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How to Simplify your Life to Reduce Stress

Updated on October 24, 2012
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Focus Your Mind

Simplifying your life is an important milestone in living healthy, happy and in control. The ability to concentrate and stay focused comes from discipline. If you are able to cultivate a sense of self-discipline and motivate yourself to stay focused on the simplification process you will experience the genuine benefits and freedom of living a life that is energetic, happy and fulfilled.

Guatemalan Worry Dolls are used to tell your worries and problems to.
Guatemalan Worry Dolls are used to tell your worries and problems to. | Source

Scientific Experiment

When I work with kids I get out a stopwatch. I tell them they have five minutes (five whole minutes) to change anything they want to change about their lives. I then start the watch. Children always explain to me that it's impossible to go back in time. I smile and say, "You're exactly right!"

GETTING STARTED

Make One Commitment at a Time

When you over commit yourself it's not just difficult to focus, it's nearly impossible. When you have numerous projects that you are undertaking you cannot possibly be putting your best effort into everything. Life is best lived when you can put your best foot forward everyday. It's frustrating to feel that you have projects which are unfinished, tardy, late or being submitted in a state of mediocrity. It doesn't mean that you can't be a part of several great committees or belong to a few groups but when it comes to projects which require a considerable time engagement, keep in mind how many kiddos you have, the tasks you need to fulfill at home, your job and your inner peace. It's okay to say "no" because when you commit to something and fail to follow through, you leave someone else hanging out to dry.

Don't Worry About Tomorrow

Every day contains enough for you to handle. Some days, just getting out of bed is more than you can handle depending on what was on the dinner table last night. Unfortunately you won't feel the relief of tomorrow's grace today so creating anxiety about what might happen, pending circumstances, unanswered questions or an event that is steadily approaching is a waste of time. You cannot get there any faster nor can you slow the clock. John Lennon said it best when he said, "Let it be."

Let Go of the Past

The past is meant to be learned from and bettered by. People often harbor guilt about the past. Of all the emotions humans experience, guilt is the most useless. I hereby absolve you of your guilt and give you the right to move on with your life. Sometimes it takes a simple permission slip to move forward. Continuously dredging up the trash of your past will just make your life stink.

7 Habits of Letting Go of the Past

  • Realize what it costs when you buy into myths of perfection.
  • Living in a sea of negative voices.
  • Getting stuck in the past.
  • Comparing yourself and your life to the lives of others.
  • Focusing on the negative details in life.
  • Limiting life because you believe the world revolves around you.
  • Feeling Condemned.

Consider your boundaries.
Consider your boundaries. | Source

MOVING FORWARD

Stop Procrastinating

Whether you've committed yourself to a project or you have twelve loads of laundry to do, get your plan of action and start your engine. When you have business that is unfinished it can make you feel disorganized and lazy. Over time your work will start to pile up and you may begin to feel depressed which will prevent you from enjoying your life and your family. Recognize the importance and benefits of maintaining some form of personal planner or calendar even if you work from home. Being able to plan your day, week and month can help you keep a system and motivate you to stay on task.

Establish Boundaries

If you don't have boundaries you don't have the most simple form of protection. Boundaries are often misled and misread so as opposed to explaining I will simply make a list of a few different types of boundaries that you should consider.

  1. Personal privacy and space.
  2. Personal beliefs about your faith.
  3. What you will and will not sacrifice for your own happiness and integrity and for that of your family.
  4. The personal boundaries of others.

Define Your Priorities

When you're making choices it's best to rely on wisdom and logic. If you possess neither of those, seek out the advice of someone who does. Learning self-discipline is learning how to delay gratification, tolerate frustration and stay in control. As women we say, "put on your big girl panties." What feels good in the instant may not feel good in the long run. When you are prioritizing your life you must make choices that are best for your life. Life is a word which has longevity. It's a word that travels distance and time. The decisions you make now will be with you eternally because you cannot expunge a fatal error, a tragic miscalculation or a severe and complicated mess. Make time to make good choices.

