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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

Why Is Life So Complicated For You? 5 Reasons Why

Why Is Life So Complicated For You? 5 Reasons Why

“Being simple is the most complicated thing nowadays.” -Ramana Pemmaraju

We live in a world where constant change and disruption is a given.

Our lives were suddenly turned upside down by a world pandemic. We had no control, and our power of choice was taken away from us. To survive we had to accept and obey the laws set by the government to eliminate a virus that could potentially destroy our society as we know it.

I found it difficult to adjust to living a life with no social contact apart from those living in my bubble. I quickly realised that to get through living with COVID-19 regulations and rules, I had to keep my life as uncomplicated as possible. The more complicated I made my life, the more frenetic, anxious and fearful I became. This was not an easy task, and every day I had to work on overcoming the biggest obstacle ever: my mind.

So, if you are feeling that your life is complicated, here are 5 reasons why this is happening to you. The good news is that if you address these 5 obstacles, you will have a much better chance of living an uncomplicated life.

1. Focusing on the Complexity of Life

If you were to ask Confucius if life is complicated, his reply would be, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

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The most difficult and anxiety-creating activity I found during Level 4 lockdown was doing the weekly shop. Adjusting to a new way of shopping where you had to stand in long queues to get into the grocery store while still maintaining a 2-meter gap outside and inside the store was exhausting.

One person per household was allowed to go to the grocery store, and that task was allocated to me. I began to dread the weekly trip, and I had to work really hard to manage my anxiety. I soon realized that if I continued to believe that this shopping exercise was complicated and challenging, then guess what? It would be.

It’s easy to see something as complicated when it forces us to shift our lives in some major way, but it’s often useful to first work on seeing this change in a more positive or simpler light. What will this change teach you? Can you incorporate it into your routine without too much upheaval? Do your best to make it as straightforward as possible.

The Complexity Bias

The complexity bias is a reason why we humans lean towards complicating our lives rather than keeping things simple. When we are faced with too much information or we are in a state of confusion about something, we will naturally focus on the complexity of the issue rather than look for a simple solution. In a recent article, the author explains, when “we succumb to complexity bias, we are focusing too hard on the tricky 10% and ignoring the easy 90%.”[1]

When you are dealing with a situation that you feel is complicated and overwhelming, try to focus on coming up with solutions or strategies that are simple. Ask yourself this question: If I take the simple, straightforward approach what will be the outcome? More confusion or perhaps a solution? I think you know what the answer would be!

2. Being Constantly Worrying

As humans, we are emotional beings. When we are stressed, angry, frustrated, or unhappy, our thoughts and emotions can have a significant influence on how we react and behave.

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Constantly worrying about your problems and what lies ahead in the future can drain your energy and cause physical and emotional distress in your life. The more you worry, the more complicated your life seems.

Looking for a silver lining or the best option in a bad situation does not come naturally to us. It takes work and continuous effort to navigate our way around the challenges and curveballs that life throws at you.

Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help you calm your worried mind and ease anxiety. Try the following to see what works for you[2]:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Cardio exercises
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Listening to music
  • Talking to friends

3. Trying to Control Everything in Life

We live in a complex world, and it can be very hard to find the answers to the challenges we face in our lives. We are all afraid of something, whether it is fear of failing, dying, or losing a loved one. Striving to have control over one’s life is an attempt to bury your fears so that you don’t have to face them.

If you are making decisions about your life from a place of control, then you need to stop. Striving to have control in your life is a sign that you are living your life in fear. You need to break free of your fears and learn to accept that there are things in life that are outside of your control.

Once you accept that life is all about your navigating your way through it rather than controlling it, you will find that your outlook on life will be more positive and not so complicated.

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“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.” -Charles R. Swindoll.

4. Basing Your Happiness on Others’ Happiness

Your life will always be complicated and difficult if you hinge your happiness on other people in your life. Your happiness does not come from others, it comes from within you.

If you rely on another person’s happiness to live life, over time the complications of life will overwhelm you and you will lose your sense of self. You will find that you will be constantly trying to please others and trying to keep them happy — this is exhausting and detrimental to your wellbeing.

You need to take a breath, look inward, and then make a choice. Do you want to live a life valuing and believing in yourself the way you deserve, or do you want to live your life based on the happiness of others? I know what I would choose.

5. Feeding Into the Drama of Life

By feeding into other peoples’ drama, you are making your life more complicated than it needs to be. Drama and having toxic people in your life is a recipe for living an emotionally exhausting and complicated life.

There are certain types of people who live their life through drama and catastrophe. They choose to respond to life’s challenges in a way that is not productive. Stay away from them. If they do come to you with their drama, take a breathe and give yourself some time to work out how best to manage the situation without falling into the trap of taking on board their negative energy.

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It won’t happen overnight, but the more you work on your self-acceptance and self-belief, the more courageous and confident you will be. With this courage, you will be able to step up and eliminate negative drama from your life. Once you have done this, your life will be less complicated and so much easier for you to navigate your way through life’s challenges.

