Stress basics (10)
- Stress assessment: Rate your stress level
- Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior
- How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment
- see all in Stress basics
Stress relief (23)
- Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke
- Spirituality and stress relief: Make the connection
- Need stress relief? Try the four A's
- see all in Stress relief
Relaxation techniques (9)
- Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits
- Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity
- Tai chi: A gentle way to fight stress
- see all in Relaxation techniques
Simplify your life to reduce stress
Stress is part of life, but it doesn't have to rule your life. Fight stress by simplifying and decluttering your life and mind.By Mayo Clinic staff
You've probably noticed the word "simplify" popping up in magazine articles and talk show discussions about how to deal with the chaos and complexity of modern life. There's even a monthly magazine about how to simplify your life.
The resurgence of an old idea — living a simpler life — isn't surprising at a time when many people feel overwhelmed by their busy, complicated lives. The voluntary simplicity movement, as it's sometimes called, preaches the value of living a more balanced, less stressful, deliberate and thoughtful life. You don't have to be a zealot, though, to want to simplify your life.
The effect of clutter
Can't find your car keys amid the piles on your counter? Tired of having to excavate the kitchen table before you can serve dinner? There's no question, being surrounded by clutter is an ongoing cause of stress. It's more than just an irritation, though. When you're surrounded by more things than you can manage, it sends a visual message that your life is out of control. And it can become a vicious circle, where disorder brings about procrastination, which only perpetuates the chaos. To make matters worse, when you're under stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, short-circuits your brain leading to forgetfulness, irritation and plain old meltdowns.
It's not just your home that can get cluttered. Your life and even your mind can also become overcrowded with too much junk. Maybe it's time to try a new approach. The following are ideas to help you simplify your life and reduce stress. Choose one and give it a try.
Clear the clutter
Pick one area to tackle, such as the junk drawer in the kitchen or the piles of clothes in the bedroom. Take a hard look at what you've accumulated. Clear out any items you're not using. If they're in good condition, consider donating them to a local charity. If you absolutely can't part with some items, box them up and put an expiration date of a year in the future on the box. Store the box. If the box remains unopened until the expiration date, you clearly can do without its contents. Trash or donate the box unopened.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Kustenmacher T. How to Simplify Your Life: Seven Practical Steps to Letting Go of Your Burdens and Living a Happier Life. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2004:17.
- St. James E. Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter. New York, N.Y.: Hyperion; 1994:6.
- What is simple living and why is it important? http://www.simpleliving.net/. Accessed Feb. 24, 2010.
- Rosen C. The myth of multitasking. The New Atlantis. 2008;20:105.
- Hallowell EM. Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD. New York, N.Y.: Ballantine; 2006:5.