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25 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday

25 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday

Imagine what we’d all look like if we wore our worries on the outside. If there were some physical manifestation of our emotional baggage and hang-ups, we’d all be unrecognizable. If you find yourself thinking sometimes that you’re not who you should be, it’s time to explore ways to kick that feeling to the curb and look at how to change things in a healthy way. Here are 25 things to let go of that we could all stand to ditch by our next birthdays.

1. Let go of anything that doesn’t make you a better or happier person

We were built to pursue greatness and to perform to the best of our abilities. Anything that doesn’t serve our search for self-improvement needs to be swept aside – though not at the expense of our happiness.

2. Let go of other peoples’ burdens

We’re all our brother’s keepers in one way or another, but letting the burdens of others consume and rule over your own life isn’t healthy. Help others within reason, but also know when to let them help themselves.

3. Let go of what other people think about you

Most of us tend to think that other people judge us much more harshly than they actually do.

4. Let go of your pursuit of an unrealistic body image

body image

    It’s almost a cliché by now to point out how badly our body images have been warped by the media. We constantly see barely clothed models in advertisements, telling us on an unconscious level that we’ll never measure up. The only person your body needs to please is yourself.

    5. Let go of avoiding your problems

    You might think that your attempt to sweep your problems under the rug could be healthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing will improve if we don’t actively pursue practical solutions to our problems.

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    6. Let go of regret

    Regret is like a poison; left untreated, it can kill you. There are things in each of our lives that could have gone differently, but losing sleep over them isn’t healthy.

    7. Let go of lazy attitudes and unproductive days

    cat couch

      There’s something to be said for slowing down and enjoying a lazy day here and there, but when these days become the rule rather than the exception, you’ll fall into a pattern that’s tough to escape.

      8. Let go of your insecurities

      All you need to remember is this: we’re our own harshest critics.

      9. Let go of crying about life’s inherent unfairness

      Some of us learn as children that there will always be somebody better off than we are. If you’ve lost sight of that fact, it’s time to relearn it.

      10. Let go of setting your sights too high

      It’s good to have dreams and ambitions, but it’s important to keep them grounded as well. Expecting too much of ourselves is never healthy.

      11. Let go of the belief that everything arrives in its own time

      Maybe you believe in fate, destiny, or providence. That’s well and good, but it’s no substitute for taking charge of your life and making a positive change. If there’s something you want, it’s up to you to seek it out. Don’t wait for it to come to you.

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      12. Let go of your penchant for procrastination

      We all have responsibilities. Trying to shirk them or put them off until another day will do nothing for you except to pile the stress ever higher.

      13. Let go of dwelling on your mistakes

      Maybe you took a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe you chose not to pursue that career in the military, turning your back on the military scholarships that could have saved you tons of money. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, resolve instead to make things right.

      14. Let go of stress

      man stressed out

        We all give in to stress from time to time, and the truth is that it can be a great motivator. The problem is this: there’s nothing worse than hanging on to the same sources of stress for months or years at a time.

        15. Let go of trying to change the people around you

        Maybe people can change, and maybe they can’t. If they can, they’re the only ones who can make that change happen. You can be a source of inspiration for the people you care about, but don’t try to become a direct instrument of change; they’ll only learn to resent you.

        16. Let go of your worries about money

        Most of us have worried about money at one time or another. Keeping our eyes open for new opportunities or better careers is one thing, but if you’ve got a roof over your head and food to eat, don’t let money rule over you.

        17. Let go of trying to become a different type of person

        To be clear: we all have room in our lives for improvement. We can become better people, but seeking to conform to somebody’s prescribed notion of who you ought to be isn’t a healthy pursuit.

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        18. Let go of obsessing over your schedule

        Planner

          Planning is great, but flexibility is even better. Don’t worry so much about adhering to a strict schedule. As long as you’re being productive, your to-do list will take care of itself.

          19. Let go of your obsession with “stuff”

          If you’ve ever stood outside in a line to get your hands on a new electronic gadget before everybody else, you probably need to reexamine your priorities. Don’t let the pursuit of “stuff” control your life.

          20. Let go of your fear of speaking your mind

          Life is too short for us to keep our feelings walled off from the world. Tell that person you have feelings for them, or talk to your significant other about what’s bothering you. You’ll feel so much better after you do.

          21. Let go of your anger

          The evolutionary purpose of anger, and its place in psychology, will probably always be under examination. In terms of our everyday lives, however, anger is a pointless distraction that’s not worth hanging on to for any length of time.

          22. Let go of excuses

          If you have trouble taking responsibility for your actions, it’s time to own up.

          23. Let go of your jealousy toward the people in your life

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          not jealous (2)

             

            Is there anything more pointless than jealousy? Don’t hate your ex for finding love elsewhere, and don’t begrudge your neighbors their new yacht. Instead, make the most of what you do have.

            24. Let go of your worries about the future

            The future will get here. All we can do is make sure we’re prepared for when it does. Worrying about what’s to come will only serve to distract you from the present.

            25. Let go of the belief that it’s too late to start over

            never too late

               

              Whether you’re leaving an unhealthy relationship or setting out to explore new opportunities, never let the passage of time interfere with the pursuit of your dreams.

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              Courtney Gordner

              Courtney is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

              10 Good Skills to Put on a Resume When You Change Careers working from home 10 Creative And Effective Ways To Make Money From Home, Doing What You Love candles on a cake 25 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday thumbs up sign 10 Things You Can Do to Make Your First Week on the Job Successful 15 Habits of Highly Fulfilled People

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              Last Updated on September 30, 2020

              How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

              How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

              We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

              In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

              The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

              The Importance of Living in the Moment

              “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

              While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

              Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

              Better Health

              By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

              Improve Your Relationships

              Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

              Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

              How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

              By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

              Greater Self-Control

              You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

              Why Do We Worry?

              Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

              When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

              Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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              Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

              3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

              Step 1: Overcome Worrying

              In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

              Calm Your Mind

              When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

              The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

              In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

              Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

              Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

              People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

              If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

              Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

              In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

              Racing Mind

              Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

              You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

              If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

              Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

              None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

              So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

              By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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              In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

              Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

              A Wandering Mind

              From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

              Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

              Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

              Outside Influences

              Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

              Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

              Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

              So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

              Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

              Understand Mindfulness

              The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

              When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

              You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

              This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

              To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

              If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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              You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

              Mindfulness Meditation

              Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

              Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

              You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

              This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

              If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

              Mindful Breathing

              While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

              You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

              Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

              Mindful Walking

              Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

              Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

              Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

              You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

              In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

              You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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              Mindful Eating

              Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

              The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

              Live in the present with mindful eating.

                Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

                So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

                • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
                • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
                • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

                You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

                Mindful Activities

                Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

                Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

                You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

                Final Thoughts

                Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

                Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

                Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

                The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

                More About Living in the Present

                Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

                Reference

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