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Don't Sweat the Future

        Health | Stress Management

2. Simplify

We live in a complex world. Most of us live complicated lives. We collect things and we collect achievements. Most of us believe that more is better, bigger is better, and faster is better. Somehow we believe that if we can get more stuff, achieve more often, do bigger and better things, make more money, have more experiences and so forth, that we'll end up happier.

The problem is, when life becomes too complicated and full, it also becomes overwhelming. We have too much going on, too much to keep track of. The result is that we become stressed, irritated and more easily bothered, and anxious. This, in turn, makes us less effective and more prone to mistakes. Our learning curve, as well as our sense of appreciation, plummets.

We have so much "on our plates," and we are so over-extended that we end up not doing anything very well. And even if we did, we certainly would be too busy to notice! Our productivity, as well as our quality of life begins to suffer. Complexity, too much stuff, too much to keep track of, and too much going on, promote worry, anxiety, pessimism and fear.

The question is this: If we can't manage the life we already have, how in the world will we be able to handle the future? After all, we keep hearing about how the world is speeding up. Things will only get worse!

The solution is to make the conscious, voluntary decision to simplify your life. To do so is not "giving up," nor is it a decrease in the quality of your life. To the contrary, it's a powerful, leveraged way to take control of your life and to increase the overall quality of your existence!

Begin in small ways. Learn to say "no" more often, reduce, where appropriate, a few of your obligations, and stop taking on more, unless and until you counter your new obligation by eliminating a different one. Get rid of stuff you don't need.

Consolidate, reduce your consumption, and think in terms of quality of experience, not quantity. Finally, learn to value space in your calendar. If you do manage to create some free time, try not fill it up with something else.

By simplifying your life you'll be creating the confidence you need to live an effective and happy life-and to ensure a nourishing and joyful future.