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Learn the Art of Contentment and Reduce the Stress in Your Life

Learn the Art of Contentment and Reduce the Stress in Your Life

    Are you the kind of person that always looks to see what kind of car your neighbor is driving? Or are you worried about what your co-workers are making as far as salary? Not happy in your job, marriage, friendships, or “fill in the blank”?

    You need to learn the art of contentment. Being content is not being driven by always wanting more. I know that ambition is a prized trait in our society. I am not saying that ambition is wrong. What I am saying is that the constant striving for more and not enjoying what you have or where you are at the moment will drive you crazy. Things do and will change. Have the attitude that they will change for the better. That can co-exist with being content. The attitude you have for the present will determine your stress level and even if you are in the right space or not to accomplish what you want for yourself.

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    I would like to give you couple ways to bring contentment into your life. As with anything, learning to master contentment takes practice. Work these techniques into your life and start to see the difference in your stress level.

    Learn a Right View of Problems

    There is an old saying, “What you focus on expands.” Have you noticed that when you buy a car, you start noticing people driving the same model? That is because you are hypersensitive and focused on that model. It is the same way with problems. If you focus on what is wrong in your life, what you don’t have that is what you will constantly see. You will see what you look for.

    Now I am not telling you to ignore problems. Take them straight on and deal with them. Always think of them as temporary and changing and then, most important take action to change them. The difference between being content and not is understanding that the problem is a temporary situation. One of the main causes of suicide is seeing problems and situations as permanent and taking a permanent solution to them. All things change.

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    If you look for what is right in your life, you will end up seeing many things.

    Learn to Cultivate Gratitude

    One of the big problems of media these days is that we get an incorrect view of reality. We get false expectations. Everyone has a new car, each family has a 4,000 square foot home. You don’t see reality. The world is imperfect. There blemishes on the most beautiful apple. There will always be something wrong with everything. When we are content we can separate reality from our expectations.

    Keep a mental or even written list of the things you are grateful for in your life. When you hit a rough patch, review them and remind yourself why you are grateful for what is going on in your life. You can do these by topic. Make a list of what you are grateful in your job, in your spouse, etc.

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    Don’t focus on comparisons. What someone else has or what someone else makes. The problem is that people only compare themselves to those who have more or make more. No one ever compares themselves to people who have or make less. Therefore they make false comparisons. Just stay away from comparisons totally and you will find yourself much less stressed out.

    Stake Your Life on What Satisfies Your Passion

    Bring into your life what satisfies your passions. Nothing will bring happiness, stress-free living quicker than by doing things you enjoy. It may be art, a hobby, travel, a course on improving yourself in some way, even something as simple as listening to a foreign language tape on your daily commute. I know some of you are saying you don’t have time. There is always time to squeeze in something you like to do.

    What you don’t want to do is fully stake your life on what you don’t like. What you focus on expands. Once again, view that situation as in the process of changing while you concentrate on those things that bring you joy.

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    Contentment of the Spirit

    Mark Twain said that the master passion of man was the contentment of the spirit. That is what we are really striving for, just to be content. Go ahead and practice these steps and see what they bring you.

    (Photo credit: Businessman looking up and relaxing with hands behind head via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

    More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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