Practicing ModerationModeration is a word that get a bad rap these days. Overindulgence is heavily flaunted in the media and also on social media sites. It looks like so much fun to go all out on everything in life that extreme behaviors have become the new normal. In fact, almost no one even thinks they are abnormal anymore.

But doesn’t it get tiring trying to carry EVERYTHING to the extreme?!?

There is another way.

The word “moderation” might not sound exciting or glamorous, but I have found it carries me a long way in life.  Engaging in some behavior, but not TOO much – works in many areas of my life: eating, sleeping, exercising, etc.

It also works with possessions. I need SOME stuff, but TOO MUCH stuff becomes overwhelming. (Hoarders is a show that both fascinates and scares me.)

But it’s not just possessions. I have found the principle of moderation to work in (almost) every facet of life. Spending versus saving money, following your passion versus earning a high income, and hours working versus hours relaxing –  more great examples. I must practice moderation in each of these categories lest I become too extreme in one area or the other.

I’m sure everyone reading this can come up with multiple more examples. The point is this: it is so easy to go along with everyone else around me. For example, I used to work too much because everyone else was doing it, and also because I felt it was expected of me.

Or maybe I spent too much money or overextended my credit because I wanted my children to have the same vacation or Christmas gifts as all their friends.

Then I decided to stop and take a breath.

I have more control over my life than I used to realize. When I decided to live intentionally I began to exercise my right be who I really wanted to be. I don’t really have to live my life in extreme debt, extreme stress, or extreme tiredness.

Here are some specific things that have simplified my life both recently and in the past:

My Christmas decorations don’t have to be bigger and better than everyone else on my block. Remember, moderation. I put up the decorations that make me happy instead. Then stop.

I don’t have to coordinate every office party at work. I decided to do one each year and delegate the rest with a sign up sheet. Because, yes, it is even possible to do too much for others. See The Benefits of Serving Others.

And this was probably my biggest problem. I hosted these huge sleepovers for my kids. I’m talking about 10 to 20 kids at a time. The kids all had a blast and I don’t regret the time and energy that went into those endeavors, but I now prefer to invite one or two friends at a time so the kids develop closer bonds with each friend (and also so my husband and I keep our sanity). I wanted my children to have as many friends as possible, but I overdid it just a bit.

I have found there are literally hundreds of ways I can make my life better with moderation.  Along with the principle of moderation comes the ability to say “no”. Sometimes that means saying it to myself. Sometimes it means saying it to others.

But I’m learning.

So here is my advice to everyone out there: Decide to mindfully practice moderation in all (or most) aspects of your life and it will simplify your decisions – both big and small.

You won’t be disappointed with the results.

Angela Christian PopeAngela Christian Pope is a teacher, author and creator of Happiosity.org. Check out more on Twitter and Facebook.