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21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

You wonder where time goes. It’s easy to think that “tomorrow” will be a better day to do things that will lead to a better life. Somehow there will be more money, a better relationship, a move, and only then will you have the time to stop and smell the roses.

Here are some things that you should start making time for. And little by little, you will see that by doing so, your life is richer, and your relationships, both with yourself and others, improve.

1. Take better care of yourself.

Start with the little things. Get a haircut before you really need one. Go to sleep a little earlier. Eat your veggies. Pick one thing at a time, like drinking more water one week, and the next have an extra fruit for breakfast.

2. Indulge in passions and hobbies.

Do what you love, even if it’s just checking out a website about a passion or hobby. Go to a specialty shop during your lunch break or on your way home from work one day just to look around.

3. Initiate long and intimate conversations with loved ones.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, go ahead and start a deeper conversation with a loved ones, even if you’re in the middle of the kitchen. Don’t wait for them to be the one to start; make time to go for it in the moment. It will feel awesome.

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4. Listen to others without judgment.

This takes intention rather than a lot of time. Next time someone that you usually pass judgment on or have expectations of speaks, just take the time to listen instead of speaking.

5. Read great books.

It may seem like it’s going to leave you with less time to read through the latest gossip magazine or website, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit in reading a classic piece of literature. Check one out and leave it on your counter top or bedside table for a few nights.

6. Write things by hand.

Instead of sending an email to a co-worker, boss, employee, child or partner, write a handwritten note. It takes a short amount of time and the intimacy of a handwritten note is valued in this time-crunched life.

7. Sing.

Your thoughts keep you really busy while driving, walking, doing handiwork or housework. Raising your voice in song slows down time a little bit and gets your physical body moving in a different way. It’s joyful and energizes you, so take the time to do it even if you’re no American Idol.

8. Take a train somewhere.

If you ride the subway to work, skip this one! Otherwise, taking a train on a short little excursion is relaxing, meditative and gives you a break that’s a bit different than your regular day. You can take kids, a partner or friend and make it fun.

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9. Celebrate.

Stop and celebrate silly things other than birthdays and anniversaries. Find a reason to buy balloons and a cake and invite some friends to celebrate a little milestone in your life.

10. Just sit and listen to music.

Listen to music without multitasking. Sit and put on some music that you enjoy, perhaps the type of music you don’t usually listen to. Try some violin music, something in another language, or music the teens are listening to. Ask your parents what their favorite music was as teens and sit and listen to that!

11. Putting personal health first.

For some reason we get busy and don’t make the time at the top of the list to put our health first. Take the time to do this. What do you need for your health? Write it on a list at the top and post it.

12. Love.

Take the time for love. Sometimes, we take the people we love for granted. Look around at the people in your life and show them that you love them. Or take the time to tell them in a longer way that you may usually do. Describe what you love about them.

13. Make an animal friend.

Adopt a pet. If you cannot, visit a zoo, an animal shelter or a friend with a pet and make the time to spend with them. An animal can give you a feeling of calm that you cannot get anywhere else.

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14. Paint something.

You don’t have to paint a room or be Picasso. Just go into the local arts and crafts shop and get some basic acrylic paints, some brushes and a canvas. You don’t have to be artistic to dip a brush into some colors and spread it on the canvas. It’s worth the time it takes and is loads of fun and relaxing.

15. Record a video.

Use your phone, your computer or a friend’s and talk about your life into a video. Years later you will be glad you did. You can keep this just for yourself or share it with others. It’s worth the few minuets it takes now to watch yourself on camera.

16. Movement.

Take the time to move your body. It doesn’t have to be a full exercise regimen. Just put on some music and move around. Move your elbows, your fingers, your knees and ankles. Every part of you that can move, move it! It heals the mind and the body when you take the time your physical body needs in movement.

17. Write your own bucket list.

Do you have a list of things to do before you die? It’s a great thing to take the time to do. You are more likely to do the things you want to do if it’s written down.

18. Deep breathing.

Take the time daily to pause and take a few deep breaths. It fills your lungs with oxygen and relaxes you. Sometimes we go on, racing around and barely breathe.

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19. Look into your eyes in the mirror.

Stop in front of the mirror every day for an extra 3 seconds, lock eyes with yourself and say, “I love you” to yourself. This is an exercise Louise Hay speaks of that helped her heal her life.

20. Tech-free time.

Taking tech free time, even if only for an hour a day frees your mind and helps you realize that you can have ‘time off’ every day. Try it and see how it feels. You may want more than an hour. Perhaps a half day once a week.

21. Sit in nature.

All the great artists, writers and creatives speak of how sitting or walking in nature daily for a short time has been the key to their success. No matter the weather, make time for this one daily even just for a few moments.

This may seem like a long list, yet if you pick a few that you know won’t take much time and go for it, your life energy will shift. You get so busy, and there seems to be this big rush to the finish line. Just remember that on the way to the finish line there is a beautiful view.

Don’t miss it.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsallaboutmich via flickr.com

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Esther Litchfield-Fink

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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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