Forgive Offenses and Turn Loose of the Grudge

The best way to make your life harder is to harbor anger and hostility. There is no peace in fury. If you spend your days in the prison of constant turmoil then you will find that everything about your life will be negative. In the wake of your resentment you may begin to find yourself more and more alone. Hostility is contagious and people don't appreciate bitterness, ugliness and temper tantrums. Letting go of the dark and negative feelings is empowering and uplifting; like lifting a great weight from your shoulders. It takes time to forgive and perhaps you won't forget but you can choose to stop feeling vexed. You only have a certain amount of time on this earth so why not live those days as happily as possible? There's nothing in stone that says you'll have enough time to right all of the wrongs and fix everything that's broken but what you can do is live happy for your own sake and for that of your family. It's not worth being angry about.

Quotes About Simplifying Your Life

  • "Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise. ~ Alice Walker
  • "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~ Confucius
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ~Leonardo da Vinci
  • "The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes." ~ Tony Blair


Two miles from the end of the Kansas City Marathon finish line.
Two miles from the end of the Kansas City Marathon finish line. | Source

SUCCESS AT LAST

Do What You Do Best

Stop wasting your time with things that you do well and focus your energy on the things that you are phenomenal at. Every now and then you come in contact with someone who has found their true calling whether it's a teacher, a stay-at-home mommy, a writing luchador or a nurse. When someone has found their true talent, it shows. They pursue it and perform it with a discernible passion. Don't waste your time on things that will just get you by any longer. Concentrate on the things you love and watch what happens.

Change The Things you Can...

It's a most famous verse but it's poignant and true. There are many occasions that you should recognize which battles are worth fighting, which are worth considering and which aren't even worth the time. Change is difficult and creates momentary lapses in your life which can disrupt and muddle things. Any time you potentially create change it can be scary but remember, it's also a method of de-cluttering your life.

Be Realistic About Expectations

Refrain from over-expectations. Don't expect anyone to change your life but you. When you live with the assumption that someone will be delivering your self-worth to a better place, or that a spouse will save you from the hurt and disaster of your previous life you are setting yourself up to fail. It's not that people want to hurt you, it's most likely a combination of miscommunication, momentary selfishness, and lack of experience. Sometimes expectations are put into place without ever being spoken and when they're not met, anger ensues. Spouses become confused because they have no idea what they did wrong to hurt you in the first place. Sound familiar? Make a decision to put your happiness and your life's journey into your own hands.

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    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      theupside, I strongly suspect that life has much more in store for you my friend. Just keep your eyes open. You never know when that baseball bat will hit or the feather will fall. -K

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      krsharp05: Very observant. I am VERY pessimistic. (The name is a more like a snide remark.) Funny enough though, this leads me to actually be ''optimistic'' about death. How many people in the world can say that? I will greet death as an old friend and we will laugh at all those who take life to seriously and forget to actually live it ;]

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      theupside, Your account name leads me to believe that it cannot possibly be true. :) I would try to experience as many things as possible so you can find something you love. It's out there! Thank you for reading and commenting. Let me know when you find it. -K

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      what if you aren't good at anything?

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Great advice. Eliminating complications helps us focus on the important things. Voted up!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Esmeowl12, Just having a mantra and a goal puts you light-years ahead! Thank you for reading and commenting. I wish you the very best in your journey. It sounds like you've got a great handle on things and you will undoubtedly do well! -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Radcliff, Thank you for taking the time to read through and leave your input. I love your mantra because it defines exactly what living simply is about! I don't know who said those wise words but the quote is definitely a home run and I'm glad you shared it with me. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Melovy, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Letting go of the past is always easier said than done but I'm always glad when I've turned loose of something negative. I appreciate your input and applause. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      yoginijoy, Thank you for reading and for the lovely comment. It was so nice of you to send me a little bit of peace! How awesome! Much appreciated. -K

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Congrats on Hub of the Day - what a great message! I try to live by the mantra "don't sweat the small stuff." I don't always accomplish it, but it's a goal!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Such an important message for today. I have a sign on my wall that says "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow". I need to focus on it every day to remind myself to stay in the moment and stop worrying about what's happened in the past and what might happen in the future! Thank you!

