The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Simplify your brain

Tall mushroomI've filled about twenty pages of a notebook this year with tips and skills I've acquired from my quest to rewire my brain for happiness. It hasn't always worked, but I've definitely been happier than ever before.

The most relevant tip for the Thanksgiving season has to do with gratitude --- one of the five core skills of a happy camper. To play along at home, don't just tell the world what you're thankful for once a year around the family table. Instead, you'll get optimal results by writing down your gratitude once a week. (More often gives diminishing returns because you tend to go into robot mode and not really focus on how good you have it.) You'd be surprised how much you'll realize you have to be thankful for if you keep this practice up!

A similar technique is to focus on wonder and beauty in your daily life. I've improved both my sleep and my disposition by remembering five wonderful events of the day before I fall asleep each night. Then (if I haven't drifted off yet), I move on to anticipation of five wonderful things about tomorrow. My favorite part about this practice is that you know you'll need five fun facts to report that night, so you tend to spend all day taking in the beauty around you.

Why is this relevant to a homesteading blog? I think simplifying your brain is even more important than simplifying your life style. Because if you're focusing on wonder and gratitude day to day, then you won't need a fancy kitchen or new car to fill the void inside. And that lack of craving is what drives true voluntary simplicity.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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what a lovely posting, thanks! i've read your blog for years now, and i'm very thankful for it.
Comment by mizztanya Sat Nov 28 13:17:27 2015

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