“Stress” is a familiar word today—most of us live/have had to live with stress in some form or the other, which affects our physical and mental health. This makes it imperative to look for ways to DeStress. While some factors may not be within our control, we can reduce stress by simplifying our lives. This is because stress levels rise as our lives become more complicated. The irony is that simplification is not really simple; it requires some sacrifices and discipline. However, since the reduction of stress naturally leads to a fuller and happier life, it is well worth the effort.
Consider these steps to simplify, and minimize stress.
To start with: introspect with honesty, and see what needs to be changed.
What is really important to you: family, health, job, friends?
What do you enjoy most?
Are you satisfied with the present situation? What is the purpose of your life?
Are you able to manage your time well, and balance and pace your life?
Are you physically and mentally exhausted, and need to slow down?
What is your picture of a perfect life? (Of course, no one can have a perfect life, but picturing it might help realize the vision).
Once the priorities have been identified, focus on them, and consider making some changes. It could be as simple as clearing the desk/workplace, or major ones like changing a job, re-assessing goals, cutting down expenses, mending relationships, to name a few.
(However, it must be remembered that stress and simplification are often relative terms: what is stressful for one may not be for others, and what one considers simplicity, may be termed complex by others).
Big steps take careful planning and time, so start with some small ones.
Simplifying one’s life may be as easy as getting more organized.
A small example: shop at one place, which has a reasonable variety of goods, (Too many options can be stressful!) and at a less crowded place and time—that itself will simplify matters, and reduce stress!
Keep within a budget, and minimize financial strain.
Clear the clutter from the work and living space—throw out useless things, and donate the ones not in use. It will be simpler to find and maintain what is left.
Buy simpler gadgets that are less expensive, and easy to use and maintain, yet serve the purpose.
Adopt a simple lifestyle—eat wholesome, healthy food, stay hydrated, and take up some physical activity. Get sufficient and sound sleep. A healthy body is better able to cope with any stress, and contributes to a healthy mind.
Clear the mind of stress by practicing meditation, visualization, reading inspirational literature, listening to music, and sharing thoughts. Breathe deeply! Move away from energy leaching relationships and situations. Life is simpler and happier without emotional stress and turmoil.
Do not take on commitments that are difficult to handle. As Richard Carlson says in “Don’t sweat the small stuff…”: “If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it”!
Have realistic goals and expectations, and be ready to adapt to changes. Going with the flow is simpler than resisting, especially in circumstances that cannot be changed.
Be positive, and take a logical approach to solving problems. The simple solutions are sometimes the best ones.
The list may be edited, depending on one’s circumstances and needs, but keep it simple!
Simplifying one’s life may not be simple or yield immediate results, but as life becomes less complicated and stressful, its quality is considerably enhanced. So simplify, to reduce stress, and feel the difference.