Fed up feeling you have to do more or be more? Sometimes the stress of trying to be perfect can feel overwhelming. The way to a calmer, happier life is to actually give up! Here’s how…
Give up: Living without purpose
It’s fine not to be driven all the time, but if you feel no meaning beyond the transactions and activities that make up your daily life, or if you’re so caught up in getting through your to-do list that you’ve lost the bigger picture, your soul will be paying the price.
Instead: Listen to your internal guide, follow your instincts to move towards people, places, activities and experiences that excite you. It’s easy to forget what inspires us, when we’re living day-to-day. Finding what you truly love often happens outside of a job or family. Revisit hobbies that reconnect you to your enthusiasm about life.
Give up: Feeling guilty about small pleasures
Watching “rubbish” TV or taking an unscheduled break in a coffee shop to read and think – we feel so guilty about these small pleasures that we often deny ourselves.
Instead: Realise you’re not wasting time, you’re cherishing it. Spending time doing something that won’t achieve anything “important” may seem frivolous, but actually it’s essential. Whether it’s a slice of cake or silly film in the afternoon, small pleasures help to relax, strengthen and nourish you.
Give up: Striving for a totally different body
Sure you can always get fitter, be healthier or build muscle, but the body and face you’re born with, will be with you for life. No miracle will actually wipe away the features you don’t like when you look in the mirror. Self- acceptance and love is the essential starting point on the road to happiness. It brings the relaxation response, which releases tension, and frees us to make a better, and more productive use of our energy.
Instead: Think about everything your body has done for you – the years of health and mobility, the children it may have carried, and see it through the eyes of those who love you. When you next start wishing it away, try saying this instead: “I appreciate my body and everything it’s done for me.”
Give up: Trying to please everyone all the time
The struggle to please everyone is self-defeating- there will never be enough of you to go around.
Instead: Imagine that there’s no one else out there to please. What would you do for yourself? Now make time to do whatever it was that you thought of, even if it means others will have to cope without you at times. Think of yourself as a bank where every time you do something good for you, you’re making a deposit, and every time you do something good for someone else, you’re making a withdrawal. If it’s only ever withdrawals, you’ll feel the strain quickly.