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Stress: Is Simplicity the Answer?
What Is Simplicity?
- Values/priorities. What is most important to you? What would you have the hardest time living without—your health, spouse, family, friends, time, creative projects? (This can be a tricky one. For example, you may say that you value money. But, by looking deeper within yourself, you may find that what you really value is freedom, self-reliance, time, friends, or self-esteem, which you think money will buy for you).
- Identity. Who are you? What talents, skills, activities, and types of environments bring you the most enjoyment? Are you living authentically—speaking your truth and living according to your own values (values that you have examined and owned) or someone else's?
- Time/pace. How do you manage time and pace yourself? Is your natural pace 100 miles per hour or a bit slower and more reflective? Examine your current pace and your energy levels. If you are feeling exhausted or burned out, you may need to slow down, or at least change where you are focusing the majority of your energy.
- Purpose. What do you most want to do with your life and are you doing that right now? How do you wish to direct your talents? Are you living purposefully?
- Vision. What is your ideal lifestyle and environment? What would your life look like if you could design it exactly the way you wanted? You cannot always "have it all," but think about how close you can get to that vision now, realistically.
Ways to Simplify Your Life
- Buy a simple car—one that has less gadgets to fix.
- Do your shopping all at once, and preferably in the same place.
- Reduce the clutter in your home and office. Throw out things that you do not use.
- Buy classic clothes that do not go out of style.
- Donate your clothes that need to be dry cleaned.
- Shop during off-hours.
- Get a simple, low-maintenance hairstyle.
- Downscale to a smaller home or less expensive car.
- Find a way to turn your hobby into your primary source of income.
- Make a conscious effort to reflect upon and appreciate the simple things in your life—those things that you may be taking for granted.
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org/
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca/index.asp/
Mental Health Canada http://www.mentalhealthcanada.com/
Adams C. The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life. New York, NY: Harpercollins; 1998.
Aumiller G. Keeping It Simple: Sorting Out What Really Matters in Your Life. Holbrook, MA: Probity Press; 1995.
Orem S, Demarest L. Living Simply: Timeless Thoughts for A Balanced Life. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc; 1994
St. James E. Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More. New York, NY: Hyperion; 1998.