Simplicity as a stress reduction strategy

Over the years, my wardrobe has become smaller and smaller.  That’s not only because I have chosen to live in a very small house, but also because I came to realize that my closet was full of clothes that I wore infrequently – or not at all.  Once I weighed the cost of my emotional attachment to those clothes with the freedom of fewer decisions in daily life, more money to spend elsewhere or save, and less maintenance to do, the answer became clear:  simplify.   I was both surprised and deeply gratified by the lessening of decision fatigue and accompanying lightness of feeling as I began each day.

This simplification process illuminated for me the burden that we who live in the materially rich Western world carry in terms of too many choices.  This picture of an average grocery store illustrates the extreme variety of purchase choices we are faced with on a daily basis.  The increasing presence of the media in our lives also adds to an often overwhelming number of possibilities.  How many of those choices are truly good for us?  Is the process of choice in and of itself a stressor in our lives?

Taking the direction of simplification in your life can show up in many ways: 

·         less time and money spent food shopping when you limit yourself to a narrower band of simpler and healthier food choices

·         more intimate and satisfying connection with your friends when you devote more quality time to fewer people more regularly

·         more time for fun and healthy activities when the time spent making unnecessary choices is minimized

Taking the direction of simplicity wherever possible in your life creates small changes that can add up to serious reduction of larger stresses.

Posted on October 16, 2015 .