Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple Pleasures - Great for Reducing Stress

Ah, simple pleasures. You know, those little things that bring a smile to your face and to your heart. They are unique to each of us and when we experience them we subconsciously celebrate. The cliche says "The Best things in life are free!" and that is certainly true with most of life's simple pleasures. Here are a few of mine:

  • watching the horses play in the pasture in the mornings
  • sipping tea as the sun rises over our barn
  • reading a book on my back porch with the pool fountain bubbling in the background
  • walking/running with my daughter - always lots of laughter
  • sneaking out midday to pet and give the horses a treat
  • a moonlight ride with my husband
  • window shopping
What are your simple pleasures? List them out for this blog activity. I would love to see your list posted in our comments.

Beyond being free, simple pleasures play an important role in reducing stress. Stress is the result of negative emotions. Negative emotion can result from a variety of circumstances such as a worrisome thought, a unkind comment by a co-worker, or something tangible like a traffic jam. The higher the number of events of negative emotion that occur in a single hour or day the more stressed you will begin to feel. The best thing about simple pleasures are they are not only free, they are also great producers of positive emotions. How how does that relate to reducing stress, you say?

Psychologist report that it takes three positive emotion events to erase any single negative emotion event. In addition, if the negative emotion event was related to a spouse the ratio goes up to five to one. So that's where your simple pleasures come in. When your day is filled with negative emotion events (i.e., stress) it's imperative to your health and well being to offset those negative emotion events with positive ones. Otherwise stress becomes a dangerously unhealthy lifestyle if left unchecked.

So if you haven't already take a moment to make that list of simple pleasures and tuck it into your planner. Then next time you feel the stress building take a time out and spend a few moments indulging in one of your simple pleasures. You'll love it and your co-workers and family will likely appreciate it too.

For more on reducing stress visit my Compass website and try 3 days of the monthly action plans (MAPS) free. A great MAP for reducing stress is Step Into Balance - try your 3 days free. Also consider having Karen bring a stress reducing workshop to your office or women's organization. Click here to request Karen.

Karen Zeigler
Speaker & Life Coach