Cleaning out that closet…

Do you feel weighed down by everyday life; everything from work and relationships to responsibilities that never seem to end? Do you often feel hopeless from it all? You are not alone. In fact, according to a 2007 American Psychological Association study:
  • 1 out of 3 Americans feel they are under extreme stress.
  • 48% of Americans believe their stress levels have increased during the last five years.
  • 3 out of 4 Americans say money and work are the leading causes of stress.

Further, as a direct result of this stress, quality of life has suffered:

  • 50% of Americans say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.
  • 31% of employed adults have difficulty managing family and work-related responsibilities.
  • 54% of Americans say stress is the reason they fight with people who are close to them.
  • 25% of Americans say they have become estranged from a friend or family member due to stress.

What can you do to reduce stress? One great stress reliever is to “clean out your closet” – figuratively and literally. This involves decluttering not only your living and working space, but your life too. Whether it be attitudes, relationships, or clothes that no longer fit, we often accumulate way too much. Like our homes, our heart, mind, and spirit are often crammed with possessions – thoughts, emotions, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs – we no longer need. And as we accumulate all this unwanted stuff, our life gets complicated and actually suffers.

So how does one declutter and by how much? The rule of thumb is to divide and delete by 50%. The following are some tips to get started:

  1. Follow your heart. Determine what is truly important – be it possessions, thoughts, emotions, ideas, attitudes, or beliefs; discard the rest. The act of letting go or giving away feels oh so good!!!
  2. Take a hard look in the mirror. Spend a quiet Saturday afternoon in front of your wardrobe and mirror. Try on every item you own, then give away any clothes that no longer fit or match your image.
  3. Clean room by room. Purge unnecessary paper and computer files. Consolidate address books. Get rid of old correspondence. Do the same with your medicine cabinet, pantry, book shelves, multimedia center, cosmetic drawers, garage, etc.
  4. Be mindful. Monitor your thoughts, words, and actions, making sure to edit out the negative.
  5. Eat healthy. Eliminate one item from your diet you know you should avoid. For example, soda, potato chips, etc. When you get used to life without it, then try eliminating one more item.

Once you declutter, you will discover you have room for:

  1. Exercise. Start off slow then build up. For example, start walking 15 minutes per day. When you get used to it, then try adding another 15 minutes to your routine. Better yet, vary your routine by periodically adding a new form of exercise such as dance or aerobics.
  2. Keeping a joy journal. Write down what brings you joy. Refer to it when you feel down.
  3. Meditating. Block out some time and find a quiet place to reflect. Whether indoors or outdoors, ensure your privacy for a set period of time. Start off slow, perhaps with a simple prayer or an inspirational message, then build from there. Vary your routine by periodically adding a new form of meditation.
  4. Seeking out the positive. Remember the “Law of Attraction”? It not only works in science class, but in real life too. Positive breeds positive. So surround yourself with positive people, places, and situations. Distance yourself from toxic relationships.
  5. Pursuing fun. Take up a new hobby or revive an old interest.
Decluttering is nothing more than simplying your life. As you let go of your old stuff, your old feelings, and your old ideas, the freer you feel. Before you know it, the “ball and chain” that weighed you down are gone. You not only feel lighter and breathe easier, but there’s now room for some much-needed joy.Have you started to “clean out your closets”? If so, can you share how you did it along with some tips you found helpful?

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my customers, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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