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4 Steps to Declutter Your Soul and Become a Happier Person

4 Steps to Declutter Your Soul and Become a Happier Person

Luckily, more and more people are decluttering their lives, getting more organised, and understanding that we need less of the material things in order to have more freedom.

One aspect often gets forgotten, though, and that’s our spiritual well-being. It’s as important as physical health, but we seem to skip that part when changing ourselves and improving the quality of our life.

We are constantly bombarded by all the thoughts in our heads – which are too many and, often, too negative – that give birth to stress and anxiety. And then, the stress and anxiety from there lead to all sorts of unpleasant situations.

Being stressed out prevents you from keeping your focus and keeps you from doing your best at work and/or school. Anxiety doesn’t let you enjoy life for what is today because you always worry about what might happen tomorrow. Negativism turns you into a complainer and impacts those around you too.

I can go on like that forever because the consequences of not decluttering your mind and soul are endless. For now, let’s concentrate on finding a solution. How can we declutter our mind and spirit to live more peacefully, happily, and freely?

Here are some great ways:

1. Leave behind the past.

A negative mental pattern we develop unconsciously is to often think about events from the past and bring all the bad feelings into the present moment. As a result, we literally relive it and feel awful again.

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Be it a breakup, a painful memory, a mistake you made, or how others treated you when you were insecure – all this must be left behind. It belongs in the past and if you think about it, you evoke the same emotions when you bring those old wounds back into the light. In turn, it ruins your present and your whole day.

Don’t let it happen anymore. Practice letting go. When you notice another thought about the past popping up in your mind, stop, remember that it’s already in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it, come back to this moment, breathe deeply, and let go of it.

Having such an attitude towards anything related to the past will make you a happier person in no time.

2. Stop overthinking.

Less is better. That’s the case for the number of thoughts in our mind too. Thinking might be good in many situations in life, but when it’s purposeless and only makes us worry and imagine negative scenarios, an empty mind would be a better option.

Overthinking means constantly trying to figure out how things will turn out, what people think about you, what might go wrong, whether or not what you want to do is worth it, etc.

The main similarity between all these is that they are pointless. Such thoughts stop you from taking action, make you feel awkward when socialising, and turn every moment into desperate anticipation of the next one.

How do you declutter your mind and soul if overthinking has become your habit?

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By getting better at emptying your mind with daily exercises.

It doesn’t need to be anything complex. Start meditating for five minutes every morning. Then, add another session before you go to bed.

Simply find an isolated place, sit down, start breathing deeply, and focus either on your breath or on one positive thought you think of.

The point is to practice mindfulness and to quiet your mind. It won’t happen from day one, so be patient. Do it the next morning too, and feel how it gets easier over time.

Soon, you’ll turn that into your constant state of mind and unnecessary thoughts won’t have any place there. It will be only freedom, contentment, and presence.

3. Limit the information you consume.

Information overload is a real thing. There’s so much going on at any moment that if we want to stay up-to-date, we risk losing our sanity.

Social media doesn’t make this any easier either. Every time you scroll down your feed on one network, you might feel overwhelmed by seeing all the stuff being posted, you might want to read more about it all, might feel bad about something, or might start comparing your life to how others are living theirs and feel depressed.

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That’s just five minutes of someone’s day.

Then you open your inbox and see tons of news emails, each with different links that make you want to know more.

Later in the day, you receive even more information from all types of sources, other people bother you with their problems, devices are everywhere, someone texts you, or you receive notifications every 15 minutes, and that just never stops.

Unless, you decide to put an end to it.

You can’t have peace of mind with all these facts in your head, 90% of which are absolutely unimportant.

So, here’s the solution:

  • say a big “no” to most of these sources of information
  • set a limit for using social media and checking email
  • don’t read stuff that doesn’t concern you or the industry you work in
  • unsubscribe from all newsletters and only check out the sites that truly provide meaningful information
  • practice emptying your mind a few times during the day

4. Replace expectations with acceptance.

Think about this. We expect so much from ourselves and those around us, that this prevents us from being who we are and taking risks, from enjoying other people’s company, and being grateful for having them in our life.

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Expectations are bad. We are never satisfied and there’s always something else to expect.

So let’s ditch them. And replace them with something better – acceptance.

I’m talking about accepting yourself for who you are and smiling for this, but also knowing you can always improve if you work hard and believe in yourself.

I’m talking about accepting every person in your life as an individual, and not waiting for them to react in a certain way, not judging or blaming them. Simply being there for them, accepting their lifestyle and qualities, and appreciating having people who love you.

That small change will make a big difference in all of your relationships and will make you happier every day because you won’t be expecting so much, and won’t be stressing over not meeting these expectations.

Now that you know why simplicity is good for us in general, and that it’s also beneficial to our peace of mind and happiness, you won’t live your days unconsciously anymore.

Take one little step today, like saying “no” to a thought from the past, quieting the voices in your head before bed, or smiling for what you already have, and see the instant transformation in your mind.

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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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