These days, the word “downsizing” brings to mind tough economic times and layoffs. But, when it comes to your life, downsizing can actually make you happy! Here’s how cutting back can be good:

  • Reduce your circle of friends. Studies show that having friends is the key to happiness. But psychotherapist Fran Walfish says that spending quality time with people you really like is more energizing, and a bigger mood-booster than hanging out with people you feel obligated to see. So, the next time you get an invitation that makes you feel tired before you even say “yes,” send your regrets.

  • Trim your extracurricular activities. A study in The Journal of Consumer Psychology shows that being too busy, and spreading yourself too thin decreases life satisfaction. And that holds true even if what you’re doing is supposed to be fun. Why? Because stopping to relax, and smell the roses is a crucial mood booster.

  • When you’re deciding whether or not to do something – measure it against your BIG THREE. Those you’re your three reasons for living. Everything that doesn’t fit into that plan needs to go. It’s a great way to instantly know whether or not something is worth your time and attention. There will be times when there are exceptions – like your wife’s boss’ daughter’s wedding. You really don’t want to go, but it’s an obligation. But even that fits into your Big Three if one of your reasons for living is work or income.

  • Ditch the storage space. Are you renting a space to keep items you're planning to use “someday”? Time to clean it out. Psychologists say storage spaces are generally a way of delaying or putting things on hold. And most of the time that stuff just sits there until… well, forever! It’s much better to sell, donate those items than having them weigh you down. The truth is if you’re not currently using it chances are you don’t need it.