10 Tips To Simplify Your Life In A Stressful World

You know the type. They make life difficult with their lack of manners.

You think that they must have been born in a barn.

But we have to put up with them because they are a part of the society we live in.

Red and yellow flowers

Here are some tips to help you cope and simplify in a stressful world:

UNPLUG: This appears to be quite difficult for many people. They feel like they have to have their eyes on a screen most of the time.

Leave your phone in the car. We didn’t always have mobile phones. We managed. Go about your tasks and let your mind roam. Enjoy what is around you. Let yourself watch that mama bird feeding the babies in her nest. You wouldn’t see that if you had your eye on your phone.

TURN OFF THE TV: The world is chaotic, there’s no doubt about that. But what can you yourself do about it right now? Ask yourself that. Sometimes I listen to the news and it’s so disturbing I want to get up and bust the TV with a hammer.

Instead of resorting to violence, turn it off and do something you enjoy. Pick up a craft project you started. Rearrange your thoughts. Just be.

SIT & REFLECT: The dusting and the dishes and the laundry can wait. Sit near a window in a favorite chair and just watch what’s outside your window.

Even if you look out on a city street, you will see birds on power lines. Pigeons pecking at the sidewalk. Let yourself relax and simply watch. Feel your body relax. Focus on that feeling.

Yellow roses against a woman sculpture

LET GO OF PERFECTION: I don’t know where we get the idea that everything must be perfect. But it causes stress to be this hard on ourselves.

There is perfection, and then there is good enough. Settle more often with good enough.

STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF: I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We all do it. We hammer ourselves with our internal voice that we should have done this. We should have done that. But it’s done. You can’t change it.

Let it go and set your eyes on what is happening now. Live in the moment.

WORK ON REDUCING THE CLUTTER: The less things you own, the less you have to deal with. If you look around you and there is too much stimulation, you will feel stressed.

One room, one drawer at a time, begin to rid yourself of the detritus of your life. Keep only what is most important or essential.

My patio container garden

LET GO OF THE NEED TO CONTROL: I know, if you feel in control, you feel better. It’s the fight or flight syndrome of the animal in the jungle. Eat or be eaten.

But we aren’t living in the jungle. Sometimes it’s okay to stop climbing the telephone pole to the very top so you can watch everything down below.

Then when there is an emergency situation, you will be relaxed enough to deal with it in a calmer fashion.

STEP OUT OF THE RAT RACE: Some people must go out into the world every day and work. But if you can find a way to work from home, all the better.

Unless of course being home is more stressful to you. Which suggests that you have work at home to do to change that.

Learn to pace yourself. Teach yourself moderation. Slow down.

USE COMMAS IN YOUR LIFE: That sounds silly I know. But visualize a comma as a pause. Learn to pause before acting or reacting.

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Wait until your heart rate has slowed down before you do anything.

STOP FEARING DECISIONS: I know some people who simply cannot make a decision. It is so stressful for them that they are almost paralyzed.

Listen to your gut. Push away all the extraneous noise in your head. Force yourself not to stew every time you have to decide on something. Make the decision and let it go.

Once you start listening to your gut, it will start talking to you more.

White hosta flower

But, you say, the world outside is just so stressful. Yes it is. So here are my tips in dealing with it.

Order what you can online so you aren’t faced with a store full of noisy people who act like they were born in a barn.

Bundle your errands together so you can go out less but get more done.

Be good to yourself. Treat yourself after a stressful day. Take a drive in the country (without a phone to distract. Turn it off).

Sit down with a book or puzzle or whatever relaxes you. Make a cup of tea or coffee.

Photography relaxes me. I add photos to my posts that don’t seem to have anything to do with what I’m conveying, but it is a pause in my conversation with you. It is a moment to relax before you keep reading.

Make a habit of carving out time in your day to do things that bring you peace and joy. Enjoy it fully, mindfully, with all your attention focused on what you’re doing or seeing or hearing.

Regret is wasted time. Whatever you feel regret for has already happened. Your chance to change the outcome is gone. Let it go.

Worrying is wasted time because whatever you’re worried about might not ever happen. Let it go.

