Cut the Stress, Simplify Your Life
If stress is wearing you down, take some advice from those who have left their stress behind -- simplify your life.
Simplicity Movement Taking Hold continued...
About 5% to 7% of adults in the U.S. are pursuing some form of
voluntary simplicity, according to Gerald Celente, director of the Trends
Research Institute in New York. The contemporary voluntary simplicity movement
began in 1981 with the publication of Duane Elgin's book, Voluntary
Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich.
Since then, dozens of books, national magazines, web sites, and grassroots
"simplicity circles" have sprung up to offer support and share ideas
for those interested in scaling back.
Simplifying your life doesn't necessarily mean doing without.
It might, but it doesn't have to. Rather, the prevailing philosophy of today's
voluntary simplicity movement is not to live without possessions or to live in
frugality, but to slow down and live a more balanced, deliberate, and
thoughtful life. And as research increasingly shows, a healthier life as
It's no longer news that stress can take its toll on both your
physical and mental health. Numerous studies have shown a link between stress
and high blood pressure. In one such study, for example, scientists at the
University of California at Irvine reported in 1998 in the Journal of
Psychosomatic Medicine that men with highly stressful jobs had systolic and
diastolic blood pressure readings that were approximately 10 points higher than
those with less stressful jobs.
In a study published in 2000 in the journal Social Science
& Medicine, researchers from Ohio State University and the University
of Alabama found that people with a high ratio of credit card debt to income
were in worse physical health than those with less debt.
Too Much 'Stuff' Takes Its Toll
And now, mental health professionals have joined the movement,
focusing on how simple living can help alleviate tension-related reactions such
as insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, neck and shoulder spasms, chronic fatigue
and, says Roderic Gorney, MD, PhD, "our excessive dwelling on
"The message that we get is that without this complexity of
'things' in our life, we are not lovable and not worthy," says Gorney,
clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of The Human Agenda,
who also serves on the board of Seeds of Simplicity, an LA-based program of
Cornell University's Center for Religion, Ethics & Social Policy. The
organization has recently started a campaign called "Unstuffocate," to
help people decide for themselves just how much is enough.