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I have never been a math whiz. I have discovered, however, that subtracting unnecessary or unhealthy clutter adds value, space, peace, and well-being in my life. Subtracting is adding!

Our environment affects our stress, which, in turn, affects our well-being — physical, emotional, and spiritual. I invite you over the next six weeks to subtract one thing from your life. For example, you might choose to subtract:

"Subtracting is adding!"
— Deacon Tammy Devine

  • A routine that no longer serves you, but nevertheless continues to occupy time and space in your life
  • A physical thing, like items from your drawers, closet, or storage space
  • Food, such as extra helpings, sugar, desserts, or fast food
  • A habit, such as hitting the snooze button, mindless internet surfing, or shopping without purpose
  • An emotional pattern that sabotages your well-being, such as negative self-talk, saying yes when you mean no, sarcasm, or an inability to delegate

The goal is to provide space to be — to provide room to breathe — in your otherwise full, busy, and sometimes chaotic life. As you discern what you will subtract, keep in mind the goal is to gain breathing room, spaciousness, room to recover. This is not an exercise in sacrifice or suffering, but rather an opportunity to find inner peace.

Steps to Take

  1. Discern. Stop, pause, and evaluate what you will subtract from your life. Consider whether you would benefit from subtracting one thing weekly or daily.
  2. Create your plan. Set up your strategy. When will you begin? What support will you need? What can act as a trigger to remind you of your intention? Who will hold you accountable? What is the first small step you will take, and when?
  3. Celebrate each success with a positive affirmation to self. We all need affirmation. Cheer yourself on with positive self-talk as you delete, delete, delete. Let your positive self-affirmation fuel your success.
  4. Evaluate and tweak. Map out your next small step with a target date, adjusting your approach after learning from your previous subtraction. Build upon the steps you’ve taken to subtract so you might add purpose and meaning in your life.

Deacon Tammy L. Devine

Tammy shares her passion for health, healing, and wholeness through consulting, coaching, and retreat facilitation. As an ELCA deacon, registered nurse, parish nurse/coordinator, and ICF certified coach, she collaborates with thought leaders to facilitate personal and communal growth toward living and leading well. Contact her to learn more.

This information should not be considered or used as a substitute for professional health care advice. By providing this information, Portico Benefit Services is not providing any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Each individual is responsible for his or her own health and medical treatment decisions. You should talk with your doctor to determine the lifestyle changes and health care treatment options appropriate for you.

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