10 Simple Ways to Live a Less Stressful Life

Stress is a major problem for many people — a hectic, stressful job, a chaotic home life, bills to worry about and bad habits such as unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking can lead to a mountain of stress.

If your life is full of stress, there are some simple things you can do to get to a more manageable level.

Now, your life will probably never be stress-free. That’s not desirable (even if it was possible) because stress is something that challenges you and helps you grow—when it’s at a reasonable level. But when stress gets too high, it causes you to be unhappy and unhealthy.

One of the keys to success is taking a realistic, gradual approach to change. How do you do it? One change at a time. Change one habit a month and gradually, over the course of a year or two, you will find you have made long-lasting changes to many things in your life.

Not all of these tips may work for you. Each person is different. Pick and choose the ones that you feel will be effective for you, and give them a try. One at a time.

  1. One thing at a time. This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. If you’re going to review email, do only that. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better at it.
  2. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to the essentials. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Leave room for down time and fun.
  3. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it.
  4. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook a healthy dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time.
  5. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading. Other people are calmed by housework or yard work. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.
  6. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, find ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by shopping (at malls or online) much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.
  7. Have a blast! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Play with your kids — that can take your mind off everything and can be really hilarious. Play sports (with or without your kids). Board games are fun. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh.
  8. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. Consider writing, painting, woodworking, playing music, sketching, cooking or making pottery, interior design or building things.
  9. Declutter. Take 20 to 30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff you don’t use or need anymore or find a better place for it. When you are done, you will have a nice, peaceful environment for work, play, and living. Do this a little at a time — make it one of your “fun activities.”
  10. Be early. Being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material. 

MIND CONTROL How To Protect Your Children From Indoctrination

Do you look on with astonishment at Antifa and other extreme groups rioting and shouting “death to America?” How could all this happen? Where did all these young people come from who hate the US?

by Linnea Johnson

Chances are they caught this belief from our public school systems. If you live in California, it’s right in your face. Some are calling it out

We’ve talked about why homeschooling is an excellent choice from an academic, independence, and character-building standpoint in previous articles. In this discussion, we’ll talk about protecting your children from indoctrination.

Distance Learning Is Starting To Show Some Of The Cracks With Schooling.

Reports are starting to surface of parents uncomfortable with the political patina of their children’s online classrooms. Police visited one family because a boy’s BB gun was visible behind him in an online classroom session, and the teacher reported the “gun” to the police. 

Another teacher caught a glimpse of a 12-year old’s Nerf gun, and instead of asking him or the parents about it, she reported it to the sheriff. The child was accidentally suspended for a week for having a toy gun at home during a Zoom class!

One teacher expressed that he has to be more careful with his words now that parents can listen to online class sessions. Some school districts have gone so far as to ask parents to sign a disclaimer that they will not watch class sessions with their children to protect other children’s privacy in the online classroom.

Could it be that teachers, their unions, and school administrations are concerned about being exposed as rhetoric spreaders in the classroom?

Have We Forgotten Our Children Are Our Responsibility?

Rearing them, teaching them, caring for them, and loving them is our responsibility. In this country, it seems we have abdicated that responsibility and ceded it over to the state.

We believe the government owes our children free education, free medical care, and even free meals.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect there is a string attached when I hear something is free. That string is the ability to mold our children’s minds.

I’m not comfortable with people I don’t know taking full responsibility for my children’s care, their thoughts, and their beliefs.

Don’t we suspect that this current civil unrest was born in the classroom some years ago? While “it takes a village” has a nice familial ring to it, do we want the state to be that village?

Do We Want Our Children To Have Our Values Or Someone Else’s?

Infuse into your home education a worldview rooted in critical thinking and morality, whether it be the Principle Approach, or an education rich in the study of the US constitution and western philosophy, or Socratic reasoning, or a faith-based curriculum.

If you’re a person of faith, you will undoubtedly want your children to share your faith and not that of a secular system. Teach your children how to think and help them to develop good character.

I know many teachers who take their jobs seriously, who go to work faithfully every day and try to do a good job.

The best of them end up being frustrated by a system that doesn’t support them and is heavily influenced by the teacher’s unions and political correctness.

They don’t want to be responsible for both their children and yours. They want to educate your children in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Still, their latitude in teaching has been severely limited by common core standards, teaching to the test, and political correctness.

Their job performance is now dependent upon how much your children learn from the required curriculum and how well they can perform on a standardized test.

