Amy Scholten, MPH
Is your life more or less complicated than it was 10 years ago?
More and more people are finding that, in
spite of technology and other modern conveniences, they have less
time, get less sleep, and are more stressed than they were a decade
ago. Can simplicity help to relieve some of this stress?
Making changes to simplify certain aspects of life can be the
antidote to living in such a complex society. But, simplification is
a very individual matter—what is considered simple and
stress-relieving to one person might be burdensome and stressful to
another. For example, you may eat convenience foods because they
save you time and energy. Your friend, on the other hand, may find
convenience foods expensive and rather "inconvenient" for her
family food budget.
The most important part of the simplification process is
—taking an honest and in-depth look at yourself
and your life and then identifying things that can be changed.
Simple enough? Yes and no. That is, some changes can be relatively
easy to make. You may decide to unclutter your house by throwing
out items that you really do not need and scaling back on your
consumption. On the other hand, you may find that you need a major
overhaul to find a simpler life—a change of career or financial
goals, a geographical relocation, or a change in perception through
What makes the concept of simplicity difficult for some people
is that it implies that you must give up something. But many people
derive invaluable benefits from simplifying their lives—more time,
freedom, self-expression, and a chance to live with more clarity and
meaning. Simplification is a deeply personal endeavor and should be
approached with the following things in mind:
The list of things you can do to simplify your life is probably
endless. Big changes will require a good deal of thought and
planning. But there are many small changes you can make to simplify
your life right now, such as:
Simplifying your life is not always simple, but something as easy
as getting more organized can be a big help. As some of the
complexity decreases from your life, you may find greater clarity
and peace of mind.
Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Canada
The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good
New York, NY: Harpercollins; 1998.
Keeping It Simple: Sorting Out What Really Matters in Your
Holbrook, MA: Probity Press; 1995.
Orem S, Demarest L.
Living Simply: Timeless Thoughts for A Balanced Life.
Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc; 1994
St. James E.
Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying
New York, NY: Hyperion; 1998.
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