Confident people can laugh at themselves. If you would like to stress less and smile more, ask yourself these six questions that should convince you to stop taking yourself too seriously.

1. Stressing out about a situation won’t make it go away, so why not try to find the humor in it?

Stress is a self-inflicted mental nightmare. It’s amazing how your brain can turn a minor inconvenience into a major headache before the day is over. Please understand that stressing out is the least effect problem-solving technique in existence. I find it helpful to distance myself from events that stress me out as soon as they happen. I replay the event in my head, but this time as a spectator instead of a victim. Looking at the same situation as a person without emotional attachment puts me in my place, because nothing ever proves to be as bad as it seemed with a little perspective.

2. Everyone is crazy in their own way, so why not embrace your weirdness?

If you think everybody you know has a perfect life due to the content of their Facebook feed, I can assure you that isn’t the case. Most people only post pictures and status updates that make them look good. Think twice before comparing yourself to a person based on the picturesque life they reflect publicly, because you’re probably witnessing a highlight reel that bears no resemblance to reality. And besides, it’s better to own the weird things about you than it is to hide them in a sea of upbeat statuses and family photos.

3. No one who changed the world conformed to society’s expectations, so why should you be a sheep?

How many conformists did you learn about in history class? I can’t recall a single one. Everyone you admire broke rank with what society expected of them, because there is nothing noteworthy about conforming to somebody else’s standards.

4. Come to think of it, society is pretty screwed up as it is, so why would you want to have anything to do with it?

More people are interested in reading gossip magazines than literature. Reality TV shows devoid of substance garner more viewers than thought-provoking autobiographies or emotionally-wrenching dramas worth watching. Let that settle for a moment and ask yourself, “Is this a society that I want to be a part of?” I hope not.

5. You don’t have a crystal ball, so why should you obsess with things you can’t predict?

No matter how much you might wish for something to happen (or not), agonizing about it won’t do you a bit of good. You can, however, take as much action as possible to stack the odds in your favor. Even if things don’t work out as you hoped (how often does that really happen?), don’t freak out. An ability to react swiftly and decisively to a constantly changing set of circumstances will take you farther than any amount of planning ever would.

6. People who take everything seriously are miserable to be around, so why would you do such a thing?

Would you rather hang out with a person who is able to laugh at themselves when they do something silly, or a person who gets upset at the slightest provocation? Would you rather have a friend who can cheer you up when you’re feeling down, or a friend who makes you feel even more depressed? Would you rather have a partner who is considerate enough confess their faults, or a partner who is so egocentric that they are unwilling to accept blame for anything? If you can’t stop taking yourself too seriously, considering those questions should be an eye-opener. Answer them honestly and do likewise. If you have a friend or co-worker who is a bit on the “serious” side, feel free to lighten them up by sharing this article.

Featured photo credit: A sad and pensive woman sitting by the ocean deep in thought. via shutterstock.com

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