Children spend countless hours preparing for these tests that show only memorized information regurgitated onto the bubble-filled page. Do we want children who can memorize or do we want critical thinkers?

Students are encouraged, “get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast” on test days, as if this is not important on every other school day.

The teacher’s ability to advance to the next performance level or pay grade depends on your child’s test performance. That’s a lot of pressure for both the teacher and your child.

Don’t we want our kids to be able to read, write, and do the math, and when they’ve learned that, to be able to think critically?

As A Parent, You Have Tremendous Influence And Responsibility

You create an atmosphere of helping your children understand and make sense of the world around them by just listening and having a conversation.

Could you do that over breakfast? How about around the dinner table?

If you don’t have a meal together as a family, start now. It’s a time to reconnect with each other, discuss the day’s events, or sort out difficulties someone is having. Mealtime is a time when the family knows everyone will listen to each other. 

I’ve seen variations on the family meal. Some families discuss the events of the day. Others will pose a question and ask everyone’s opinion before the parent gives his/her view.

Others recite memorized poetry or Bible verses, and others use the time to pray. Mealtime can become a sacred time – a time for the family to lift one another, work through difficulties, and talk about what was essential to each one.

We didn’t realize how important mealtime was until my son had a group of friends over. When it was dinnertime, my son called them to the table. They said they’d come in to eat later.

My son explained that we all eat together in our house. Reluctantly, they all came in to eat. At the end of the meal, my son’s friends said they enjoyed eating together.

The only time they did that in their homes was during the holidays. I think they wished their own families did the same.

You have the power to create a safe and comforting place in your home at mealtime, not just for your children but also for their friends.

Even if the food is simple, or God forbid, scarce, don’t discard the opportunity to reconnect.

What About Homeschooling?

The decision of whether to homeschool – or even if they’re qualified to do so – has been a difficult one for many parents.

I’ve read that parents are concerned about the cost of homeschooling, hiring a tutor or a teacher for their micro-school or learning pod of children. They are desperate to keep working and earning to pay someone else to educate their children and maintain their same lifestyle.

If you can afford to hire a teacher, even part-time, to educate your and your friend’s kids in a one-room schoolhouse in your converted garage, more power to you. Many don’t have that financial flexibility to hire someone else to teach.

My advice to you would be to join forces with other parents, share the load, learn to teach your children, and teach them to learn from you. Here are some tips to help you do so.

  • Be flexible. Some parents may be able to teach during part of the day, and some may be available for tutoring at night. Another parent may teach archery, bushcraft skills, gardening, food preservation, or backpacking on the weekend.
  • Be creative. Pull together something that works for you and the other families. A kitchen table is all you need.
  • Divide the work fairly. I belonged to a babysitting co-op, and we created laminated cards to exchange babysitting services.One card for one hour of babysitting for up to two children was the baseline. We all started with the same number of cards and exchanged and received them as we used and provided babysitting to the other co-op members. Parent educators could design a similar system — one card per adult for two hours of teaching for up to four children.

Using an established system, you could help one another in other ways. Perhaps one family gardens, another knows how to do car maintenance, another has an abundance of chicken eggs, and another has skills in the medical field.

Could you exchange what you have or know for what another family has or knows? Could you save money by exchanging for needs?

Think about it because this kind of system could help you navigate not only homeschooling, but also a collapse in the supply chain, rapid inflationary pressures on food or medicine, or securing neighborhoods from civil unrest.

Why Do I Push Homeschooling?

Homeschooling can form the baseline for all other thought processes.

Homeschooling creates solid values in your children, supporting one another through thick and thin, and finding others who are like-minded.

Homeschooling can be your lifeline, not just for your children, but also for your entire family.

It’s also the best way I know to have a stable and fulfilling relationship with your grown children.

Homeschooling is just part of a mindset that is undergirded by a belief in self-sufficiency. And by self-sufficiency, I don’t necessarily mean going it all alone.

I mean figuring out a way to make it a win-win for others with a similar mindset to you and getting what both you and they need.

Some people find a group of like-minded people in a church, within your own family, and others find them on a blog like this.

Find your people and figure out a way to help one another, not just in homeschooling, but also in doing life together.

I used to say it was time to leave this country if homeschooling was outlawed because I believed that was the final step in indoctrination and in limiting our freedom.

While it is not outlawed, it may become more and more regulated. I urge you to take this time to explore your options, to understand what you want for your family’s future, and to take action now to achieve that.

