Stress Shifter's September Newsletter
Stress Shifter's Newsletter is a free newsletter with the intention to assist people all around the world in transforming their stress. It is our belief that with knowledge and practice one is able to transform the mindset that holds stressful feelings and thoughts into a Calm, Powerful, and Healthy Mindset.
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Reduce Stress by Transforming Overwhelm with Simplicity
Dear Friend of Stress Shifter,
Welcome to our Stress Shifter September Newsletter. This month's newsletter is focused on reducing stress by incorporating the art simplicity into life. Recently, I heard a talk by Greg McKeoen, bestselling author of "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less". Essentialism teaches simplicity. One of the key points he makes, is to "do less, and accomplish more".
His three-step strategy to do this is:
1. Explore what is most important
2. Eliminate what is not important
3. Execute and focus on what is most meaningful and important
I have recently applied these steps to clearing out my garden. I noticed what plants and trees appear problematic or vibrant. I noticed which ones were important to me (step 1). In this observation, I noticed that one of my favorite trees was in distress. I had to face that it has lost a major branch, and was not looking well. I realized I wanted to try to heal the tree.
I then turned my attention to what was not important in the garden (Step 2). I called in a professional gardener to help clear the unessential plants and heal the tree which has 20 years of meaning to me.
(Step 3). The gardener informed me the tree was infested with termites and they could spread to the house. With this new information, what was important and meaningful to me shifted. This was the final piece of information I needed to make the decision to "Eliminate" and remove the tree. The cost of "holding on" to the tree became greater than the value of keeping it. It was sad to watch the tree be cut down in just a few minutes. However, I know life is impermanent. The next day I noticed new light shining into my now simpler garden. I knew life will begin again.
So, how does "essentialism" and simplicity relate to reducing stress? Sometimes we hold on to things because we are used to them, or we don’t realize that they have lost their meaning. We continue to clutter our thinking, feelings and reactions. When we hold on to unessential ways, we cause ourselves stress. Essentialism is about observing what is important and what is not, to keep what is important and let go of what not. This act brings forth simplicity and reduces stress.
The articles below contain some helpful tips and ideas to assist you to free your thoughts and things with the art of simplicity. Using the art of simplicity will improve your ability to notice old stories you tell yourself of why you need to hold on to people, beliefs, things, and activities that are not beneficial and are stressful. I hope you find them helpful. Please let us know your feedback.
We are in process of developing an 8-week online course that we plan on offering in the Fall. In this course we will offer many tools, exercises, and meditations that can be utilized to bring a deeper self-awareness of this amazing presence inside each of us.
So, enjoy this newsletter with articles written by Lindsay Byrd Leimbach. Remember to Follow us on Facebook. We post everyday. Your feedback is important to us. We want to make each Newsletter meaningful. Thank you for your ideas and suggestions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Cultivating a Simplistic Mindset and Reduce Stress
When we think of living with simplicity, we often think about using less and having less. This thinking sounds easy, but it can become a struggle for most of us very quickly and can add stress.
The reason is that the mindset of wanting more is a natural human response. When the brain likes something, it will release the chemical dopamine. Dopamine feels good to the brain, so the brain wants more dopamine. This reaction, in turn, makes us want more of what caused the dopamine to be released.
The key to NOT becoming trapped and stressed in this cycle is to appreciate what we have now in the present moment. Appreciation and gratitude release dopamine. The brain will be content with the Present Moment without feeling deprived if appreciation and gratitude are activated.
To calm the wanting mind, it is important to be aware of a common belief, “If I have more, I will be better off and happier.” This is a FALSE belief that our society feeds us by encouraging consumerism. As defined here, consumerism is a basic driving force of our economy based on an ideology of excessive consumption urging continual purchasing. Consumerism, through the continual bombardment of advertising, makes us believe that “if only we had a new car, an upgraded kitchen, or a new gadget,” life would be better. Consumerism does not take into account what is truly important to us and what holds true meaning.
As a result, much of our mental energy is focused on getting what we think we want from imaginary outside standards and influences. This subconscious wanting mind can bring forth endless suffering and stress because we are looking for something outside of our self to bring us happiness.
Fortunately, the path of a Simplistic Mindset is built around being aware, accepting, and eventually, freeing ourselves from this constant subconscious wanting and grasping. This path is filled with gratitude in the Present Moment.
There are Four Mindful Steps to achieve a Simplistic Mindset.
1. Being aware of the wanting mind is step one. One must FACE and acknowledge that we are wanting something other than what we have. When we acknowledge this, we can remember that this wanting mindset restricts our ability to appreciate what we actually do have in the Present Moment. Our positive energy can be blocked by a wanting mindset.
