“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
It is human nature to want to be liked and accepted. However, this often leads to people worrying too much about what others are thinking about them.
This kind of excessive worrying can have a negative effect on your life. It can be so debilitating that it interferes with your ability to feel at ease with yourself and around others. Do not let it prevent you from living your life to the fullest potential.
Here are ten reasons why you should not care about what others think:Advertising
1. It’s Not Their Life, So It’s None Of Their Business
People are entitled to think whatever they want, just as you are entitled to think what you want. What people think of you cannot change who you are or what you are worth, unless you allow them to.
This is your life to live. At the end of the day you are the only person who needs to approve of your own choices.
2. They Don’t Know What’s Best For You
Nobody will ever be as invested in your life as you. Only you know what is best for you, and that entails learning from your own choices. The only way you will ever truly learn is through making your own decisions, taking full responsibility for them, and that way if you do fail, at least you can learn from it wholeheartedly, as opposed to blaming somebody else.
3. What’s Right For Someone Else May Be Completely Wrong For You
It’s important to recognize that someone’s opinion is often based on what they would do. This alone is the problem. What is best for somebody else, can be the worst thing for you. What one person considers garbage can be another person’s treasure. We are all so unique. Only you know what is right for you.Advertising
4. It Will Keep You From Your Dreams
If you are constantly worried about what other people think, you will never get to where you need to go in life. You are going to have to do things that don’t always meet people’s standards. You will come into situations where you have to put your pride, and your reputation on the line to get what you want. If you are constantly worried about what people are thinking, you will never have the will to do what’s right.
5. You’re The One Stuck With The End Result
In life, you are the one stuck with the consequences of your decisions. For example, if someone suggests you buy some stocks, but you just don’t feel like it’s the right choice, you are the only one who will live the consequences. If the stock falls and you lose a lot of money, you are the one that will have to live with the fact that you didn’t follow your inner call. When people give you their suggestions or even orders, there is no risk for them. They don’t have to live with your choices—but you do.
6. People’s Thoughts Change On A Regular Basis
We are constantly changing. Some philosophers and theorists suggest that we are in a constant state of flux, so much that we cannot even say we have one, specific ‘self’ (or a fixed personality). People’s thoughts, ideas and views change on a regular basis.
That means even if somebody does think badly of you at the moment, there is a good chance they will think differently in the near future. So basically, people’s thoughts don’t really matter.Advertising
7. Life Is Simply Too Short
You only have one life to live, so why would you spend it worrying about other people’s opinions? Do whatever you want, be whoever you want. You’re not going to see these people after you’re dead. You probably won’t even see them in a year from now. Live your life without worrying about other people’s thoughts and opinion, and you will live your life to the maximum.
8. You Reap What You Sow
Worrying too much about what other people think of you can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Frequently, people indulge their need to be liked so much so that it actually dictates to the way they behave. Some become people-pleasers or so submissive that many people are turned off. The behavior you use as an attempt to ensure you are liked may actually cause you to be disliked.
9. Others Don’t Care As Much As You Think
People generally don’t think outside themselves a great deal of time. It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think about most things in terms of “me” or “my”.
This means that, unless who you are or what you have done directly affects another person or their life, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about you at all.Advertising
10. The Hard Truth: It’s Impossible To Please Everybody
You can’t please all of the people all of the time. It is impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations so there is no point in burning yourself out trying to do so. Just make sure that one of the people you please is yourself!
The weight of other’s thought can become a burden for you. It can inhibit you from living your life, because your entire being (your personality, your thoughts, your actions) are controlled by an idealized standard of what people want to see. When you become so obsessed with other people’s opinion of you, you forget your own.
You can make a conscious effort to stop giving a damn; to let yourself free. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, like meditating. But once you truly understand how to let go, you will see the world as entirely different.
Once you give up catering to other people’s opinion and thoughts, you will find out who you truly are, and that freedom will be like taking a breath for the first time.
Last Updated on April 8, 2020
How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious
Overwhelmed with work, family responsibilities, financial challenges and health issues are common culprits which catalyze stress and anxiety symptoms that show up differently in each and every one of us.
Whilst many of us are becoming much better at identifying what can trigger us to feel these, we’re not always that great at recognizing our individual thresholds; we don’t know exactly how to calm down when the mental, emotional storms erupt.
We can almost see you eye-rolling upon hearing commonly recommended stress antidotes such as taking a bath, lighting candles or going for a walk. Let’s face it. These simply aren’t practical things you can do when you’re on a red-eye flight at 5:30am to run a full day of training interstate and then fly back the same evening not to mention juggling a young family.
You want to know your triggers, predict the impact of them and have your own suite of tools up your sleeve to calm down that impact for the long-term.
