Embracing The Approach of Less is More to Manage your Stress

The stress we experience day-to-day can be caused by an array of things, but I would hazard a guess that the most of the stress in our life is caused by scarcity. This feeling of not having enough. Whether that is time, energy or money, we seem to always want more. We often feel we can’t find enough time in the day to squeeze everything in, or maybe we just don’t have the energy to tackle everything on our to-do list or it could be that we are worried about money and constantly working more in hopes to be more financially stable. Regardless, it all revolves around scarcity and not having enough.

I recently read the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, which was truly enlightening. The entire premise of the book is around “less is more”. Instead of trying to do it all, simply focus your time, energy and money on what matters the most to you. When you are living in alignment with what you value the most, you not only do feel more fulfilled, but you also aren’t stretching yourself too thin over things that do not truly matter to you.

The key is figuring what you truly value in life, prioritizing those things and eliminating everything that’s not that. If you are ready to do that, use these journaling prompts to help you gain clarity on this process.

What aspects of your life do you value the most? When we are creating the life of our dreams, it is important to know what is most important to us. When we know where our values lie, it can guide the direction of our life and help us to make important decisions in our life. For example:, you could value

  • Connections with family and friends.

  • Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • Simplicity and simple joys.

  • A career that is fulfilling and makes a difference.

How can you prioritize the aspects of life that are most important to you? Once you have clarity on what truly matters to you and what alignment with your ideal life looks like, it is important to prioritize these things above all else. If we are not intentional with how we spend our time, energy and money, they can slowly drift away from what is most important to us. This is an opportunity to assess how you are currently incorporating what is important to you into your life and what you can do going forward to ensure they are the focal point of your life. For example:

  • You value your physical wellbeing so you are committed to moving your body for 30 minutes each day in whatever way feels right and getting at least 8 hours of sleep daily regardless of your schedule.

  • You value the connections with your family so you are committed to family dinner every night and a fun excursion every weekend.

  • You value financial freedom so you set aside a certain amount of money each month to invest and look for opportunities to grow your investments.

  • You value creativity so you set aside time three times a week to explore different ways to express yourself creatively such as painting, photography or dance.

What boundaries do you need to put in place in order to focus on what’s most important to you? Once you have clarity on what is most important to you, it is essential to say no to anything that is not aligned to that or that takes you away from those things. Although we have the best intentions, we can be easily pulled away from what matters most based on other people’s priorities and schedules. We have the tendency to go along with other requests without realizing what we are compromising in the process. This is an opportunity to figure out what is stealing your time, energy and money away from what matters most to you and what boundaries and guidelines you can put in place to protect them. For example:

  • You value self care so you choose to leave work on time every day in order to make time for activities that leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.

  • You value your positive mindset so take time away from people who leave you leaving you drained and defeated.

  • You value connections with your friends so you choose to go to your monthly book club and weekly coffee dates with friends regardless of what other events or opportunities come up.

  • You value your wellbeing so you choose to not snooze your alarm to ensure you have enough time for your uplifting morning routine.

This is definitely an iterative process, where you will constantly need to reflect and adapt your lifestyle. It will focus and many intentional, and potentially challenging, choices to adopt this new way of living, but it will be worth it. You will feel more fulfilled and less stressed as you let go of what is no longer truly important to you.

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