Simplifying life can actually elevate it.

I recently snuck away for a girls’ trip to New Hampshire with some of my best pals. There was plenty of the required shopping and hiking of course, but more importantly there was sharing, laughing, crying and growing. Temporarily stepping out of everyday life to spend quality time with people who challenge you yet accept and support you unconditionally is so helpful in our ongoing quest for happiness — heck, forget happiness, even just for sanity and survival.

But what we realized together on our trip is that we don’t just want to survive life, we want to elevate it. And perhaps it’s not realistic to take a break from the real world that often, but I’ve come to see there are little things and big things we can do every single day to both simplify and elevate our lives.

Little things like drinking coffee from a beautiful handcrafted mug and having flowers at the table. Like not looking at the phone as soon as we open our eyes in the morning but instead looking at the sunrise. Like reading a good book before bed instead of watching a reality TV show. Or even like walking home from work and breathing the fresh air instead of sitting in traffic in the car.

The big things we could do to simplify are to allow only the people, words and images into our soul that energize us and bring enlightenment, not heaviness. We could get rid of clutter, both physical and mental, that blocks our creativity and productivity. We could un-schedule our calendars so that we prioritize time with family/friends and alone time with ourselves. And we could health a priority by planning and preparing healthy meals, finding ways to exercise that are fun, and de-stressing through meditation, yoga or other healthy ways that work for us.

Simplifying our lives — slowing down to be intentional, grateful, and clutter-free — allows us to then elevate our lives with more of the good stuff.

Because I believe we’re meant to thrive, not just survive, don’t you?

For more articles on simple lifestyle and space design, visit www.refresheddesigns.com.