Doing a little ground work to gain a strong self-awareness of your likely reactions puts you smack bang in the pilot seat to develop a robust mental and emotional toolkit that will work wonders for you.
A few simple but well-practiced techniques may be all you need to simmer down the cyclonic intensity of emotions, and disparaging thoughts pecking away at your self-esteem and confidence. However, it’s important you do this self-reflective groundwork first to gain maximum impact for long-term effect.
1. Strengthen Familiarity with What Triggers You
When you have arguments with your loved one, do you stop and look to see if there are certain things you fight about? Are there certain behaviors they display that drive you bananas?
Take your focus off them and ask yourself: “What is my usual response?”
Perhaps you feel the anger welling up inside your chest and you then spurt out that you’ve told him or her ten times before to not leave their underwear lying across the bedroom floor.
Think a little deeper. Ask yourself what values, standards and expectations you have that are not being met here. You’ll likely be attached to certain ways you believe things should play out. Are there assumptions and expectations as to how you believe people should conduct themselves and principles about how you feel you should be treated?
Having a strong attachment to these for yourself is one thing. Expecting others to have the same attachment is often what can make the hot water start simmering.
It is often when people behave in ways inconsistent with our belief systems and events unfold in discord with what we expect and are prepared for that we feel the most stress and anxiety.
Make a list of the common circumstances in different areas of your life that cause you to become anxious and stressed. Against each of these, describe your stress response:
What happens? What do you feel?
Now think about the values, principles and expectations you have attached to these. You’ll see you have a few options:
- Change my values and expectations
- Try to change other’s values and expectations
- Recognize and be in allowance of others having different values, standards and expectations
Reviewing how you react when you’re stressed and anxious, and identifying which of these three options above is going to best serve you, can greatly increase your ability to feel and be in control of calming your reaction.
You move closer to being able to choose how you want to respond as opposed to feeling helpless and the world is spiralling out of control.
2. Have Coping Statements on Hand
When you have a washing machine of chaotic thoughts churning in your mind, trying to implant thoughts that are the complete opposite of what you’re thinking and feeling can be pretty hard.
Not being able to do it can also add another layer of us feeling disappointment in ourselves. We feel we’re failing.
Having coping statements that you can literally latch on to to help you calm down in those stressful and anxious moments, can be particularly helpful.
Look at creating palm cards and just have three to five of these you can have in your pocket or in your purse. Here are 6 examples:
- Even though I am feeling this right now, I am going to be alright
- What I am feeling right now is uncomfortable. I won’t feel this way forever. Soon the intensity of what I am feeling will pass.
- I’ve survived these feelings before. I can do it again.
- I feel this way because of my past experiences but right now, I am actually safe.
- It’s ok for me to feel this way. My body and brain are trying to protect me but I am actually safe right now.
- Ah, here you are again, anxiety. Thanks for showing up to protect me, but I don’t need you right now.
Choose words and dialogue that feel true and accurate for you. Read the statements out to yourself and test how fitting they are for you. What feels more assuring, calming and right for you?
Make these statements your own. The aim is of these statements is to de-escalate the intensity of what you feel when you’re anxious and stressed.
Remember, you want to refrain from having blunt statements which feel or sound like they’re self-reprimanding because they won’t be pacifying in a positive way.
If you are unsure as to how to come up with statements that fit for you, look to work with a psychologist or licensed therapist to give you a strong start.
3. Identify and Develop Physical Anchors
You actually have within you resources to provide some of the most effective ways to calm yourself down in heightened moments you feel stressed and anxious. Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Peter Levine and expert in treating stress and trauma, teaches us how techniques which do this, such as Somatic Experiencing® can significantly help us calm down.
By learning to be fully present and applying touch to certain areas of your body (e.g. forehead and heart space), you increase your capacity to self-regulate. You also learn how to attend to and release your unique symptoms that your body has been containing in a way you have not been able to before.
Here’s one technique example:
- Get in a comfortable position
- Have your eyes open or closed, whatever feels most comfortable for you
- Now place one hand on your forehead, palm side flat against the skin
- Place the other hand, palm down across your heart space above your sternum… the flat of your chest area.
- Gently turn your attention to what you feel physically in the area between your two hands. Observe and just take notice of what you physically feel. Is your chest pounding? How strong are its beat and the rhythm? Do you notice any other sensations anywhere else between your two hands?
- Don’t try to push or resist what you’re feeling. Try to just sit with it and remain this way with your hands in place until you feel a shift, a physical one. It might take a little longer, so try to be patient.
You might feel a change in energy flow, a change in temperature or different, less intense sensations. Just keep your hands in place until you feel some kind of shift, even if gradual.
