5 Ways To Simplify Your Life And Kiss Stress Goodbye

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Hello Smallish friends! I’m super excited to “hand the mic” over to Mark and Laura Tong today. Mark and Laura run a great website called EnjoyLifeSlowly in which they care about all things intentional: destressing, minimalism, slowing down, living healthfully, and more. They are on the front lines of pushing the minimalist lifestyle forward by conducting delightful interviews with bloggers in the field. I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with them and you can find that interview here. 🙂 I hope this article from Mark and Laura blesses you!

Overwhelmed? Over-committed and over-stretched in almost every area of life?
It’s no wonder that despite all your dedicated healthy eating and exercise, you still struggle to find enough energy to get through the day. You still find yourself exhausted and burnt out long before the lights go out.
Life’s got so stressful, so complicated, it’s consuming you. It’s strangling your happiness and health.
I know. I spent years as a health professional watching clients strive hard to take responsibility for their health and happiness, only to see it deteriorate. And ironically for years I made the same mistake myself.
Health is dangerously compromised when happiness is neglected. No immune system can shake off the constant demands of today’s over-stressed, over-pressured world.
De-stressing by simplifying your life is the greatest health and happiness regime you could ever adopt. It will give you more powerful health benefits than years of sound nutrition and workouts could ever achieve alone.

Here are 5 ways to simplify your life and kiss stress goodbye this year:


1. Less strife, more serenity

Unless you live in a bubble you have to bump along with a range of personalities every day. Conflict and animosity builds when there’s a clash of temperaments, beliefs or wills.

  • Accept your differences – acknowledge your partner’s point of view.
  • Sidestep unnecessary conflict – ignore your ‘pushy’ work colleague.
  • Let go of unnecessary dogma – let the kids leave their rooms untidied – unless there are actually rats under the bed!

2. Less commitment, more control

Constantly saying yes and being the ‘go to’ person sounds like a strategy for less stress through appeasing others. Truth is, it will leave you feeling overwhelmed and swamped with commitments.

  • Learn to stand firm and take back control of your time and energy – say ‘no’ to the next 5 people who ask too much of you.
  • De-clutter your contacts of anyone out of touch for the last 3-6 months unless you have good reason – block or delete all those Facebook ‘friends’ you don’t really want to keep in contact with.
  • Gently cut off from people who cause you stress, anxiety or discomfort – distance yourself from family who add stress, not happiness to your life.

3. Less possessions, more peace of mind

Physical clutter takes over your living space but also your inner tranquility. White noise for the eyes, it screams for your attention, time and energy.
  • Remove mental stress by eliminating duplication among your possessions – Give away or sell that second TV.
  • Delete any digital memory unless it brings you joy – delete 80% of those photos and videos.
  • Throw out anything that doesn’t fit or serve a purpose any longer – hand over those redundant clothes to a worthy cause.

4. Less consumption, more creativity

Over-indulging your appetite for shopping rarely leaves you sated, just more financially stressed-out and guilty. One click consumerism, endless ‘sales’ and store cards are all clamoring for your money and peace of mind.
  • Reaching for your wallet or purse may be a short term solution that leads to longer term problems – ask yourself if you really need that new TV?
  • Strike the stress of spiraling debt from your shopping list – be creative and see how little you can spend this month.
  • Diffuse the power of advertising – mute the sound and find a creative task to do while the commercials play.

5. Less competition, more contribution

Forever striving to keep up is a stress no one needs in their lives. Health and happiness is built on contribution, not competition.
  •  Decide your own version of success – a happily raised family, a more positive, healthy you.
  • Swap your competitive nature for your compassionate one – bring people together in your neighborhood or in your cyber world with a cause, club or blog.
  • Stop competing to be like everyone else – contribute to freedom of expression and speech by wearing what you like and saying what you feel.


Less stress and strife, more health and happiness. Don’t let all your healthy eating and exercising go to waste by neglecting to tackle the stress in your life. By simplifying your life, you’ll be able to de-stress and re-invigorate your body and mind.  Less stress, more you.
Take that first step in kissing stress goodbye and start simplifying your life today.

Mark-Laura-TongMark & Laura are on a mission to help you de-stress and grow your happiness by simplifying your life.
Download their free cheat sheet: 5 Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict)

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  • Kristin
    January 26, 2016

    Great post. Numbers 3 and 4 feel especially relevant! With a new baby in the house, the volume of unnecessary STUFF being gifted to us is incredible… And it stresses me out! Trying to consign or donate as much as possible so all the extra baby jeggings and teething toys (and those weird miniature blankets with stuffed animal heads?!) don’t completely take over the house. It’s a constant battle.