Life is lived a day at a time. Learn to slow down and live in the moment.

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30 Comments

  1. Brenda,
    Today you were my pause and my treat to myself after I finished a somewhat stressful task at work.
    I pause for a few moments daily to read your blog post as I get to a stopping point at work.
    Your post and a cup of coffee is my afternoon pick me up, then I’m refreshed and ready to go at it again!
    Thanks for taking the time each day to let us know what’s on your mind and for keeping it real.

  2. Well said, Miss Brenda!! I just got home from a committee meeting where we agreed to disband the committee and our work after many years of success. It was hard, but it also is time. It feels very good to know that is one meeting that won’t crop up on the calendar, one set of responsibilities that I can send away, one file of notes that I can recycle. I love to declutter and pass things on to new owners, but decluttering the calendar remains a huge challenge for me, even in retirement.

    I am going to make that cup of tea and just sit for a spell—so hard for me to do!

  3. Great tips, Brenda! I donated five more bags of stuff yesterday. Still have a ways to go in my basement; I’m always decluttering down there. It will get better when Tim moves out and takes his stuff with him. I rarely turn on the TV. There’s hardly anything I watch. I never watch the news on TV – it’s too sensationalized and depressing. I left the rat race six years ago, but I know there are *many* who can’t afford to do that. I was only working part-time and my husband makes a decent salary, so I was in a different boat than a lot of other people. When you’re supporting yourself and/or a family and your job doesn’t allow you to work from home, there’s not much choice.

  4. Such very good suggestions, Brenda. Easier said than done, of course, but still worth striving for. Each day is a new opportunity to practice these ideas for living a calmer, more centered and happy life.

    Thanks for reminding us of these actions we can take to nurture ourselves. I know it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily to-do list. But our health–both mental and physical–depends on us being able to step back and relax. Let’s do it, friends!

    As always, I love the flower photos you show us. Feels like a little shot of beauty on every post. Doesn’t matter if they pertain to the subject or not. I just love looking.

    Hope you and Charlie have a laid-back week. Take care.

  5. Good evening Brenda, You truly are a wonderful writer; thought provoking and a mindful encourager. You are also a wonderful life coach; one whose life experiences have given birth to a confident woman. Compile your book from your blog; every day, every word is book worthy.
    You can write and teach because you have sat in the classroom and done the homework; you have experienced the good,bad, and the ugly, and come forth gloriously alive to share it! You touch many lives that need to hear about forgiveness for others who have harmed or disappointed them in their lives. You write so to speak of looking in the mirror and forgiving the person whose image is a reminder of their past failures. It is a medicinal pool of healing to step out of the past failures and into the forgiveness of the sun. To look up and to know that they are worthy. No matter the past, it is often the failures that transform us. It is not where we begin, or the road we have walked, but the journey. The journey that brings each of us to where we are today. I think we are the person we were meant to be and to find and love that person is lifes reward. Whether in a crowd or in the solitude of our own home, we can be satisfied and be happy. It is acceptance in our own heart and to like who we have become; it makes all the hurts and the misunderstanding nothing more than memory and we can smile and like who we have become. Life is not perfect but life is good!

  6. I struggle with ‘letting go’ of things. I have always been Marge In Charge. I cannot tell you the amount of people that have told me I am the strongest, busiest woman they know. That all comes with a price though. I sometimes feel that there is no ME time because I am caught up in “doing”.
    This is a great post and I have purposed to not watch so much news like I once did. Most of it is so negative and who needs that?
    Hope you have a great night- GOOD post- xo Diana

  7. When one has been married for fifty years, one acquires a lot of things. So I have been slowly going through things and taking a lot of bags to a charity store in town. But I am still trying to let go of more. As for going to the store. I would rather dig a ditch than go shopping and I am so tired when I get home, it’s like I’ve been working hard all day. I do almost all my clothes shopping online now and it’s so easy and so much less stressful. Still can’t decide if I want to have my groceries delivered because I do like to pick out the vegetables and fruits. We live in a stress filled world and you are right, the more we tune out, the better off we are.

