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10 Most Important Things You Should Do To Simplify Your Life

10 Most Important Things You Should Do To Simplify Your Life

There seems to be a general consensus these days that we live in a world where consumption is at an all time high. More seems to be better and somehow reflects our place in society. Success is measured by more money, a big house full of countless gadgets, cars, phones, and even by how many friends we have.

So what happened? Is the world more happy now than it was when we led more simple lives? Has the introduction of consumerism really increased our mental well-being?

The answer is NO. Everyone knows the benefits of having a good clear out – throwing out unnecessary and unwanted items can not only free up literal space around us but also frees us of much-needed space in our minds. Living a more simplified life can improve how we think, feel and move around in the world. Here are 10 ways to simplify your life while creating space for happiness and well-being.

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1. Abandon Your Negative Thoughts

As humans, we spend a lot of our time caught up in negative thoughts that brings nothing good into our lives. While we should deal with negative emotions and not shy away from them, negative thoughts are much more dangerous as they can grow rapidly and cause unhappiness and do nothing to improve our quality of life. Negative thoughts such as bitterness, resentment, jealousy and hate do absolutely nothing for us except ultimately make us miserable.

We have great control of our thoughts so choose to cut down the amount of negative thoughts and feelings you have. Learn to forgive and choose to think and see the positives in life.

2. Reduce The Amount of Screen Time

We spend so much time either staring at a computer screen or the TV. With binge-watching shows the latest addiction, we can often end up spending hours of our day with square eyes especially if, like most people, we use a computer for work as well. While TV, watching endless YouTube videos or playing computer games can be a nice form of escapism, too much can have a negative impact on your outlook and attitude. You don’t realise the amount of time you’re robbing yourself of that could be spent doing more beneficial and productive activities.

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3. Use Fewer Empty Words

This isn’t to say stop talking! However, note the types of words you utter. Are they positive? Honest? Meaningful? Or are they purely coming out of your mouth in the form of gossip, hate or jealousy? Take note of what you say – we’re not perfect and most of us have a tendency to indulge in words we know we shouldn’t use. Eliminate the empty words that bring no real meaning to what you think or want to say. Quality is always better than quantity.

4. Cut Down On Social Media

Social media is so present in our lives that there’s rarely anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profile. But despite there being positive aspects to social media, being constantly bombarded with ‘friend’s’ lives can take its toll on us. Sometimes when life isn’t quite going our way we compare ourselves to others but we often forget that we’re basically looking at people’s highlight reels. We never really get to see the full picture and this can cause us to feel dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

Simplify your life by cutting down on social media – not only for your own sanity but to stop the endless checking every five minutes. Getting those notifications may make us feel important but it’s fleeting and empty importance that doesn’t actually add anything to our lives. You can gain a whole lot more time by having a break once in a while.

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5. De-Clutter Your Possessions

The amount of material possessions we own can have a detrimental effect on our lives. They distract you from the people in your lives and allows you to ignore the world around you and even your values. Being surrounded by stuff and having the need for the latest gadgets can often be a sign that we are focusing our happiness in the wrong way. In reality, they take away our energy and attention (and not to mention our money) that could be directed in more beneficial ways. Having less things creates more appreciation for the things we do have and cultivates a happier mindset.

6. Eliminate Your Debt

Money creates so many problems for a lot of us. Our relationship with money defines how we end up in debt, rich or poor and many of us don’t have a healthy relationship with it. If you’re in debt, start to make steps to get yourself out of it. Set up a monthly payment plan no matter how little it is. Any actions towards reducing debt, despite how small, will bring a sense of financial freedom for the next day, month or year.

7. Eat Fewer Unhealthy Foods

It’s really important to be aware of what we put into our bodies. Make a conscious effort to eliminate constant bad foods from your diet. Foods high in refined sugar, salt, trans fats, artificial flavourings, and refined grains can be toxic for us if we eat them on a regular basis. Leading a healthy life can rapidly bring down the amount of illnesses we encounter especially as we enter old age. Cutting down on bad foods will not only help you feel much better and give you more energy but it will also simplify your life in the long run.

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8. Reduce The Number Of Goals You Set Yourself

In the effort to make ourselves better people and improve ourselves we often set goals – which is great – but having too many goals can prevent us from achieving them because our focus is spread too thinly. By only having one or two important goals, your focus can be more concentrated and your success rate higher. Once you’ve accomplished your goal then start the next one – this will stop any stress and give you a sense of order and a greater sense of accomplishment once it’s done because you know you put 100% attention and effort into it.

9. Stop Multitasking and Eliminate The Need To Be Busy

Like setting too many goals, multitasking in everyday life can cause unwanted stress and anxiety. Don’t take on too much and feel that being busy means you’re leading a full life. By being busy and taking on too much, we rob ourselves of our present moment and it’s really important to be aware of our present moment to be happy. Multitasking can also lead to burn-out if we’re running around trying to do too many things at once. Simplify your life by completing one thing at a time and maybe actually sit and relax in the moments in between. This way of doing things will do wonders for your physical and mental well-being.

10. Release Yourself From Time Commitments

We often hold on to the concept of time – time is running out, the hours and days seem to pass far too quickly. We live our lives around time commitments and everything needs to be done by this or that time. Try to let go of the need to complete tasks, activities or goals in a specific time limit. Not only does this free your mind from the pressure but allows you to do things at your own pace – a pace that’ll make you feel more happy.

Remember, findings small ways to simplify your life can make a huge difference to your mindset and outlook on life. Simplification means freeing up more time to appreciate and live in the present moment that will lead to a more free and happy mind.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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