- Mental Health»
- Stress Management
5 Ways to Simplify Your Life & De-Stress
Modern life is so full of things: objects, people, responsibilities, stresses… everyone would do well to try to cut down on some of them. Here are five ways you can simplify and de-stress your life and yourself. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
☯ Take a timeout
We all need some alone time but many of us never get it. It’s a good idea to get at least 15 to 20 minutes of alone time every day. It should be real alone time, where you can listen to the silence and just relax. This means no phones, no tv blaring, no kids screaming or banging on the door calling for you. Silence is the key. Too much noise is not only a huge contributor to stress, it prevents you from being able to really relax. Take a bath with a strict closed-door policy. Go for a walk. Sit in your car. Meditate. Whatever you have to do to get those 20 minutes. Brevity may be the soul of wit but silence is golden.
☯ Turn off the anxiety
So many things in our life cause us anxiety, even things we don’t realize. How much do you worry about things? What do you worry about? It’s a good idea to take an inventory of these things and really make an effort to cut out the ones that aren’t that important. For instance, when you are not near your phone, do you worry you’ll miss notifications, calls and emails? When it chimes a notification, do you feel compelled to check it right then? This is anxiety, whether you realize it or not and it causes stress. The hardest thing for many people is understanding the difference between things that are necessary and things that are not. If something can wait, let it wait and don’t worry about it. Aromatherapy is wonderful in this regard as well.
☯ Own fewer things
Not only is it less to worry about, but too many things around you is like visual caffeine. It creates anxiety and as we already discussed, anxiety causes stress. Life is not about owning as many material things as you can and people who own more are actually less happy because it creates a vacuum in which the acquisition of more possessions becomes a driving force. This in turn creates not only anxiety but chronic unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Learn to be happy with what you have. The truth is that if you are not happy with what you already have, having more will make no difference.
☯ Throw out the TV
Television is an enormous cause of stress, tension and anxiety. While it does create the seemingly-relaxed quasi-vegetative state that we have lovingly come to call “being a couch potato,” it also inundates us with messages, images and information that stresses the brain out. It is a never-ending stream of criticisms, judgements, comparisons and bad news. Messages telling us that we are not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, cool enough, thin enough or smart enough, punctuated by a bombardment of advertisements to buy things that will make us all of these things and more. Get rid of it. Your life will be less stressful, less anxious and much quieter.
☯ Learn to let things go
How many times have you lain awake, tortured by things that happened during the day, analyzing and agonizing over them? Let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. Start saying to yourself, “I can’t do anything about it right now so I am going to stop thinking about it.” Then stop. It gets easier the more you do it.