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I totally love this hub! Thanks for all the great ideas for keeping it real and relaxed! Peace.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      Congrats on your hub of the day. Your suggestions are great and I particularly like those for letting go of the past. A well deserved HOTD!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Relationshipc, Thank you for reading and commenting. You're absolutely right. Establishing boundaries is definitely the most difficult. I also believe it's the most important because of the sheer empowerment. You couldn't have said it better when you say you have to be brutally honest and that is a daunting task. I appreciate your input. -K

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      All very good ways to simply stress. I think establishing boundaries can be a hard one for many people because it involves being brutally honest with yourself and with others, but it is worth doing!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      savingkathy, Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. This was a fun hub to write. Having three kiddos makes it easy to feel like things are getting crazy so simplicity is a must! Thank you for sharing. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      ripan131, Thank you for reading and replying. Hopefully the idea of living simply will catch on spread like an epidemic of calmness! I know my household is happier when everyone is more sedate. I appreciate your input. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Miss Mimi, Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope that your new mantra is helpful and brings you much comfort in your journey! I wish you the best and appreciate your vote. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Keeley Shea, Thank you very much! It does take a lot of energy to stay focused and on the path of least resistance. It's easy to get bogged down but once you can make a habit out it, simplicity is like a breath of fresh air. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. -K

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful hub! Thanks for sharing all of these helpful tips, and congratulations on your well-deserved HOTD! I will definitely be sharing this one!

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 5 years ago from On the road again

      This was a great, well-written hub. I think I'm going to start using "make time to make good choices" my new mantra. It is SO worth a little extra time to get things right. Voted up, congrats on hub of the day!

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Great hub of the day! I try to do a lot of these suggestions. They are all true and great advice. You have to work at it every day though and eventually your life will be a lot simpler. Wonderfully written!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 5 years ago from NJ

      K,

      Thank you, it is hard to do but is worth it.

      I would be happy to give input for your future hub.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Ruchira, Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate you being here. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Kelley, Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate you taking the time. -K

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Great tips for reducing stress. Congrats on the HOTD.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Excellent read as always! Thanks for the tips. Congrats on the HOTD! Kelley

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Cathy, A terrific idea to focus your mind on the positive aspect of a potentially negative situation. It takes a truly humble, courageous and mature soul to be able to do this kind of emotional work. I congratulate you and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      This is excellent input and if you don't mind, I might try to incorporate your story into the hub at some point. It's definitely a great exercise and seems as though it would provide some very necessary self reflection. Again, thank you for your response. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Astralrose, I agree with you. We are truly the captains of our own ships. Certainly, we have to navigate the storm from time to time but that's how life works. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your input and your votes. Thanks for helping me celebrate HOTD! -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      bizwin, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. It can definitely be a journey of self exploration but like you say, it provides you with freedom and focus. Thank you for the excellent comment and for voting. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      jeugejohn, Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your input and compliment. -K

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 5 years ago from NJ

      Thanks, great information.

      I would like to share my experience with trying to deal with my past. I have actually made a list of all the awful things that have happened to me, mostly regarding my x-husband. I went down the list and found the gifts I received from every experience and wrote them down.

      This is a hard excercise to do, but worth the trouble. I found that there were indeed gifts. Courage, independence, gratitude, friendshps, closer bonds with my children and more.

      This excercise has shed a new light on my past and has made it much easier to deal with.

    • Astralrose profile image

      Astralrose 5 years ago from India

      Great tips, great hub! Nobody can really change things that we want...we ourselves have to do that and expectation leads to nothing, sometimes frustration! We are the ones responsible for every single thing that we want...may it be success or happiness, decision, action, etc!

      Voted up and rated! Congratulations for "hub of the day".

    • bizwin profile image

      Christabel Evans 5 years ago from England, UK

      Great tips and ideas. From the day I discovered that my success and failure is my responsibility, and that is a long time ago, I am more happier, focused and forgiving. Voted across.

    • jeugenejohn profile image

      jeugenejohn 5 years ago from Kerala

      An interesting hub with very good notes in self improvement

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      epi, Your kindness never ceases. I always try to maintain a sense of simplicity but it's easier said than done. Yes? I'm glad that my words reached you as yours are always a bridge to my heart, emotions and often deepest soul. Thank you for your constant companionship. Best to you always -K

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      .....well I suffer from stress, anxiety and situational depression and I would imagine they're all cousins of a similar disorder. So with that in mind I was able to obtain and retain much of what you wrote here with enlightenment and active interest.