Final Thoughts

“If you accept life in all its fullness and ambiguity, it’s not complicated; it’s only complicated if you don’t accept it.” -Marty Rubin

You will always have challenging times in your life, and the more complicated you make it, the more difficult your life will be.

The more you focus on quieting the voices in your mind, keeping calm, and listening to yourself breathe, the less complicated your life will be. This is a very simple recipe to living a fulfilled life.

More Tips on Living a Simpler Life

Featured photo credit: Nick Karvounis via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Achieve Your Goals In Life How to Persevere (And Get Ahead!) When the Going Gets Tough 13 Things to Remember When You Need More Motivation Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It Anxiety Coping Mechanisms That Work When You’re Stressed to the Max

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

As human beings, one of our deepest-rooted desires is to have a meaningful and happy existence. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Live your best life.” It’s good advice.

We all want to feel connected to both ourselves and others. We want to feel that we’re part of something important and that we’re making a difference in the world.

We want to look back at our lives and our achievements and be proud. In short, we want what the saying says: to live our best lives.

But what does it really mean to live your best life?

You are a unique individual, so living your best life is exclusive to you. Your best life will reflect your true values. It will be made up of what makes you happy and will be colored by what making a difference means to you.

What Stops You From Living Your Best Life?

While living your best life is all about you, what other people think can have an impact on your quest to live your best life.

Social media, for example, puts us under a lot of pressure. There are specific expectations of what “happy” looks like, and we’re under pressure to conform to what society expects.

For example, we are pressured to look a certain way, wear the “right” clothes, have exciting adventures with eye-catching friends, eat ethical and healthy food, and do charity work.

These are only a few of society’s expectations. It’s a long list.

Social media claims to connect us, but often it can do the opposite.

We can spend so much time worrying about what other people are doing, trying to live the life that society expects of us, that it can be easy to lose track of what makes us happy and what our best life actually looks like.

Start the Journey

What does it look like to live your best life? The following are some practical tips and tools to move from living your current life to living your best life.

1. Be the Best Version of Yourself

To live your best life, you must be the best version of yourself. Don’t try to be something or someone else. Don’t try to be what other people want you to be.

Focus on who you want to be. Play to your strengths and be proud of what makes you different. You are brilliant.

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Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happiness Project, created her own commandments. The first one was “Be Gretchen.” This gave her permission to follow her gut feeling and make up her own rules.

For example, she stopped forcing herself to enjoy parties, cocktails, and fashion just because that’s what she thought society expected.

So, inspired by Gretchen, create your own commandment: “Be more YOU,” and remind yourself of this every day, unapologetically.

2. Observe Yourself

To work out what the best you looks like, you must get to know yourself better. It’s your best life after all – not anyone else’s.

Start to notice how you respond to various situations. What are your habits? What makes you happy? What frustrates you? How do you behave under pressure? What gives you energy? What drains you?

Spend a week simply noticing. Write your observations down so you remember.

3. Identify Your Bad Habits

As part of your observations, start to notice your bad habits. Consider the things that don’t ultimately make you feel good.

Does scrolling mindlessly through Instagram make you happy? For 5 minutes, perhaps, but for longer?

That last glass of wine was delicious, but do you pay the price later?

That chocolate was enjoyable at the moment, but now that the sugar high is over, are you feeling regretful?

Observe yourself first. Then, start to deliberately do more of the things that make you happy and give you energy.

At the same time, work on reducing then eliminating the habits that squander your time, drain your energy, and ultimately don’t make you happy.

Need help conquering your bad habits? Read How to Break Bad Habits Once and For All.

4. Set Intentions

After having thought about what makes you happy and what drains your energy, focus on what living the best life looks like for you.

One of the keys to this is being intentional about it. When you deliberately set intentions, you are more likely to act with purpose and drive.

Setting intentions is different from setting goals. Goals are your list of things you want to achieve. You can set them daily, monthly, yearly, or a combination.

A common practice is to define goals and write them down. This makes them more tangible and makes you more accountable, therefore, making the goals more likely to happen.

The subtle yet important difference between goals and intentions is that when setting intentions, you decide what kind of positive feelings and emotions you are seeking.

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For example, “This week, my intention is to approach my admin tasks with gusto in order to complete them more quickly.”

Intentions can be more motivating than goals because if you don’t achieve your goal, it can feel like a failure and can ultimately hold you back.

If you don’t achieve your intention to approach something in a specific way, you can more easily regroup and have another try.

Write down your intentions every month, week, or day, using whichever time frame works best for you.

For example, “I intend to enjoy going swimming three times this week” or “I intend to assertively build my network in my local area this month.”

Setting intentions gives you something to focus on, and it also helps to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed that often happens when we set ourselves goals.

5. Visualize Living Your Best Life

Visualization can help you to cement your intentions. It involves visualizing how it would feel to live your best life once you achieve it.

It can help you to further establish what you want and allow you to settle into a positive mindset.

To visualize, first choose your focus. Choose a specific intention and how you will feel once it is accomplished. Then, take the time to daydream and allow your imagination to wander.

