By: Mackenzie Lynn (she | her), BS
Do you ever just feel overwhelmed with all of the STUFF? All of the TV shows to watch, travel destinations to visit, date nights to plan, “Amazon must-haves” to buy, books to read, self-help tips to try. In today’s age, we have so much available, all the time. This can be quite overwhelming, and can lead to difficulty in prioritizing what our souls truly desire- and what we actually have the capacity for.
So how DO we balance *NOT* doing all of the things while also avoiding the fear of missing out? (face it, FOMO is real). How do we balance our doom-scrolling with more enriching activities we have been yearning to try but never make or seem to have time for? How do we wade through the sea of *everything* without getting caught in a riptide?
How do we balance our doom-scrolling with more enriching activities we have been yearning to try but never make or seem to have time for?
I have found that when we can break free from the mentality of always wanting more, we are better able to look inward to explore what our heart truly longs for. By taking a step back from the overwhelming sea of everything, it is possible to see the bigger picture and discover the core of what we truly desire. Our core holds the key to knowing what makes our souls happy. Guided by the truth of what waters our soul, we can then begin to live with intention and simplicity.
That sounds really deep and overwhelming though, right? You’re probably thinking; “Well just HOW am I to explore my heart's true desires?!? That sounds like a year of therapy!” And you may be right. But I have learned that a huge secret to knowing my heart and improving my happiness starts with the art of being simple.
An example of this might be the acceptance of sadness on a day that you feel low or melancholy, but don’t particularly know why. A simple “I feel a bit low, today.” might lead to the bare-bones intention of “Get through the day.” And that intention is absolutely acceptable because the wonderful thing about intention setting is that YOU get to make the rules!
Setting an intention doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It can be done however works best for you. Your intentions can be based on needs, goals, desires, and even your mood. You can set an intention for the month to save $50, or you can set an intention for the next five minutes to finish one task, eat a bite of food, or drink some water. You can also set an overarching intention(s) based on how you want to live your life. For example: Intention: Live with authenticity. Having intentions can help with decision paralysis by clarifying where you would like your decision to take you.
“ Instead of buying multiple items with no rhyme or reason with little fulfillment, purchasing one item that I really treasure is much more fulfilling.”
I’ve noticed that when I am being intentional, my choices are more satisfying. Instead of buying multiple items with no rhyme or reason with little fulfillment, purchasing one item that I really treasure is much more fulfilling, and evades buyers remorse. When making a decision based on my boundaries, I am better equipped to even receive negative feedback from those who don’t respect my boundaries, as I know I am living by my intention. In this way, intention setting can feel powerful.
Disclaimer: Living simply and intentionally doesn’t erase the chaos that is life. But making your approach to life a simple one helps the chaos feel less overwhelming. Living with intention is about taking advantage of the control you have when so much else is out of your control.
These are some ways I have simplified my life:
Romanticizing daily life (Ex:, drinking water out of wine glasses, lighting candles, etc.)
Prioritizing what my body needs
Practicing self compassion
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude (Daily list of 5 things I am grateful for)
Letting. things. go.
Another component of living intentionally is to understand that your intentions can change. If an intention you’ve set doesn’t feel right for you after a while, it may be time to reevaluate. In this way, intention setting can be a helpful tool in seeing your own personal growth, and how your desires and values evolve over time. The beauty in changing your intention is in the way that you show up for yourself when you decide: “I can change this”. Living simply and with intention can truly be a game-changing act of self care.
So when you find yourself at a crossroads, about to be swept away by the sea of everything, simply ask yourself: What is my intention here?
Mackenzie is a currently pursuing her Master's in Marriage and Family Counseling. She has a Bachelor's in Psychology. In addition to living simply, Mackenzie's long-term intention is to support couples with establishing and maintaining healthy and happy relationships. To learn more about Mackenzie, read her bio.