2. Accepting that our mind wants more, without judging ourselves, for this thought, is the next step. FOCUS on what is in our mind and ask, "What is the underlying reasons why I want this? What is the benefit for obtaining this? And what is the actual cost (financially, emotionally and physically)?" Focus allows us to understand our real motivation and true need. Ask, "Does what I want have a deep importance and meaning to me?"
3. After Awareness (Facing), Acceptance and Understanding (Focusing), the third step is feeling gratitude for what you have right now, in the Present Moment. This gratitude will loosen the emotional grip and stress of the subconscious wanting mind. This step is FREEING. Our energy can then freely flow in a calm, creative mindset.
These three steps will allow you to be able to freely and creatively explore what you want and need from a nonjudgmental point of view. This will bring you to the calm, freeing, Simplistic Mindset. With this mindset, your choices can FLOW. Being in the Flow is the final step. Life does not feel cluttered or manipulated by outside imaginary standards or influence. Facing, Focusing, Freeing and Being in the Flow will bring forth the Simplistic Mindset.
Listen to a 2 min Video Blog by Lindsay Leimbach on "Bringing Forth a Simplistic Mindset"
How Can Stress Shifter Help You?
Stress Shifter is a set of tools, courses, exercises and knowledge to assist you to make this transformation. We have been able to make this knowledge available in 4 different formats.
1. Newsletters - It has articles, videos, commonly asked questions, and our Monthly Calendar.
2. StressShifter.com - A website with a Free Short Stress Persona Quiz that will give you personal feed back on how you handle stress. Free Stress Shifter App for you to work on transforming daily triggers. And much more written information to understand the causes of stress.
3. Stress Shifter Facebook Page - We offer daily transformational posts, article links, and videos.
4. Online Course Available Fall 2019
“Transform Stress: Make the 4 Key Shifts to Be More Calm, Powerful & Healthy”. This will be an eight week course that will teach you the Knowledge, Practice, and Support to Transform your stress.
Five Tips on How to Let Go of Stuff
My husband sees an old lamp. However, I see my grandma reading to me in her favorite chair from the light of this lamp. My kids see my closet full of clothes, while I see potential outings, comfy days, and business meetings in style. I am aware that my stuff means something very different to me than anyone else. I am also aware that this is true for my husband and my kids when they look at their stuff and I just see junk.
Here are some simple tips I use to practice letting go of my stuff and uncluttering my home:
1. In this practicing of letting go of my stuff, I keep reminding myself to recycle, reuse, or regift. My goal is not to throw away my gems. Instead, I remember that there can be a better purpose for my things that does not involve me. I practice releasing and allowing them to go on their journey.
2. I ask myself, “Does this item have a positive meaning to me?” If it does, then I rate this meaning, using 10 as the most important positive meaning, down to 1 as the lowest. Maybe I have a slight chuckle when I look at it. An old prom dress may have been at one time an 8 in rating. But now I am two sizes bigger and 35 years older, it is really just a 2. I can let it go!
3. Next question I ask myself, “If I take a picture of the item, can the picture hold the positive meaning and keep the memories alive?” If so, then it is picture time, and the item is sent off to allow another person to start their memories with my gem.
4. “Does the item have purpose? Do I need it and how often?” If it has no positive meaning and no purpose, then let it go. If it has true purpose and no positive meaning, it can stay. A set of knives or a tool is a good example of this to me.
5. Last question. “If I put it away, would I just forget that I have it? If it is out of sight, will it be out of mind?” If the answer is YES, then I realize I need to think, “why would I keep it?” I circle back to the four prior questions to decide if I can send this item on its way.
I like to remember that “Letting Go” now will give me more freedom in my future present moments. With freedom, my mind is less cluttered and stressed.
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12 quotes to contemplate Simplicity
“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
― Albert Einstein
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac,
The Dharma Bums
“Like all magnificent things, it's very simple.”
― Natalie Babbitt,
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Clare Boothe Luce
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau,
Walden and Other Writings
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher
Have few desires.”
― Lao Tzu
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”
― Leo Tolstoy,
War and Peace
“The greatest ideas are the simplest.”
― William Golding,
Lord of the Flies
“One should use common words to say uncommon things”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
― Bruce Lee
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
― Henry David Thoreau
“Stephen Covey, in his book The 8th Habit, decribes a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries. He reports the poll's findings:
* Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why
* Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team's and their organization's goals
* Only one in five said they had a clear "line of sight" between their tasks and their team's and organization's goals
* Only 15 percent felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals
* Only 20 percent fully trusted the organization they work for
Then, Covey superimposes a very human metaphor over the statistics. He says, "If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.”
― Chip Heath & Dan Heath,
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
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