Stress is something we encounter every day, from work obligations to family requirements, and everything in between. Americans, however, experience more stress than is healthy — and they may not be doing much about it.
Even though Americans’ stress levels are starting to decrease overall from previous years, there are still 42 percent of people who aren’t taking the time to keep their stress in check.
Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels
What can you do to manage stress? The kneejerk reaction is often to make more money, do more and be more.
In truth, however, eliminating elements from your life will provide you with the clarity, space and time you so desire. The answer to your stress problems is available through minimizing different aspects of your life.
Here are three ways to start de-cluttering and cleansing your world:
1- Forget Storing, Embrace Purging
Don’t spend any more of your time or money on storage systems. It’s not that the perfect containment system for all your stuff eludes you — it’s simply that you have too many belongings.
With possessions comes responsibility — and stress. If you don’t have heaps of belongings to worry about and take care of, you will spare yourself that time and energy of trying to keep track of it all.
Additionally, when you are selective about the items you keep, only the useful and meaningful items will remain. This will actually save you time in the long run, as you won’t have to go searching for items amongst all your unwanted clothing, housewares and possessions. You’ll have a very clear mental catalog of what you held onto.
If you need a little added motivation, look at the bestselling book, “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Book” by Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo. It details how to begin bringing minimalism into your home by sorting through what’s there.
2- Bigger Isn’t Better
Somehow the American Dream got caught up in the notion that bigger is better, especially with homes. Coming in second only to Australia, US homeowners have the largest average house size in the world — with a footprint of over 2,000 square feet.
With each square foot comes a higher price tag, meaning higher mortgage payments, property taxes and debt. Not only that, but monthly costs, such as utility bills, also go up since there is more space that needs to be supplied with power, water and heating/cooling.
In an effort to avoid these costs, people are opting for smaller homes. Some folks are even moving into tiny homes — less than 500 square feet. Some are traditional structures, and some are less traditional ones including buses, campers and shipping containers.
Each tiny living space allows the occupant to be free of crushing living expenses and money woes each month. All overhead costs decrease when living in a tiny house.
Tiny homes also discourage hoarding or excess accumulation of food and household products. With the limited amount of space available, only choice items can be housed. This empowers residents to invest in high-quality possessions. These pieces will last longer and will be more likely to be treasured possessions rather than a conglomeration of so-so items.
3- Go Paperless & Online
Papers have a way of stacking up on countertops, office desks and by the front door. The time and energy required to open, read, deal with and then file the paperwork could be better spent.
Opting to go paperless via online billing and banking reallocates that time for other, more fulfilling tasks. It will also eliminate physical clutter and allow for more accurate and efficient bookkeeping.
We’re all busy people, juggling a multitude of tasks and expectations. If meaningful efficiencies can be found in our day-to-day lives, we’ll be better able to spend our precious time with who and what we love.
Practicing simplicity and minimalism isn’t about depriving yourself. Rather, it’s about making the very most of what you have — and eliminating stress in the process.
Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.