    • Laura J. Tong
      January 26, 2016

      Thanks Kristin and congratulations on your wonderful new family addition. You make a really good point, that particularly at certain points in life we need to be extra resourceful in saying “thank you so much, but now I really have enough!”. We’ve found when we’ve moved to new place or started in on a new project that loving friends and family are super keen to say they care with thoughtful but sometimes, too many gifts. Be strong, guard your peace of mind and skip through life with the joy of less stress.

    • Evelyn
      January 30, 2016

      Those pacis with the stuffed animals are so odd. Our kids have (thankfully) never been given them by anyone. 😉

  • Jessica - Living with Intention
    January 26, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing! I loved #4. Social comparison/competition is a thief of happiness… if we can let this go we will drastically reduce our stress. Not easy, though!

    • Laura
      January 27, 2016

      Hi Jessica
      You are so right. It’s become a real big problem for a lot of people. Just remember the lovely Dr Seuss quote”Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

  • Maria Nedeva
    January 27, 2016

    Want less, own less and control more – I like it. I’ve been trying to declutter my house and possessions and it feels good. A long way to go though. Also we live in a society that has made ever increasing consumption a criteria for economic success and a sign of personal success. People who are simplifying their lives have a lot of work to do to turn this around. This article is a step in the right direction.

    • Laura
      January 27, 2016

      Hi Maria – so well put – want less, own less and control more. And decluttering and simplifying your life are an ongoing challenge!

  • Elle
    January 27, 2016

    I’ve always liked the idea of co-operation more than competition…it takes everyone so much further. And as for simplification…well I need to simplify daily! Thanks for the reminders Mark and Laura.

  • Laura
    January 27, 2016

    Hi Elle – co-operation can get you so much further than competition – and with much less stress!

  • Tiffany
    January 27, 2016

    I struggle with saying no often. I really enjoying helping others and volunteering at church but I tend to overcommit myself and slack in areas of my own life that need attending. Thanks for this post, it was something I needed to hear. And I agree with the having less stuff. It bring more peace to your life. We are also minimalist and we love it. Love reading your blog.

    • Laura
      January 28, 2016

      Hi Tiffany

      Saying yes to too many unimportant things can leave you having to say no to the important things in life. You only have so much time and energy to go around.

      • Tiffany
        January 30, 2016

        Yes I agree. I am working on getting better at saying no. I need to bookmark this post so I can read it when in doubt lol Love your blog. Thanks for sharing your families adventures with us all.

  • Ann
    January 27, 2016

    This post inspires me to start decluttering my house and closet. I plan on ditching those things that don’t serve no purpose.

    • Laura
      January 28, 2016

      Hi Ann

      Great idea – people often overlook how clutter leads to stress and unhappiness.

  • Cate Scolnik
    January 28, 2016

    Hi Mark and Laura,

    Great post – thanks for sharing it. I definitely need to work on number 3 – offloading some ‘stuff’. Always challenging with my hoarding husband (he’s not as bad as the ones on TV, but doesn’t seem to be able throw anything out!).:-)

  • Nicki Lee
    January 29, 2016

    Great suggestions, Mark and Laura! Decluttering is one of my big goals this year. Don’t know why I cling to things that don’t bring me joy, but I’m working on it. It’s also my goal to spend more time and money on experiences this year, rather than accumulating things. Love your advice!

    • Laura
      January 29, 2016

      Hi Nicki – I think hoarding stuff is a natural human tendency, but it feel s so good when you can let it all go! And all the research shows that experiences win out over accumulating things for happiness every time:)

  • Ellen Bard
    January 31, 2016

    Lovely post Mark and Laura <3 Since I left the UK to 'digital nomad' it's amazed me how much less I need to consume, and how I've been able to focus on creativity instead, so I love this point in particular.

    • Laura
      February 1, 2016

      Hi Ellen
      Traveling really does force you to work out what is really essential in your life, especially long term travel. And you soon realize as you say that lots of stuff harms creativity.

  • Montana Happy
    April 3, 2016

    I’m working on number #3 and #4. Especially #3. I wish I had done it sooner. Using my creativity pushed me to start my blog. I’m so happy I did that. Freeing yourself from the unnecessary gives you the energy for the real things you want to do.

    • Laura Tong
      April 4, 2016

      Hi Montana – living with less stuff and more happiness is a continuous process – just enjoy the ride:)

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