Stress. No matter what you do, no matter how you do it, and no matter how positive an attitude in life you have, you’ll still encounter stressors that will make your day a tad bit more difficult. Though stress is inevitable, it does not mean that you are helpless in its face. You have the power to take away some of the stressors and reduce the impact of ones that you cannot avoid.
Simplifying your life will make you less prone to stress, because often time more does not simply mean more, but more equals to more stress. So while a simpler life might not sound too enticing, you’ll find that it will actually improve the quality of your life a lot.
Here are some ways you can simplify your life and reduce the stress you feel every day:
1. De-clutter – The space you live in is a reflection of your inner self, so the clutter around you reflects how much peace you are. While de-cluttering won’t automatically give you peace of mind, you’ll significantly help yourself by making your environment less stressful it you keep in nice and tidy. De-cluttering your bedroom, bathroom, workplace, and even your bag might not seem much but it will make your life easier as you don’t have to keep on scrambling around for lost keys and have a clean inviting bed to lie down on at the end of a stressful day.
Clutter Portrait by Andy Mangold
2. Buy less – You’ll have a hard time keeping your place tidy if you keep on buying and hoarding stuff. So stop buying things, unless you absolutely need them. You’ll be surprised at how much throttling down on your shopping will do for you, as it helps you develop to be a more responsible person not only in your spending habits but also your shopping choices. Less purchases means less stuff and clutter, more savings and sense of accomplishment, and more important, less stress in life.
3. Reduce dependencies - It isn’t just stuff you need to cut back on to simplify you life. Instead you need to cut back on all kind of dependencies to make your life more efficient and less stressful. This may come in the form of friends without whom you can’t go out to have some fun or in the form of gadgets, which people are increasingly getting overly dependent on. By reducing your dependencies, you give yourself the freedom to continue with your day with or without the people and things you’ve grown used to having with you. It does not mean cutting them off your life, but only your sense of dependence so that there’s less potential for stress whenever they’re not there for you.
4. Unplug regularly - As mentioned above, people are getting increasingly dependent on gadgets. To stop this as well as the intrusion that gadgets often bring (e.g. ringing phone when you’re meditating or trying to sleep), unplug your gadgets regularly. It may be every day at the end of the day or just once a month. The point is to unplug so that you can completely focus your attention on other important things in your life, be it meditating or spending time with your family.
Photo Credit: Chris Phan
5. Stop comparing – Comparing yourself and what you’ve got with what other people have is a surefire way to get stressed. No matter how good your life is and how much success you achieve, you’ll always find yourself lacking if you compare yourself with others. So stop looking over your shoulder and learn to appreciate yourself and what you have.
6. Take time to enjoy the simple things – Instead of comparing, you need to take time to enjoy the simple things in life. This will ensure that whatever situation you are in, you’ll be able to find something to smile about and somehow alleviate the stress you feel. It can be something as simple as the nice weather, the smile on your baby’s face, or the smell of sizzling bacon on the pan.
7. Talk to a toddler – Over thinking things is a problem common to many. I know it sure is a problem with me. So sometimes, just to help me get a mindset reset, I talk to my wonderful toddler. Their answers and stories might not seem sensible many times, but if you just really listen they will remind you of what’s really important in life – the simple things that makes kids so joyous and carefree.
Different Faces of 4-year old Hannah by Fiona Kwan
8. Reassess your priorities and goals – Your priorities and goals will determine the areas in your life you can cut back on and which ones you need to put more effort in. It will be hard to have a satisfying simplified life if you end up cutting back on things that are the most important to you. So figure this out before you go to tips 9 and 10.
9. Say NO more often - If you’ve been blaming your job, your family, and all your other responsibilities for the super hectic life you’ve been leading, then here’s a wake up call for you… You really are the one to blame! If you want to live a simpler life, a life that has a slower pace and is more restful, then all you really need to do is to learn to say NO. This means saying no to peers, people you love, enticing opportunities, and more important, to yourself. You have to say NO to things that are not at the top of your priority list so that you can say yes to the things that are more important to you. It might be stressful to do this if you’re not used to it, but it’ll get easier in time and will be the best stress-buster of all.
Photo Credit: Daniel Oines
10. Learn to delegate – Saying NO does not mean completely turning your back on responsibilities and new opportunities. Instead, you can simplify your life and free up your time by learning to delegate. This may mean hiring a new assistant at work or teaching your kids to load the dishwasher. By delegating responsibilities and tasks to capable and trustworthy individuals, you can still get things done without having to do everything yourself and without having to worry that things are not getting done the right way.