by Rachel Stewart

Something that I seem to think about and try to minimize quite a bit is irritation. I want to have a calm atmosphere around me, but I want to put forth as little effort as I can to maintain that serenity. Of course, that does not always happen, and I try not to let that bother me either.

It may sound as if my approach is just plain laziness; that is partly true.  But more importantly, it is that way because I want to reduce the stresses of life as much as I can.

Stress affects us all in different ways, but many people under stress do not exhibit outward signs of it. Some suffer from headaches, digestive problems, or the inability to sleep. Others show it by a constant furrowing of their brows or a nervous twitch in the corner of their mouth or eye. Of course, the classic symptoms are nail biting and hair twirling.

Everyone can have a stressful moment. You know, when the phone is ringing and the baby is crying and there is a pot boiling over on the stove. Or they can have a stressful day. You can fill in the blank here. But having to undergo a steady stream of stress day after day literally makes people sick. It weakens the immune system and leaves an opening for illness and disease to take over.

My body will not allow me to ignore stress. Sure I can endure it for a little while, and I may not even notice that I am suffering from it until all of a sudden I will break out into an itchy, red rash. I have found that the level of my stress is directly related to the extent of my rash. In a way, I am lucky because my body simply will not tolerate some of the torture that I have tried to put it through. I get a clear signal when it has had enough, and it also helps me pinpoint the areas of my life that need toning down.

Your body is giving you signals, and you probably know what they are. Covering them up by taking medicine will not do you any good in the long run. Slowing down will.

When you slow down, you start to notice things. You notice the birds singing. You notice, hey, the sky is blue! Your body will talk to you. It will tell you what it needs, and if you are listening, you can take care of it.

There is nothing great about running yourself into the ground. This life is so short. Why are you running? Do you really want to get to the end of it faster?

Simple living has been a way for me to reduce the stress in my life. Clearing away clutter, having my things organized, thinking ahead, and leaving time for the many interruptions that dissect my day are ways that I have been able to reduce stress. Plus, it also helps if I remember that I cannot always get what I want.

Recently, I found a web page that had some great stress reduction tips. There were a few that surprised me. I plan to try them and I hope you will check them out.

I hate to say it, but there really it no easy way to do anything right in this world. If you want a less stressful life, you have to commit to making it that way for yourself. You have to decide that health and happiness are a priority for you. You will have to make a stand for yourself. This sounds selfish, but it is not.

When you make time for yourself and feel rested and calm, your focus will move from yourself toward others. You will see the world with new eyes, have energy that you never thought possible, and feel a positive outlook emerge from your once badgered and cynical mind.

Isn't simple living great?
Simple Living Reduces Stress
Wake Up & Live!
RACHEL STEWART is a staff writer for Simple Planet.
Simple Planet: Wake Up & Live
Simple Planet: Wake Up & Live