less: Prioritizing for Sustainable Living
In today's fast-paced world, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of balance and sustainability. We juggle multiple responsibilities, from work and personal obligations to social commitments and everything in between. It's no wonder that so many of us struggle with stress, burnout, and overwhelm.
When discussing sustainable choices, the common belief is that we should remove things from our lives—take on less, edit, and triage. This can happen in many forms, from taking on fewer responsibilities at work to decluttering our homes and digital devices. While simplifying our lives and reducing unnecessary stressors is valuable, it's important to recognize that this approach can also be constricting. Instead of feeling empowered and fulfilled, we may feel limited and deprived. Emotional and mental sustainability can be achieved through other means besides constricting choices.
Instead of solely focusing on what we can do less of, what if we shifted our attention to what we want more of?
Consider an over-seasoned sauce or sour drink—these additions cannot be undone once mixed. The solution is to add more to dilute the flavor. We can alter the ingredients to make it more palatable and, in some cases, even enjoyable just by adding more.
This is where prioritizing joy, rest, and purpose comes in. Life has inevitable snags, and instead of spending energy and resources removing items from our to-do list, we can focus on incorporating activities and experiences that bring us fulfillment and contentment. We can dilute the salts and acids in a way that feels natural. By not fixating on the problem and continuing to fill our cups, we'll find the ability to drown out stress, outrage, and burnout with things that perpetually gift more humor, love, kindness, and abundance.
The internet and science agree that we see more of what we focus on, so why not focus on what we want more of? By intentionally incorporating joy into our lives, we can drown out the noise of stress, burnout, and negativity. We can cultivate a sense of abundance and gratitude, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
Join me in this approach to sustainable choices:
- Make a list: Write down the things that make you happy and bring you fulfillment. It could be anything from spending time with loved ones to pursuing a hobby.
- Reflect on your priorities: Take a look at your list and think about which items are most important to you. What brings you the most joy? What makes you feel the most fulfilled?
- Schedule time for what matters: Now that you've identified what's most important to you, prioritize it in your schedule. Block out time each day or week to focus on these activities and make them a priority.
- Be intentional: When you're engaging in the activities that bring you joy, be present and fully engaged. Pay attention to how they make you feel and savor the moment.
Instead of removing items from your life, try increasing the time and energy you spend on the things that make you feel good. Whether it's taking a yoga class, learning a new skill, or simply spending time in nature, prioritize the activities that bring you fulfillment and joy. The challenges we face will always exist, but they can become soluble granules in contrast to the ongoing flood of care and love we pour into ourselves and our communities.