A Low Stress Lifestyle: Simplify, Laugh, and Relax!

Cultivating a low stress lifestyle doesn't have to be difficult. Most of the stress in our lives come from our relentless pursuit of complicating things. Here we'll explore essential tools for simplifying our lives. Fostering a healthy lifestyle, time management, abundance, and joy can be simple if we take things one step at a time.

The following is a terrific excerpt from Leo Babauta's article, which offers up some simple ways for you to start creating a low stress lifestyle. Notice I used the verb "to create." Yes, that means you have to do something. Decreasing stress doesn't just come to any of us. It does, get easier and easier to have a low stress lifestyle the more we actively manage our stress.

10 Simple Ways to Live a Low Stress Lifestyle

1. One thing at a time.

This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. If you’re going to do email, do only that. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better at it.

2. Simplify your schedule.

A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Get out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. Leave room for down time and fun.

3. Get moving.

Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga, STRETCH! It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it.

4. Develop one healthy habit this month.

Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time.

5. Do something calming.

What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading, or having sex (which can also be considered a “get moving” activity if you do it for longer than 5 minutes). Other people are calmed by housework or yard work. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.

6. Simplify your finances.

Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping (at malls or online) much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.

7. Have a blast!

Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I like to play with my kids — they take my mind off everything and are really hilarious. I also like to play sports (again, often with my kids). Board games are fun. Sex, again, can be a fun activity. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh.

8. Get creative.

Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. I like writing, but others like to paint or play music or sketch or make pottery or do interior design or build things.

9. De-clutter.

This is a favorite of mine. I like to take 20-30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I look around at anything that’s cluttering up a room, and get rid of it or find a better place for it. When I’m done, I have a nice, peaceful environment for work, play, and living. Do this a little at a time — it can be one of your “fun activities.”

10. Be early.

I will admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get 6 kids ready (seriously — try it!). But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material.

A low stress lifestyle is ours for the taking, as long as we allow ourselves to simplify our everyday lives. Please take a moment to meander through this page and the rest of Know-Stress-Zone.com. You'll find many ideas for increasing productivity, laughing more, cultivating a low stress lifestyle, and feeling better all around.

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