    1. This summer I began having my groceries ready for me to pick up curbside. It was so hot and my pacemaker was not working properly. The clinic made adjustments to it and my life changed for the better. Now that I have had the groceries picked out for me, I will continue to use the service. The produce is the best. They must select it before it is stocked in the store.

  8. You have such wisdom..thank you.
    I love the last paragraphs since my middle name seems to be “Worry”.

    Peace be with you and your Furbaby each day, as I am quite sure your Blog blesses a lot of folks like me..again with your Wisdom, Gift of Writing, Decor, and most of all your realism and positivity you project. :0)

  9. I relate to everything in this post! it’s wonderful. but unlike you and so many others who NEED to declutter… I have trouble in keeping a rein on letting things go! I honestly think I would be happy with just a bed and a chair and a table. so long as I had a window and could feel the fresh air and smell the rain and see the stars! when I was 16 I walked around with Walden Pond as my bible I guess! and I’ve lived very simply ever since. but I love beauty. and that’s my saving grace I suppose. but what is stark to others is serene and beautiful to me. kind of like the Shakers I guess.
    people have always said… “what could you possibly have left to get rid of?” but there is always something! it’s fun for me. and I love the way you write. 🙂
    I also LOVE that 3rd picture of your patio garden! oh Brenda. you have created such beauty there. it’s a blessing to us all!

  10. Brenda, I love your posts. Sometimes I will not read them for a number of days. I save a bunch of them and then treat myself to some very good reading.
    Someone mentioned a cluttered closet. Well, I also have that problem and I am not very good taking care of that mess.
    I am another one that enjoys staying home in my “nest.” I really enjoy looking at your apartment and how you arrange everything.
    The best to you and your sweet puppy.

  11. When I get stressed out I will eat some dark choc and a few walnuts. Sitting down to watch my fav movie that makes me laugh everytime I watch it- with cooler weather now -having a soft comfy blanket too is another happy thing. Another thing that distresses me is baking and cooking for loved ones. Just to see the smile on their faces and the appreciation makes me feel great. Looking at beautiful flowers makes me happy. I also want to learn to take better pictures of food, people, and my surroundings.
    Thanks Brenda for a great post and keeping it real! Have a great week with your Charlie boy! What makes you the happiest of all?

    1. But that is such a big commitment. Writing here every day is something I’ve done for so long it’s second nature. If someone came to me and said they’d pay me to do it, that would be another matter!

  12. Brenda! My favorite post so far! I try to live a simple, stress free life, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I love these reminders! Enjoy your week. I sure am glad for the cooler weather in OK.

    1. As I wrote in a comment above, this kind of life does not come to me naturally. I naturally walk fast, talk fast and do everything else fast. So I am learning, and hoping to teaching you all as I go.

  13. Hi,
    Regret and worry–two big things. Clutter is the other. Thank you for putting it into perspective. I have work to do, dogs to hug, and a garden to sit in. Wishing you and Charlie a happy day.
    Linda, Ella, and Simon

    1. I have cluttered closets I need to work on but I’m avoiding dust right now due to my eyes. But every time I open the doors, I kind of cringe. It’s a one day at a time thing, Linda, Ella & Simon.

  14. Brenda these are all great suggestions. I am so stressed lately by clutter as I prepare to move from my home to an apartment in the not-too-distant future. I can only take one drawer, one shelf, one closet at a time! “Deciding” and Letting go” can be so hard. A little bit each day…

    Your posts are one of my best ways to pause each day!

    1. Well I am glad I’m of help to you. The decisions and getting ready to move are far worse, I’ve learned, in terms of stress, than the actual move itself. Try to get it all over with so you can live in peace.

  15. Brenda, you are my soulmate. I have looked forward to reading your blog everyday for years. We have the same outlook on life and the same things that push our buttons. Without knowing it you are my friend. We both live simply and this post prompted me to say “hello”. I waited until I turned 50 to get my first fur baby. She is a 10 year old Coton who brings us so much joy. Take care.

    1. Well, hello soul mate! This kind of living does not come naturally to me. I struggle every day with learning to let things go. So I thought while I learn how to do it, I’ll teach others while I’m at it. Charlie says hello to your fur baby.

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