Nearly all of us suffer from stress at some level. Unfortunately, most of us unknowingly create our own stress. We live a fast paced and competitive lifestyle, and from that, we suffer the stressful consequences.

What can you let go to simplify your life? Slow down and step back into observer mode. Look at your own patterns — you can’t change them until you recognize them. If you think you can’t change the direction of your life, then simply adjust the path.

We all want everything for our children and ourselves. But what price are we willing to pay? During the process of gaining material possessions, we may be missing out on the true pleasures and satisfaction our lives naturally generate. Time to play with the kids, barbeque with friends, lie on a beach, or read a good book all are simple pleasures. They are less stressful, and, best of all, free.

It’s our everyday habits that become unhealthy and create stress. Because our need to get ahead most likely creates a busier schedule for us, we may eat poorly, not sleep enough, smoke or drink too much, or not exercise. Living this unhealthy lifestyle we not only create our own stress, but we might be prolonging it.

Changing your lifestyle will require changes in your daily habits. Most stress is initially triggered or exaggerated by common everyday occurrences. Make an attempt to satisfy your emotional and physical needs rather than prioritizing your monetary needs.

Look at your daily habits. Do you overwork yourself, eat on the run, or stay up late at night? We all have some unhealthy daily habits. Eliminating as many as possible and replacing them with better choices can reduce our stress levels. Here are some basic guidelines to healthier daily living.

1. Eat at least one hot balanced meal a day.
2. Get seven or eight hours of sleep every night.
3. Turn off the news on television.
4. Exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice weekly.
5. Limit yourself to less than half a pack of cigarettes a day, or better yet, quit all together.
6. Drink fewer than five alcoholic beverages a week.
7. Maintain the appropriate weight for your height.
8. Keep your spending habits in balance with your income.
9. Join a church or social group.
10. Keep your body in good health (including eyes, ears, and teeth).
11. Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse and family (chores, money, etc.).
12. Organize your time. Make daily lists of things to do.
13. Limit your caffeine beverages to less than three a day.
14. Take some quiet time for yourself every day.
15. Prioritize and try to see the big picture.
16. Learn and practice refueling rituals.
17. Do something fun at least once a week.

“Most of the time, I don’t have much fun. The rest of the time, I have no fun at all.”
——Woody Allen, actor

What would it take to find the time to do more of the things you enjoy? What would you have to change? When you’re doing something you enjoy, what is it that makes you stop? If you can answer that last question, you might be able to change whatever it is so you have more time to do what you love. Everything is achievable depending on what you are willing to give up.

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Author's Bio: 

Carol Denbow is a three-time award winning author. Her third book, Stress Relief for the Working Stiff, How to Reverse the Embalming Effect is considered by experts to be the most comprehensive and useful stress relief book available today. Visit Carol’s website at to meet “Frank” the lovable “stressed out” character who represents all of us working stiffs!