For example, if your intention is going swimming three times a week, imagine what you will look and feel like:

  • What will you wear?
  • How do you get there?
  • What time of day do you go?
  • How do you feel when you’re in the water?
  • How do you feel afterward?

Ask yourself these little questions and allow yourself to feel the same feelings you would feel if you were currently fulfilling your intention.

10 Ways to Live Your Best Life

Now that you’ve decided and visualized what your best life looks like, let’s look at some more practical steps you can take to achieve it.

1. Focus

Whatever you do, focus. If you swim, swim. If you study, study. Multitasking is a myth. It’s not possible to do more than one thing at a time well. Focused work is the least tiresome and the most productive type of work.

Michael LeBouf, the author of The Millionaire in You, said,

“Winners focus, losers spray.”

2. Take Responsibility for Taking Action

Taking action can feel scary. We fear failure, but we can also fear success. It can be easy to feel too busy to achieve your intentions.

However, you have the choice to take action and live your best life or stay the same. It’s up to you, so take responsibility to take action.

3. Live in the Present

Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. We so often get stuck because we put things off.

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We can think, “When I’ve lost 10 lbs I’ll go swimming,” or “When I feel more confident I’ll look for a new job,” or “When I get my new running shoes I’ll start running.”

How about starting from where you are? How about using what you already have?

We often put off taking action until we have the newest phone/camera/game/course/book/shoes as if they are the keys to happiness. In the process, we forget about what we already have.

Grab the camera that you have, put on your old running shoes. Go and do something interesting today with what you’ve got. Fancier gadgets, better clothes, or a slimmer body won’t make you better.

Action will.

4. Declutter

This applies to the environment you live in as well as the people you spend time with. Use Marie Kondo’s decluttering method of asking, “Does it bring you joy?”[1]

If your answer is yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. Simple.

This also applies to people. If there are people in your life that make you feel bad, drain your energy, and don’t bring you joy, let go of them.

Instead, spend time with the people and activities that give you energy and make you feel good.

5. Relish the Simple Things

When we’re busy, we can forget to appreciate what we have. Take time to focus on the simple things. Even when you’re feeling low, there’s always something to be grateful for.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.[2] Be deliberate in being grateful for what you do have, rather than resentful of what you don’t.

6. Journaling

Journaling

is simply writing your thoughts down.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper not only helps you get your thoughts in order, but it can also help ease symptoms of depression and manage stress and anxiety.[3]

In the chaos of life, it is easy to overthink, feel anxious, or not appreciate what you do have. Journaling can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and productively cope with life.

Be curious and keep learning. Ask more questions and keep pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and learn.

What are you interested in or curious about? Perhaps it’s learning more about where you live, or reading up on a particular topic? Maybe it’s traveling to a new town or country?

According to Dan Pink’s research, learning is a key motivator.[4] Whether you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in a boring routine or you’re stressed by the tasks of daily life, learning something new is a way to step outside yourself and your comfort zone.

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Create a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do and learn and the places you’d like to go to, and start ticking them off.

7. Make Someone’s Day

Being kind to others makes them feel good, and it also releases chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Think about a time you gave someone a gift that they loved. How did you feel?

You don’t have to start giving people gifts to make someone’s day. Think about small, thoughtful gestures: a genuine compliment, opening the door, offering to help someone.

All these things can make a big difference in someone’s day.

8. Look After Your Body

Eat what nourishes you, including plenty of vegetables and fruit and food that’s natural and unprocessed. Drink plenty of water.

Exercise because you like it, not because you’re supposed to go to the gym.

Reject the idea that you have to push yourself really hard at exercise, and instead try out a variety of things – for example, walking the dog, gardening, yoga, swimming, or dancing.

Find what you enjoy. When you enjoy something, you’ll be motivated to do it more.

Get good rest! We’re all different in terms of the amount of sleep that we need. However, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.

If you’re not getting that much, then check out healthy sleep tips from the Sleep Foundation.[5]

More tips for staying healthy: Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

9. Manage Your Inner Critic

Most people have an inner critic that tells them they are not good enough, that they’re a fraud, and that they are going to be found out.

This happens especially when we step out of our comfort zone and change things. If you are living your best life, your inner critic likes to jeopardize that.

The next time it appears, acknowledge what’s happening and call it out. Whatever it is telling you, list all the reasons it’s wrong.

10. Be Prepared to Change the Plan

You may have set intentions to live your best life. However, life is not linear, nor does it work in lists. You must expect to be flexible and change the plan as life throws things at you.

The end game remains the same: to live your best life. It’s just the route to get there that will inevitably change.

Conclusion

Live each day like it counts, and remember, it’s your choice. Your best life is unique to you. Don’t compare yourself to others – focus on living your best life, and enjoy the learning, exploration, and experiences along the way.

More Tips on How You Can Live Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Kon Mari: Tidy your space, transform your life
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: In Praise of Gratitude
[3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Journaling for Mental Health
[4] Daniel H. Pink: Dan Pink on Motivation
[5] Sleep Foundation: Healthy Sleep Tips

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