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Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy

Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy

Life is full of to-do lists, responsibilities and obligations.  In the midst of these commitments, we try to find spare minutes here and there to do the meaningful things in life, like spending time with our families, learning a new talent or even just relaxing. Unfortunately the meaningful things seem to be put on the back burner when other responsibilities pop up. That’s backwards. The memorable things and important people in our lives should be number one, they should receive a larger portion of our time.

When your life is so full of responsibilities and time requirements you become stressed, angry and unhappy. We have to make time for the more meaningful things in life. We do that by becoming unbusy.

Rule #1: Set Your Priorities

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James

Decide which things in your life are most important. If you are tossing too many things around, make a list of all your responsibilities and the activities and organizations you participate in. Put them in order from the most important to least important. Those that are most important need your time and attention; focus on them.

Making a list like this can be hard; you may feel that everything you do is of extreme value. Be cutthroat. Really evaluate the things in your life. Write down the value that each one has and why you are doing it. You will find that there are some things that aren’t as important as you thought they were.

Rule #2: Get Rid of the Unimportant Things

Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries. – Astrid Alauda

Once you have your list of priorities, it would be best for you to drop those at the bottom of the list or set them aside to do later. There are things that might be important but don’t need your full and immediate attention. If there are things that can wait until later, then do them later. Don’t procrastinate, just manage your time better.

Rule #3: Learn How to Delegate

How do I cope with stress? I clean and organize. – Sandra Lee

The idea that you are the only person out there who can do this specific job the right way is ridiculous. There are always going to be other capable people in your life. Give them a chance to prove to you that they can help. Some people have a hard time relinquishing power to others, but it’s worth it if you can relieve some of the stress you’re carrying.

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Rule #4: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There is no use worrying about things over which you have no control, and if you have control, you can do something about them instead of worrying. – Stanley C. Allyn

When things don’t turn out how you want them to or expected them, don’t let yourself worry about it. You have to be able to accept what happens. Life will throw things at you that you won’t see them coming. Those are the times that you can’t worry about the little things. Take it one step at a time.

On the flip side, when little things go right, acknowledge them and the hard work you put into it. Little victories are still victories. When you let yourself feel proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they are, you feel better about yourself.

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Rule #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out. – Thema Davis

This can be one of the hardest things for most people, especially when it’s something requested by a friend or family member. You know yourself the best. You know your limits and what pushes you over the edge. Don’t say yes just to please other people. It’s not selfish to think of yourself every once in a while; it’s actually healthy.

While there are stress relieving activities you can do, such as meditation, sometimes it’s not enough. To become unbusy, you should learn to get rid of the stress-causing things in your life. Hope the tips in this article will help you know how to get rid of that unnecessary extra stress.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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