I believe we have a window of opportunity that may close in the years ahead. Learn to protect your children from the indoctrination of others who don’t have their best interests in mind.

The 8 Key Elements of Resilience

Resilience is defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events. Resilience is considered a process to build resources toward searching for a better future after potentially traumatic events. Some of these resources come from our inherent potential and some from what we learn about how to endure hardship. The ability to bounce back requires being empowered to make decisions that promote personal well-being. And like sobriety, they must be frequently reconfirmed (Southwick & Charney, 2012).

1. Pursuing a meaningful goal. Resilient individuals find a calling and dedicate themselves to what gives life purpose. Pursuing a meaningful purpose may involve stress and pain in the short run but over the long run brings meaning (e.g., raising children, seeking personal growth, training for a marathon). People with a sense of purpose feel less anxiety and stress (Hagerty, 2016). As Nietzsche remarked, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

2. Challenge assumption. Resilience requires creativity and flexibility. Traditional beliefs should be examined in the light of new experiences and ideas. Creativity requires one to consider many perspectives to avoid being imprisoned by one’s habitual thoughts. In the aftermath of major life struggles, where fundamental assumptions are seriously confronted, it can lead to positive psychological change (Terdeschi and Calhoun, 2004). In a sense, change represents the death of who we once were. For example, psychologist Lyubomirsky (2013) notes that a rewarding life after divorce requires not only leaving your spouse but also leaving your past self behind.

3. Cognitive flexibility.  Resilient people tend to be flexible in their way of thinking and responding to stress. An important component of cognitive flexibility is accepting the reality of our situation, even if that situation is frightening or painful. Acceptance is a key ingredient in the ability to tolerate highly stressful situations. Avoidance and denial are the most common counterproductive coping strategies that can help people temporarily, but it ultimately stands in the way of growth.

4. Growth through suffering. Resilient people generally meet failure head-on and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Nietzsche famously remarked, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ In his book, Antifragile, Nassim Taleb (2012) writes, “Our antagonist is our helper (P39).” Thus, we can view any experience of emotional pain as an opportunity that will strengthen our ability to better deal with any future pain. However, when we medicate away our suffering we miss the opportunity to grow.

5. Acting despite the fear. Courage is an important aspect of positive psychology that allows one to overcome personal limitations and pursue a full life (Seligman, 2011). Courage is not a matter of feeling no fear. Courage is acting despite fear. Courage is the strength in facing one’s destructive habits. For example, the courage of an addict overcoming his or her addiction or the person abused as a child overcoming deep psychological traumas to become a loving and productive adult. Those who move forward in the face of adversity increase their inner strength.

6. Emotion regulation. A prominent view in psychology is that our emotional lives are shaped by our values and judgments (Solomon, 2007). It’s the basic premise of modern cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This is also one of the basic psychological principles of Stoicism (Robertson, 2019). Much, if not all, of our thinking, is up to us. We can liberate ourselves from destructive emotions such as anger and hatred by developing a capacity to choose how to interpret the situation. Our ability in managing the flow of thought and the capacity to visualize the future contribute to happiness.

7. The feeling of agency. Agency (the power of me) is an internal resource that often enables resilience. The sense of agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and shape their life circumstances. By exerting free will, the person expands his options and freedom. When feeling free and self-determined, we generally flourish. Believing that things are beyond our control is a recipe for helplessness.

8. Social support. Resilient individuals draw strength from their social networks. They also provide social support to others. The availability of social support reduces anxiety and stress. After all, it feels easier to face adversity when you have a close friend that you can rely on. When you have strong social support, you don’t have to use as many of your own personal resources to cope with adversity. Those relationships give you a profound sense of emotional security and the feeling that someone has your back no matter what.

References

Hagerty BB (2016), Life Reimagined. Riverhead books.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2013).The myths of happiness: What should make you happy, but doesn’t, what shouldn’t make you happy, but does.New York: Penguin Press.

Robertson, Donald (2019), How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, St. Martin’s Press.

Seligman, Martin E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press.

Solomon, Robert C. (2007). True to Our Feelings: What Our Emotions Are Really Telling Us. Oxford University Press, USA

Southwick, S. M., & Charney, D. S. (2018). Resilience: The science of mastering life’s greatest challenges. 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Taleb, NM (2012) Antifragile, New York: Random House.

Tedeschi RG, Calhoun LG (2004), Posttraumatic growth: conceptual foundations and empirical evidence. Psych Inquiry, 15(1-18).