It might take you even 5 to 10 minutes but, riding this wave will help you to process what discomfort your body is containing. It will greatly help to release it so you gradually become calmer.
Purely cognitive exercises can be tough at the outset. Learning somatic experience techniques is particularly helpful because you’re engaging in exercises where you physically can feel the difference. Feeling the changes helps you increase confidence you can control and reduce the discomfort you’re feeling. You’ll be motivated to keep practicing and improving this skill you can take anywhere, anytime.
4. Move and Get Physical
If you’re not one to exercise, you’re robbing yourself of some very easy ways which help you calm down and reduce stress and anxiety responses. Many neuro chemical changes take place when you engage in exercise.
At certain levels of physical exertion, your brain’s pituitary gland releases neurotransmitter endorphins. When they bind with certain opiate receptors in your brain, signals are transmuted throughout your nervous system to reduce feelings of pain and trigger feelings of euphoria. You might have heard the term ‘runner’s high’.
For the last 20 years, University of Missouri-Columbia’s Professor Richard Cox has conducted research showing that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at reducing anxiety and stress levels than other forms of aerobic exercise. However, if you would rather slay dragons than turn up an F45 class, it’s essential you still find something that will physically shift you and alter your current mental and emotional state of mind, even just a fraction to start with. It’s 100% ok if this is not your cup of tea.
So in a day full of back of back-to-back meetings, what can you do?
If you’re sitting, stand. Change your posture and open your body up. Have a suite of discrete stretches you can do regularly as you deepen and engage in diaphragmatic breathing.
If you’re looking down at your desk at work and feeling increasingly stressed, look up and change what you’re looking at. Give yourself more than a few moments to decompress.
The main thing is to change your disposition from the one you’re in when you are experiencing anxiety and stress symptoms. You’re shaking it up to calm it down.
5. Transform Your Unhelpful Inner Dialogue and Its Energy
Learning cognitive restructuring techniques can truly work wonders in helping you recognize and re-frame unhelpful dialogue and negative critical thinking patterns. This involves a little preparation being transparent with yourself about what exaggerated perspectives you might ascribe to what’s happening when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.
When you open your email inbox and see a flood of requests which require more time and energy you have for that day, dread starts to settle in and the following comes to mind: “This is impossible. How can they expect me to be able to do all this? It’s completely unreasonable!”
Instantly, many other thoughts that reinforce this line of thinking as well as the emotional energy of your first conscious thought start unravelling. A 4-step process you can engage to calm the eruption is:
- Catch and notice that first thought you had. What was it? What did you think and/or say to yourself?
- Recognize that what you’re feeling and be in allowance of the initial intensity of whatever those emotions are.
- Breath deliberately a little more deeply and slowly for a few seconds.
- State to yourself: “Right now (in this moment) I’m feeling overwhelmed by this, however maybe I can look at what I can make good progress and headway with as a start from here on.”
Notice the language in step 4 is tentative, supportive, soft and not resistant nor defiant of what your original thought was. You accept your original thought, but gradually you become stronger at pivoting it. You’re expanding your growth mindset language.
It’s definitely worth working with a coach or trained therapist to learn how to tailor re-framing statements which can truly help you calm down.
We know, in our minds what we should do. When we’re in the thick of experiencing mental and emotional turmoil, it’s actually harder to implement what we know. In those moments, you’re unlikely to have capacity to think about what you need to do, let alone do it effectively to help you feel calmer.
The key is to practice so that when the storm is brewing, your toolkit and supplies are in easy access. You already know your safety drill well.
Knowing you have strategies and prepared processes up your sleeves helps you not only become better at calming yourself in amongst currently stressful situations. You have more confidence now to face more anxiety-provoking stressors because you have developed the resources to handle it.
How you invest time and energy into getting to know your triggers and thresholds will influence how effective these strategies will work for you. We’re not denying relaxing baths or regular massages are helpful, however these band-aid-like solutions don’t really confront the root causes.
If you truly want to turn your experience of your stress and anxiety symptoms around, dig deeper, do the groundwork and that which rattled your cage will quickly become a thing of the past.
More Stress Management Tips
- How to Cope with Stress When You’re Overwhelmed by Responsibilities
- How to Manage Anxiety: Sound Advice from a Mental Health Expert
- Anxiety Coping Mechanisms That Work When You’re Stressed to the Max
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com
|||^||Good Therapy: Somatic Experiencing (SE)|
|||^||University Of Missouri-Columbia: High-Intensity Exercise Best Way To Reduce Anxiety, University Of Missouri Study Finds|
|||^||HDPPG: Four Simple Steps to Reverse Negative Thinking|