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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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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