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Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

You want to improve your life.

You wouldn’t be reading Lifehack if you didn’t.

But you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you believe any of these growth-stunting famous myths.

1. Life should be how you want it to be.

You have this idea in your head, a script, of how your life is supposed to be. But it’s not happening that way.

And you hate that.

That’s because you’ve bought into the myth that life should be how you want it to be rather than accepting life as it is.

There’s nothing wrong with goals and forward motion in your life.

But your life is happening now. Engage it, learn from it, experience it.

Not experiencing your life because it’s not how you want it is making you dumb.

2. Life is linear rather than a spiral.

This myth, which is rampant in our American society, says that we should always be progressing forward in an upward, straight line.

However, this doesn’t leave much room for the normal bad habits and problems that we struggle with from time to time.

You see, life is much more like a spiral than a straight line. We move forward but eventually return to the same spot where those struggles keep popping up.

Instead of getting down on yourself about them, remember that you have been moving forward, it’s just that it’s the time on your path when you need to work on those issues again.

You’re moving up and around at the same time.

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3. We should be happy all the time.

At least, that’s what the Self-Improvement sections of bookstores would have you believe.

The reality is that happiness is a fleeting emotion just as all emotions are. The emotions that tend to be more constant are feelings of contentment and ease.

Happiness is great, but it’s not something we are going to experience all the time.

I wish you much happiness, but I also wish you wouldn’t put yourself under the pressure of thinking that something is wrong with you if you’re not happy. You’re just human.

4. Resisting something is the best way to overcome a crisis.

Not so much.

Although the natural response to a crisis or even a fairly routine problem is to resist it, that behavior only drains your energy and reduces your ability to problem-solve effectively.

The best approach is to accept, rather than resist, what is happening.

This doesn’t mean that you are giving up. It just means that you are being realistic about what is in front of you.

It means that you are working within the crisis rather than against it. This is like walking downstream to cross a river rather than walking upstream against the current.

Resisting is a very natural, human response, but it’s dumb.

Learning to accept the bad with the good in our lives is smart.

5. Being hard on yourself is the only way to get motivated.

For some reason, many of us will listen to that Inner Critic, that nasty voice in our heads, because we think it’s the only way that we’re going to get anything accomplished.

After all, if we weren’t hard on ourselves, how would we get anything done?

Perhaps we could try being nice. Not just to others, but to ourselves as well.

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There are tons of motivational tips out there that focus on rewarding yourself rather than whipping yourself to accomplish goals.

Challenge the myth that your Inner Critic is right and try something new. And kinder.

You’ll be surprised at what a little kindness can do for you.

6. Self-compassion is for wimps.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

Man up!

None of this namby-pamby self-compassion stuff! Don’t be a wimp!

Actually, research has shown that self-compassion isn’t wimpy.

Being kind and empathic to yourself results in a healthier, more productive life than being self-critical. And research also shows that self-compassion increases a stable sense of security and self-worth.

So next time you are being harsh with yourself, ask yourself if you would treat a friend that way.

It’s okay to treat yourself as you would your best friend.

7. You can get back to your old self after a crisis happens.

“I just want life to get back to the way it was.”

I hear this a lot when people are in the middle of grief or another kind of crisis.

But the truth is, you won’t be the same person you were before the crisis happened.

And that’s okay.

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You may find that you are more sensitive to others who are in crisis and more thoughtful about your own habits and behaviors.

While you won’t be exactly the same as you were before life’s storm blew your way, you might actually find that you’re a little better.

8. Your thoughts are always true.

Our minds are constantly going.

Constantly.

It’s easy to listen to all of that chatter and, because it emanates from you and your mind, believe it.

However, your thoughts aren’t always true.

Your inner chatterbox may tell you that you’re a worthless piece of crap.

Just because you thought it doesn’t make it true. You’re not a worthless piece of crap.

Maybe you’re struggling right now, but we all struggle at times. It’s part of the human condition.

Don’t let your own irrational and unrealistic thoughts make you dumb. Cull out the productive, kind thoughts from those that are destructive and cruel.

You don’t have to believe everything you think.

9. My life will be better when ______ happens.

What are you waiting for?

What happens if fill-in-the-blank never happens?

“When I retire my life would be better.”

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Okay. Well, my friend Cathy retired and then she died several months later.

“My life would be better if I had more money.”

Maybe. But how much is enough? Will you let your life go by while you are vainly struggling and waiting for the mystical “more” to happen?

You get the idea.

Life is in front of you right now.

Don’t wait to live it.

10. If I work hard enough, things won’t change in my life.

Change is inevitable.

You know this but do you know it?

Have you taken it into your core and made change a regular part of your life, a routine?

You don’t have to like change, but you need to not resist it.

The myth that you can outrun change is making you dumb. Be smart and allow change to work its magic where it can.

 

Need to bounce back in life? Download my FREE ebookBounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.

Featured photo credit: the girl in the wood looks up via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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