From the tiny house craze to living “off the grid,” leading a simple life has become somewhat of a movement. But is this concept really new? Nearly 200 years ago, American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

Be it trendy advice or conventional wisdom, leading a simple life has been shown to have a multitude of health and wellness benefits, including stress reduction and long-term happiness. Did you say, “Sign me up”? Well let’s get started!

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life

While some of these are easy things you can do right now in the quest for a simpler life, others may take a little more courage, thought and planning, especially if they’re drastically different from the way you currently think, act and live. So be patient, and remember—the goal is to achieve happiness for the long haul!

  1. Clear the clutter. This could be physically, mentally, emotionally, or all of the above! Pick one disorganized space and vow to keep it organized. Are you overscheduled? Clear away some nonessential commitments. And take a look at the people in your life—if there is someone who puts you down or drains your energy, consider walking away.

  2. Focus on experiences, not material things. While buying new things feels extremely satisfying for a short time, it’s not long before the thrill fades and you find yourself longing for the next item to keep that feeling going. Try to focus on experiences instead, spending time with loved ones, traveling, and doing things for others.

  3. Unplug and embrace nature. Don’t worry—this doesn’t have to mean living off the grid. If you can find some time each day to disconnect from electronics and commitments, and reconnect with the outdoors, it can have a cumulative calming effect, leading to less stress and a happier you!

  4. Find happiness where you are. We’re human. So it’s only natural that from time to time, we might wonder if the grass is greener on the other side, or find ourselves jealous of what someone else has. But figuring out how to be content with what you have is so important to your overall happiness. Try writing down things you’re grateful for, big and small.

  5. Consider downsizing. Maybe the kids are grown and gone, you’re approaching retirement, or you’re starting to feel burdened by the responsibilities of owning a larger home. Whatever your situation, downsizing to a smaller home can be liberating, freeing you from a hefty mortgage, utility bills, the upkeep required to maintain a large home, and more. Not into tiny houses? You don’t need to be! Downsizing even a little bit can have a huge impact.

These are just a handful of ideas for living a simpler, happier life. It may take some more searching and a little trial and error, but the important thing is that you’re living your best life.