Friday, March 7, 2008

Simplify your life

This is more of a reminder for myself, but if it benefits you as well then I'm happy to have helped. Actually, I just got this from one of my mailing lists so if anyone knows where this article came from, feel free to post a comment so I can acknowledge the author properly.

Stress is one of the deadliest curses of the modern age. The most dreaded diseases that afflict man like chronic nervous tension, heart trouble, and cancer have been found to be stress-related. Stress is caused by leading a fast, complicated, and nerve-wracking lifestyle. We constantly find that there is neither enough time nor resources to do the things we want or need to do, leaving us feeling agitated, harassed, frantic, and continually on edge. To be able to cope with the growing complexity and pressures of life that confront us daily, we need to de-stress by slowing down and voluntarily simplifying our lives. Voluntary life simplification is not about being miserable, poor or deprived. It is about knowing your true values, goals, and priorities so you can focus on them, and discard all the other matters that just add tension and confusion to your existence. Don't let stress wear you down. Discover through thoughtful analysis of your values, lifestyle, and goals what is "enough" or just "perfectly right" for you. With voluntary life simplification, you can save your health and sanity, and maximize your capacity to savor and enjoy life.

  1. Take a vow of voluntary life simplicity. Take a pen and a sheet of paper and write down the things that complicate, harass, and bring tension into your life. Come up with creative ideas to counter these for a less stressful and more meaningful life.

  2. Slow down. If you constantly find yourself racing against the clock, take a deep breath and calm down. You must learn to simplify your day-to-day schedule and live a more balanced, deliberate, and purposeful life. Most important of all, learn to say no to people and activities that you can do well without.

  3. De-clutter. Most of us have an excessive preoccupation with "things" and having or collecting them. Control your compulsive consumer habits or shopping/buying addiction and minimize your material possessions. Life will be so much easier when you travel light.

  4. Detoxify. As a result of watching too many commercials coupled with our excessive obsession to stay young, beautiful, and healthy, most of us take too much vitamins, use too much shampoos and detergents, apply too much makeup and beauty products, etc. Detoxify your body inside out; let it breathe freely, and nurture itself naturally.

  5. De-tech. Technological advance-ments sometimes prove to complicate our lives rather than bring convenience. No, you don't have to ditch your cell phone, e-mail or voice mail; stay connected but not too connected that you end up stressed and harassed. Turn off your cell phone once in a while (and have refreshing, momentary peace), and watch less TV (it is a time thief!).

  6. Practice time management. We all have the same 24 hours in one day yet some people are more productive with their time than others. Their secret? They know how to manage and use their time wisely. Make a daily to-do list of your activities, prioritize them, and stick to your schedule.

  7. Downsize your career ambitions. If your career seems to endanger your physical, emotional, and mental sanity, re-plan and downsize it. Our obsession to be ahead in the rat race often leads to disturbing anxieties, frustrations and, ultimately, diseases. Be realistic about your career and business goals, and save your life.

  8. Delegate. Face it, you cannot do everything yourself; delegate chores at home and at the office. Ask for help; get a secretary or assistant, employ a cleaning lady once a week, have your clothes laundered. The time you will save will be priceless if used to devote to things that mean so much to you like spending quality time with your kids, or learning life-improvement skills in schools and seminars.

  9. Give up unnecessary things and activities. By force of habit or what we conveniently term "sentimental reasons," we tend to hang on to things and activities that no longer serve a purpose in our lives. Ask, "Is this thing relevant and does it serve a purpose at this stage of my life?" If the answer is no, discard it.

  10. Get out of debt. People who stay in debt are faced by the continuous nuisance of receiving and dealing with threatening collection notices. Being in debt puts you under intense stress; settle your debts right away or do it gradually but diligently if you cannot pay upfront. Avoid the temptation of further buying on credit.

  11. Say goodbye to negative or toxic people. Simplifying your life may mean getting rid of some people, too. Be selective with friends and social circles you join. Make sure you build relationships with good, sincere, loving, supportive, and nurturing people. Avoid negative or toxic people; they can dampen your enthusiasm and drain your energy.

  12. Avoid information overload. In this day and age of worldwide information technology, we are all bound to be saturated with info and ideas that may not be relevant or useful in our lives. Choose and filter the amount and quality of information you expose yourself to. Being flooded with stimuli can overwhelm and confuse you, and can be an enormous source of stress.

  13. Spring clean. Spring cleaning doesn't just involve cleaning up your home and work spaces and editing your accumulation of trinkets and junk. It also entails spiritual cleansing and renewal. This may mean settling unresolved issues with relatives and loved ones, and even social and professional associates. Go to a gym for an energizing workout or a spa once in a while for a relaxing body massage.

  14. Go back to nature living. Connect yourself with the earth more, and live off the land. Grow your own organic vegetables and fruits, opt to use natural products (not synthetic), and choose to eat unprocessed foods. You are a child of the earth and your health as well as the earth's beauty, safety, and well-being depends on you.

  15. Live in the moment. Learn to relax and take your time, and preoccupy yourself with the present. Don't agonize over the past because it's gone and don't be anxious over the future because it is still to come. Learn to relish the now, and take time to pause and feel the fresh wind. Most of all, try never to worry.

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