The Simple Life for a modern world.
‘Some people say “Shouldn’t we focus on improving the world?” Don’t think about that! The world improves every time a single person improves. The only person you can improve is yourself’ – James Altucher
When I used to be a psychiatric nurse I found it astounding how many people suffered with anxiety and depression, not even just as patients but the people I knew and loved too. Beautiful people who are incredibly talented yet are riddled with insecurity and low self esteem. In fact, I find it increasingly hard to think of someone who has not suffered from anxiety or depression to a degree that effects their life.
But I felt there was something much darker beneath the surface of modern day western society that no amount of drugs could fix.
~”Wake up and do what the hell you want!!! Not what you have been brainwashed to think you want.”~
To live a both physically and mentally comfortable life, free of anxiety and stress, we need the following:
A safe and practical environment: A nice home that is clean, safe and comfortable
Financial security: A job you enjoy, maybe an area you are specifically talented in that consequently leads to a decent income.
Nourishing wholefoods: Fruit, vegetables, herbs, fish, a little meat, whole grains and legumes, all in their simple natural state, full of nutrients and medicinal properties
Self-confidence and esteem: Feeling good about yourself physically and mentally. Feeling your worth and contributing to society. Creativity, what makes you unique and your authentic self.
Exercise: Regular movement as part of everyday life, walking, jogging, swimming, working, cleaning, moving. Being active without having to think about it.
A sense of community and social interaction: Having close friends and loving relationships.
Fulfilment and pleasure: Travel, camping, creativity, fishing, whatever it is that leaves you feeling inspired and motivated.
Nature: Scientists have found, repeatedly, that being surrounded by nature is proven to reduce stress. Whether its going to the beach, walking through the park, growing your own vegetables or having a pet.
All of the above seem quite easy to attain when you see them written down so plainly. All of them are scientifically proven to reduce the prevalence of stress, anxiety and depression. So what the hell is going on?
21st Western Society
A safe and practical environment:
Although we only need a 5% saved for a deposit (most people I know have to borrow or are gifted this from parents or through inheritance) We then have to take out a mortgage and borrow from the bank. That’s 95% of golden handcuffs. No matter what you need to keep up with those payments. Contrary to what we believe, many of us do not own our home until very near the end of our lives.
Due to growth in population and the increasing canyon between income and outgoings for the average citizen, cheap fast and small builds are popping up all over the country in the name of ‘affordable housing’. This means cheap little boxes from which you can hear what your neighbour is thinking.
The average working week in 2016 is 43.6 hours. Jobs are competitive. A lot is computer and technology based slowing killing the skills of humans. University fees are increasingly expensive and most won’t pay them off until they die. The gap between income and outgoings are larger than ever. How have the government tackled this problem in order to help the economy?
Finance! Yes, we no longer actually have to be able to afford anything! We can get it straight away and pay as we go (plus a little extra) that means you don’t need that 6 figure salary in order to buy the flashiest car. So now people can consume no matter what. BOOM! Mass consumerism. To keep up with demand, we need another new car, the next new iphone, keep inventing more for the masses to keep them hungry. Cars, ipads, iphones, mini ipads, large ipads, phones that can turn on the microwave to cook that already part cooked potato that was packaged in the freezer. Perfect!
Bringing me swiftly on to the next factor…
Nourishing food: ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ – Michael Pollen
Due to our every busy lifestyle where we need to fit in as much work as possible to keep up with the ever rising life expenses we look for fast, processed, toxic and chemical laden foods, mindless eating, sugar addiction and hormone disruptive ingredients. Such foods reap toxic havoc on our bodies leaving us with cancer, diseases, mental disorder, diabetes and obesity just to name a few. Some of which didn’t event exist just 100 years ago.
‘The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaling to 46 years, humans have been here 4 hours, the industrial revolution began one minute ago, and in that time we’ve destroyed more than half the world’s forests’ – Greenpeace
Due to our ever increasing population (With finance and borrowing amongst other societal factors the population is booming and so the cycle begins again) as well as the demand for meat, palm oil, farming space and cattle grazing, new houses, carbon emissions , species are going extinct or facing extinction faster than ever.
Our seas are polluted and dying, mass consumerism and technology reaps havoc on our planet through the constant production of plastic and the equally constant throw away attitude.
Everything is made quick and thrown away even faster to make room for the next demand in order to keep the ‘economy’ going. Mass landfills.
As supermarkets have replaced local shops, importing from all over the world, the mass demand for all produce, means we need more food and faster; cue chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics in animals, inhumane and high speed slaughter, the cull of wolves, wild horses, badgers and any other wild and innocent animals of which cause a threat or who graze on land needed for animals that are bread for their meat. FIND OUT MORE. Indigenous people go hungry to provide the western world with foods that have become the latest fashion.
Most of ‘socialising’ is now done via technology. It is not uncommon to see a group of friends sat together but all looking at their phones rather than having an actual conversation. Emojis are the new body language.
We see what our peers are up to via their facebook page or instagram feed. People can now control and manipulate how they are perceived by editing their pictures and literally ‘filtering’ what they want you to see. This creates mass insecurity and the pressure to look a certain way that is physically impossible. We also feel depressed if our lives don’t seem quite as ‘fun’ as those we see in our news feed. This teenage girl made the brave step to expose the truth.
The toxic combination of sugar laden food of which we all have unlimited access to, along with the ever growing pressure from the media to look a certain way, life threatening disorders such as bulimia, anorexia and biggerexia rear their ugly head, destroying the minds of the vulnerable.
Fun & Pleasure:
The time allocated for the pursuit of pleasure continues to diminish to make room for the longer working hours. For personal fulfilment, we have to take which ever job we can get and work as hard as we can. Pleasure is drink and drugs to escape reality with Britain’s chronic alcohol problem now costing, just England alone, 21 billion a year and rising. Fulfilment is buying the newest car or iPhone as our obsession with having the best and latest grows insatiable.
Self confidence & esteem:
Really? After all that?
Ok so enough of the cynical already what’s the good news? The solution?
The good news is you can opt out of all of the above. Why not try it for a month and see how you feel? Quit social media, go for a short jog as close to nature as you can everyday. Think of something you’ve always wanted to do and never done, travel, do up an old campervan sleep on a beach.
The truth is we can live in this modern day western society and CHOSE to opt out of the above. Ditch the expensive upgrade and instead spend the money of a trip, scrap keeping up with fashion and instead invest in a few nice quality pieces that will never go out of style. Empty your cupboards of the crisps, chocolate and processed rubbish and replenish with nourishing wholefoods. Spend a whole day doing NOTHING! Just drinking coffee, listening to music, reading and contemplating your short existence of this potentially beautiful planet. Don’t let your life go buy living like a zombie. Wake up and do what the hell you want!!! Not what you have been brainwashed to think you want.
‘You only have this one life
How do you want to spend it?
Hating yourself? Dieting?
Running after people who don’t see you?
Be brave. Believe in yourself
Do what makes you feel good. Take risks.
You have this one life. Make yourself proud. ‘ – Beardsley Jones
I recently did a demo with the owner of Hodmedods who sell sustainable peas, legumes and quinoa all grown in this country. I made brownies, fritters, quinoa salad and fava bean hummus using his products.
How to be free by Tom Hodgkinson
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
Sapiens: A brief history of mankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Happiness by Deepak Chopra
Simplicite by Dominique Loreau