When stress strikes. We need to act. We need to heed the signals of stress that our body gives and take ample time to remedy them. And in doing so, a less is more approach can be very effective. In the process of abating our stress, we do not need to spend a fortune or accumulate a bunch of stuff in or along the way. If anything, stress reduction is often better accomplished through a general overall reduction. This refers to reducing the stuff from our lives that impedes healthy activity (wastes our time) and also refers to the reduction of activities that require purchasing things. This concept is premised on the idea that our activities for stress reduction should require nothing but our presence and our time.
Examples of such activities include simply getting outdoors, walking, jogging, people watching, bird watching, biking, hiking, strolling and sitting. The act of taking in fresh air and using an outdoor activity as a moving meditation reduces stress in many ways. This kind of activity beneficially affects our hormones, our rate of respiration and our blood pressure. The activities recommended should be enjoyed away from commercial areas full of marketing, advertisements and other impulses that trigger stress and consumerism. Consumerism and both the drive and need to have stuff and self- identification through consumption fundamentally disassociates a person from who they really are. This set of beliefs that we have been trained to have are not only completely untrue and unhealthy, but also increase the biochemical responses triggering stress. In a nut shell, this simply means, the more you have the more stressed out you become. So let’s get back to less is more!
You can start the less is more approach to reducing your stress right now. As you read the remainder of this article, pay close attention to your posture and your breathing. Become aware of how you are feeling right now. If it is possible, prepare your mind to relax and take a five minute break from work or get ready to take a nice walk. When you are outside relaxing today, mentally list all of the activities, things and stuff that bogg you down and make your life more complex than it needs to be. When you can, start to remove these items from your life. You can also mentally list all of the calming activities you do like and make daily intentions to replace time and energy zapping activities with new healthy and restorative activities. The more you whittle down the trivial, cluttered, un-enjoyable and stressful activities in your life, the less stress you will feel and the more time you will have to do those things that bring you true joy.
Once you feel that you have a handle on these concepts, your stress is decreasing and you have made strides editing out time and energy zappers, there are a few other changes necessary for healthy stress reduction. Just like your activities, your nutrition needs to be assessed and you need to take a critical look at what you are putting in your body. If what you are putting in your body has many ingredients, chemicals and fillers, meaning it is processed and bad for you, get rid of it. The less is more rule applies here too. Your body requires food with less ingredients that offer more nutrition. Whole foods, those that are not processed and are good for you, soothe your brain, balance your blood sugar and regulate your hormones. This directly effects your body’s reactions to and abilities to cope healthily and calmly with both life events and stressors. Pairing sound and simple living with sound and simple nutrition is the essence of less is more stress reduction. Believe in yourself, respect yourself and try out the less is more approach today.