      Thank you for your world class ability to communicate the written word through your thoughts and feelings here and I am sending to you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 11:07am

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Pamela, Thank you for reading and for your input. Stress has a tendency to make me physically ill so eliminating it from my life is always for the best though not always successful. Live and learn, right? :) I appreciate your votes. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Glimmer, Thank you for reading and commenting. Like you, moving on is typically not a problem but forgiveness, for me, can be like leaping the Grand Canyon :). This last year seems to have taught me that life is too short to hold on to the past. I agree with you that it's important to learn. Thank you for voting, I appreciate and value your input. -K

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      Great suggestions for reducing stress. It is so important as stress affects our health and certainly our happiness. Voted up and useful.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Found this hub extremely interesting and useful. Voted up. For me, forgiving offenses is now and has always been a tough one. As I've gotten older though, I realize how important it is.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Dontei, Thank you for reading and commenting. It's truly insightful that you recognize your habit! You've conquered much of the battle right there. Hopefully you can find ways to make it easy to maneuver your projects and daily tasks that aren't being done. Good Luck -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      lindacee, Thank you for reading and commenting. Hopefully it came at a good time for you and worked in your favor. I believe that everything happens for a reason. It's definitely hard not to think about the future. I'm very much a planner. I like to be prepared for everything and every possible outcome! Is that even feasible? Nevertheless, I appreciate you reading. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      teaches, I have a tendency to put things off as well. Simply because I have so many things going on at one time, I find that if I don't live by my calendar then I quickly fall behind. It feels great to accomplish things! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It's always good to hear from you. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Om, Thank you very much! I appreciate your reading and commenting. The past isn't typically my problem and I usually don't worry too much about tomorrow unless it's something brand new. Then I'm like a machine that never turns off! My brain just seems to work and work. I don't know if you noticed but I linked your hub about keeping a planner to this hub. I hope that's okay. Thank you for your input and time. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Hey Brother! Thank you for reading and commenting. It's always good to hear from you. Stress always complicates situations and I'm no stranger to stress! Hopefully others find this useful too. I always appreciate your input. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      peachpurple, Thank you for taking the time to read this hub. It's great that you take the time to think of your brother. Hopefully he will learn to manage his stress and simplify his life at the same time. Don't give up on him! He needs people like you to remind him that there are good reasons to manage your stress. I appreciate your vote. -K

    • Dontei profile image

      Michael 5 years ago

      I found this hub's section on procrastination very helpful. Being a habitual procrastinator myself I am always on the lookout for more reading on the subject. Thanks for the great hub!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Reading this Hub was beneficial. I had a very stressful day. I appreciate the suggestions and will try to take them to heart. I do find myself hanging on to past mistakes. But my main issue is obsessing about the future. It's tough not to do in these economic times. Thanks for your insight!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      The biggest change I did in my life was to stop procrastinating. I would put things on hold, and they would never get done. Worse, I would get in trouble for not doing them on time. Very useful hub post.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." I LOVE this quote! Thanks for this wonderful hub, Kristi. I try to focus on my present as much as I can. Letting go of the past isn't too difficult for me, but sometimes I find it hard not to worry about the future.

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very timely hub! Your tips are practical and well presented. I agree that a complicated life definitely leads to unnecessary stress. Thanks for sharing this invaluable resource of information!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Good tips you have mentioned. My bro is having a big stress he had to visit consultant and takes medication. Told him to let go but he shot back " You talk so easy. Try to fit in my situation lah !" Never talk him out again. Wish he could read this hub. Voted up

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      greatstuff,Thank you so much for the nice compliment. I appreciate you forwarding my hub and hope that it's useful. Thanks also for your vote. Great to have your input. -K

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Good list of useful advices and I will be forwarding this to a few of my friends who seriously need to read this hub. Voted useful and up.

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      billybuc, Thank you for your devotion and comments. I appreciate you taking the time. -K

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good suggestions; I'm already there! I hope many others join me!