If you are alive in the world today, chances are that you experience stress. You might even wear your stress like a badge of honour.
But let’s face it, stress and anxiety will cost you dearly. You pay the price in your relationships, your self-esteem and your overall sense of well-being.
So, while stress might be an unavoidable part of life, it’s possible to reduce your stress by cultivating some simple living habits.
The cost of too many choices
Our world is noisier than ever before, we work longer hours, and society and popular culture demand us to do more, be more and have more.
We can buy want we want with the click of a button and we spend countless hours looking at someone else’s fabulous life on
The downside of having so many options available is that we become overwhelmed by choice.
We can literally
If this feels like your life, it is a great reason for you to simplify your life.
That way, you can reduce the stress and the demands and the exhaustion that comes from having too many choices, and too many things in your life which are, in the bigger scheme of things, not really important to have.
How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety through Simple Living Habits
Think a bit about the things which cause you stress.
Your boss? Your relationships? Your messy house? Your growing debt? No work-life balance? Eating or drinking too much?
By downshifting your life, you are effectively trading your high
Stress is not always harmful. Actually, a certain amount of stress keeps you on your
But, being under constant stress wears you down.
Like the label inside your new shirt which scratches a little bit to start off with, and at the end of the day, your skin is rubbed raw.
What is a simple life?
Even if you take nothing else away from this post, hear this: Simplifying your life looks different for everyone, as does minimalism or living a slower life.
There is no right way to have a simple life. AND. When you simplify your life, you reduce the amount of stimulation you are exposed to, which in turn leads to a reduction in your stress levels.
What simplifying your life is not
- a set-in-stone prescribed way to live
- living in poverty
- living off the land
- becoming vegan or vegetarian
- being a hippy
- rejecting modern technology
- owning less than 100 possessions, or only 20 books or 2 pairs of socks
The benefits of simplifying your life
- More fulfilment as you align with your values
- Greater appreciation for what you have
- More time for what is important to you
- Less financial stress as you reduce your debt
- More balanced life
- Increased creativity
- Increase in your
overallsense of wellbeing
5 ways to reduce stress by simplifying your life
1. Identify your values
Reducing your stress and focusing on what is important to you, will help you have a more fulfilling and satisfying life.
So, do you know what is important to you? We all have our own personal values or core values that drive our behaviour – both consciously and unconsciously.
Your values are literally that which your value above all else. Some common values are independence, love, family, peace, recognition, and connection.
If you don’t yet know your core values, take some time to identify them.
Make a list of the things which are most important to you. Prioritize these and then reduce this list down to 5-7 top values.
When you know what your core values are, it can help you with making decisions. It gives you inner peace when you start living in alignment with your values.
Research is showing us that a cluttered home is a stressful home.
A large percentage of middle-class families suffer from a storage crisis, effectively causing them not to enjoy the possessions that they work so hard for.
You know the problem with clutter. As soon as you have too many things all over the place, it’s difficult to find anything and your life feels chaotic.
You end up spending no time in your backyard because of the mess, your house stresses you out because it is so full and untidy, and don’t even start on the garage, where you can only just fit your car in.
The way out of this is to reduce your stress by simplifying the amount of stuff you own. BUT. Don’t go on a decluttering frenzy. You’ll exhaust yourself and get demotivated. And worst of all, the clutter will come back.
It is much better to take it slow and steady and declutter over a period of time, even if it takes you 6 months or longer!
3. Become Present
A lot of the stress we experience comes from the anticipation of an event somewhere in the future. Or about remembering something painful, unpleasant or embarrassing from the past.
And while we might logically know that we can’t change anything in the past, or that worrying about the future won’t solve anything, we still do it.
Some of us even become so addicted to living there that we almost forget that our lives are actually happening here.
I believe that a big part of simple intentional living is to live in the present, which will automatically help reduce stress and anxiety.
We worry about the things we think about, and often it is either about something we wish we did differently or something we stress about in our future.
By becoming more present and practicing mindfulness you will find that your stress reduces. It’s not really possible for our brains to be in two places at the same time. It is either in the past, the present or the future.
The most effective way that I know to become present is to use your breath.
Consciously take a few deep breaths into your chest and stomach area (not your shoulders because you don’t have lungs there!).
If you do this over and over again, you will find that you live less inside your head, where the past and the future lie, and more inside your body, which is in the present moment.
4. Stop with the Perfectionism
Perfectionism is a pain. You are always going the extra mile, always afraid of not being good enough and always doubting yourself. Talk about complicating our own life!
I am a recovering perfectionist and I know exactly how much unnecessary stress and anxiety it introduces into EVERYTHING.
Simplify your life by doing the inner work you have to, in order to squash the perfectionism bug.
My mantra that I now consciously live by is that “good enough is good enough”.
5. Say goodbye to toxic relationships
The friend who only phones you when she’s in trouble. Or, your friend who constantly puts you down in a joking way. Or the one who leaves you feeling exhausted after you’ve
I had a friend like this. Each time, after I’ve been in her company, I felt sad and anxious. It took me a little while to figure out that this happened only when I was with her, and so I decided to let the friendship go.
Often we don’t realize how toxic relationships like these affect us. And, it might even take a long time to figure out exactly what is going on, as it took me.
If you have friendships like this in your life, perhaps now is a good time for you to think about which of these are worth keeping, and which relationships you can let go of.
Use the list of values that you’ve identified in point 1, to help you with your decision.
Cutting these toxic relationships from your life will free up your own energy to focus on those relationships that nurture and support you.
Top 5 ways to reduce stress through simple living
- Identify your values
- Become present
- Stop with the perfectionism
- Say goodbye to toxic relationships
You don’t need to move into a cave, and avoid contact with the modern world in order to save yourself from a stress-filled existence.
You simply need to start with you. A small change here and there in your lifestyle, in your thinking and in your habits, to ultimately lead to a life where you have less stress and more living.