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People Who Aren’t Serious About Life Understand Life Better

People Who Aren’t Serious About Life Understand Life Better

Life is a serious business! Or is it? Life is beautiful, amazing, majestic, short, and we only get one. Just because someone doesn’t take their lives overly seriously does not mean that they are without motivation or ambition. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about things. People who have learned not to take life–or themselves–seriously tend to live happier, longer lives, tend to get sick less, and seem more fearless.

It’s easy to fall into taking life too seriously. You have an important job and all of a sudden the everyday crises and problems take over your thoughts. Or maybe your baby has colic and all you can focus on is the constant crying and lack of sleep. It happens to everyone at some point. I make a concerted effort every day to see the positive things in my life, appreciate them, and be happy and grateful for the people I have in my life.

What’s happening is that you’re focusing on the smaller stuff and not on the big picture. People who aren’t so serious about life are usually more big-picture types of people. It is easier to shake off the little things when you can see a larger picture in your mind. If I have a bad day at work, I never take that mood home with me. If I do, I’ll talk to my significant other about it, brood over it, and now it has ruined my whole evening. Instead, I think, “Okay. Today sucked. I’m going to enjoy dinner with my guy and go in ready to kick butt tomorrow!”

We should hold children up as an example of how not to take life so seriously. Kids are experts on getting over being told no and running off and enjoying the next thing in life. Let’s all strive to enjoy life the way kids enjoy bubbles. Here are eight ways those who don’t take themselves seriously understand life better.

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1. Learn that you cannot control life or others, you can only control yourself and your reactions

Stop focusing on things that are fully out of your control. There is no point. You cannot control or change them, so stop wasting your precious time on those things, and focus more on enjoying life. People who don’t take life so seriously understand that if you something is out of their control, they shouldn’t be wasting neurons stressing about it. Instead, they are out there experiencing new things, going on adventures, and having fun.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

We’ve all heard it a million times. But just like with the things you can’t control, stop focusing on the small things. Think about it this way: does it really matter in the long run if your kid wears mismatched sneakers or doesn’t zip his jacket when he’s only running the 15 feet to the car? It is so easy to let little things become important, to let them become much bigger than they really are. Whether that is because the kid chooses this to go to war over, and now you have to deal with a whole thing about it, or because you’re so used to saying it that you insist on it over and over. Think about it. Instead of arguing with your kid and both of you winding up in a bad mood when you’re just trying to go run errands, pick your battles and remember that those tiny things aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things, and you and your kid can just enjoy the moment.

Same with adult things. Does it really matter in the long run that your partner forgot to wash the dishes or vacuum, or that your boss wants you to stay 30 minutes late to finish up that project? Try to look at the bigger picture and stop stressing out and worrying about small things. Hey, maybe that project will earn you praise from your supervisor, and an eventual promotion. Maybe your partner just had a really bad day or simply forgot the chores. Is it worth a fight?

3. Smell the roses; watch the sunset

Just like not worrying about negative little things, you should also try to focus on happy smaller things. Did you see a gorgeous sunset on your way home from work? Did your kid light up when you walked in the house? Did your favorite TV show start right as you were sitting down to watch something? Those little things should make you happy. Take a moment and recognize that they are positive things, and it will help lighten your mood. Lightening your mood will make you feel better and less serious. People who don’t take life too seriously take time to be silly, enjoy the small things, and appreciate them.

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4. Spend quality time with the people you love

It’s so easy to get caught up in work, errands, and the little things in everyday life that we sometimes take the people in our lives for granted. They’re there, they will continue to be there, and you’re busy! But no one ever laid on their deathbed and wished they had worked longer hours. They wish they had appreciated their loved ones and spent more time enjoying life and love, and less time assuming that they would still be there when they got home from work.

Spend real quality time. Don’t just make your kids do their homework and read more. Take them places, listen to them, watch them learn. Appreciate your partner and all they do for you and the family, spend time talking to your partner and going on date nights. Sometimes we get so focused on our careers or our specific individual life goals that we forget to appreciate the path to getting there and the people we chose to travel that path with.

The people who have learned not to take life so seriously are the ones who put more focus on the important things in life–their relationships with the people the love.

5. See the glass as half full and spread positivity

Learning to not just see the silver lining, but to appreciate it and let it give you hope is ideal. There is an old saying, “This too shall pass.” And so it will. People who don’t take life too seriously have learned not to dwell on negative things, but to seek out positive things and look forward to more. They try to spread that to others, and are optimistic about the future.

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6. Learn not to let the negative things take over your whole day/week/life

There are always going to be negative things: bad days, bad moods, bad bosses, bad food. But you can choose to let go of the anger at something you cannot change, and not let it invade the rest of your life. It’s easy to get mad at something at work and take it home, rant about it, brood about it. Maybe unfairly take it out on your partner. It’s happened to me. I was blunt and said, “I know I’m the only other person here, but it is not fair to take your bad mood out on me. I know I’m not the one you’re upset at, but you’re acting like I am.” And my partner was surprised, and didn’t realize he was treating me that way because his bad mood and bad attitude was all he could focus on. I’ve been there, too. It takes a conscious effort to say to yourself, “I am not going to let this one thing ruin my whole day or my whole week. I have learned what I can from the experience, and I am going to move forward and not let it happen again.”

7. Smile more

It’s true that actually making yourself smile can lead you to feeling happier. Here is how Scientific American explained it. Smile more, laugh more, engage more. Take the time to laugh at a good joke, or smile just because you see something pretty or weird. Appreciate the little things in life! There is a series of small potholes in the sidewalk near my house, and the way they are make them look like a frowning face. Every time I walk over them, I smile. It’s funny and weird and cute.

8. Be confident

As we get older, we learn to be more comfortable and confident with who we are, at least that’s what everyone older says! But why wait? People who don’t take life as seriously tend to care less about what strangers think of them, tend to be more silly, and tend to be more confident. I’m a very confident person. I know what I’m good and bad at, I am proud of myself and my accomplishments, and I dance at parties like no one is watching. Something we learn as we have grown up is that they aren’t watching. Most people are so concerned with themselves and how they look that they are not watching you. And even if they were, who cares? You don’t know them, why would their opinions matter anyway?

Be confident. And if you aren’t confident, fake it ’til you make it. It truly works. Look people in the eyes, keep your head up and shoulders back. Ask questions, be engaged in conversations. Don’t cross your arms when you’re talking to people. Body language has a lot to do with confidence and perception. If you do these things long enough, they will become a habit and a part of you, until the confidence is ingrained.

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You can make a choice to be happier, worry less, spend time with the people you love, and take life less seriously. You only get one life, and it is a terminal disease…enjoy the time and what you have!

Featured photo credit: Syda Productions via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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