5 Ways to a Calmer and Happier You

5 Ways to a Calmer and Happier You

Chances are that people today will be juggling, amongst other things, a job or career, fulfilling obligations to their family, keeping fit and socialising regularly. However, such a fast-paced lifestyle does take its toll, physically and emotionally, on many. Take heart if you recognise that you are exhausted from constantly being, 'on the go' and yearn for some rest – there are ways to simplify your life and make your mind more resilient to the pressures you face. "How?" you may ask. Here are some suggestions to help you learn to get rid of unnecessary stress and create a calmer and happier you.

1. Move from being a perfectionist to self-acceptance.

The perfectionist is the kind of person who usually thinks in absolute terms like, "I must," "I should always," or "I have to." She or he rarely does anything that brings then satisfaction or enjoyment. As author Jacqui Manning says, "there's nothing wrong with having high expectations and wanting to do something amazing." When a perfectionist does not get a desired outcome, however, they begin to lose sense of why they're doing something in the first place and this causes them much stress. Ms. Manning suggests that if you are a perfectionist, you should ask the following questions each time you perform a task:

  • Is this task important to me?
  • Does this task make me happy?
  • In doing this task, am I getting closer to my goals?

The answers to these questions will help you accept that, when you perform any task, you have done your best and should be satisfied no matter what the outcome.

2. Achieve a balance between work and life.

Many experts say that you should always put time aside for yourself. But what does, 'put time aside' mean and how do you do it? The answers depend on what brings you joy. For instance, if you find it relaxing to exercise, you need to make it a priority, even if this means blocking out time each day to follow an exercise regime. Nevertheless, if you find that exercise has become just another chore, you will need to reassess whether this activity is doing you more harm than good. You may find that, instead of doing a 30-minute workout every day, a 90-minute workout three times a week is good enough. What is important is the quality of what you are doing rather than how often you do it. Activities like listening to music, talking with friends and reading a good book are bound to help you achieve that balance between work and life.

3. Find good in the bad.

Anthony Robbins, a self-help expert, tells a story in his self-help mastery programme called, 'Get the Edge': one day, he and his young son were stranded on a lonely road when their car broke down. It was a hot and humid day. Mr. Robbins decided that, instead of becoming angry and frustrated about how things turned out, he wanted to use this opportunity to talk to and bond with his son. The lesson to learn here is that Mr. Robbins minimised the stress he was feeling by making a choice to find the good in a bad situation. As it turned out, months later, his son suggested they go for a drive when he wanted to talk with Mr. Robbins!

4. Learn from your mistakes.

Another method of finding joy is to avoid dwelling on stressful experiences and learn to accept that they happened. Then, make a conscious effort to try and find out what you can learn from this experience. An often used example is when authors receive bad reviews for their work from reviewers with malicious intent to destroy that author's career. Editors will advise such an author to, "look at what was said rather than who said it," and never to repeat such mistakes in future publications. In addition, if you can cultivate an appropriate sense of humour when you make a mistake, you will break the pattern of generating unwanted stress. The message you give others is this: 'I acknowledge I made a mistake, but I'm not going to let it ruin my life.'

5. Get organised.

Are you stressed about how many times you have forgotten an important appointment, your mother's birthday, an anniversary or a simple dinner with friends? Experts claim that the human brain, 'stores seven things at once and, after that, it is overwhelmed.' Therefore, you are advised to write your tasks down in a daily planner or calendar to avoid worrying that you might forget them in the future. If you'd like to take this suggestion one step further, you can keep a planner for your personal life and one for your professional tasks. A word of caution: do not plan to do too many things in a short time because this will only cause you unnecessary stress.

If your life is currently very stressful, the changes you need to make, such as the suggestions made above, can be small in nature. But once those changes are made, you may feel an enormous difference in your life, and much calmer and happier.

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