When you’ve got too much to do and you’re under pressure, it can be quite tempting to just look back and remember how life used to be when things were simpler. With so many things to do and things happening, you just can’t help but wonder how good it would be if you can just forget being stressed.
Whilst you can’t be completely free of stress, you can control your relationship with it. Here are twelve things you should let go of if you want to live a calmer life.
1Aiming For Perfection
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a perfectionist and wanting things done to a high standard, but you have to draw the line. When being a perfectionist is preventing you from making meaningful progress and frustrating you in the process, just stop. Good enough is usually good enough. Get the job done and move on.
2Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s only natural to look at somebody on the street and think ‘Hey, how come he’s got [this] or [that]. He must be so happier than me. His life must be way more fulfilling than my crappy life.’
Well, I have to tell you. You aren’t that somebody. You’re you. You most likely have a different chemical makeup, genes, attitude and a unique set of personal challenges that set you miles apart from the people you compare yourself to.
It’s not advisable to compare your life to someone else, especially those whom you perceive are doing better than you. It’s not an accurate or healthy way to gauge your own achievements.
Instead, try to compare your current self to the previous version of yourself. That’s a much more positive way to measure your own personal growth and progress.
3Believing You’re a Failure
Failure doesn’t really exist. At least, it’s not how you’re perceiving it.
Failure is a chance to learn. It helps you do better the next time you have the opportunity to do the same thing. It’s a chance to make things right.
Believing you’re a failure is sometimes a result of you comparing yourself to others. It happens when you start beating yourself up over things other people have achieved that you haven’t.
Instead of focusing on those things, be mindful of your accomplishments. When you start tracking your own achievements, you’ll realize that you’re making massive strides forward and you aren’t a failure.
Holding grudges does more damage to you than it does to the other person. When you hold a grudge, you feel tense, bitter and resentful whenever you have an interaction with, or about, that person.
Alter your perception and understand that the other person isn’t affected in the slightest. It’s only you who’s feeling that negativity and tension, so let it go.
5Allowing Yourself to Be Pulled Into Other People’s Chaos
It’s so stressful when somebody pulls you into their whirlwind of drama. I’ve got a neighbor who has a habit of calling me out of the blue for favors that usually involve his toxic relationships.
It almost always ends up with me being at the epicenter of his storm and it leaves me feeling stressed and uncomfortable. Not to mention, it also put my own plan on pause. After some time, I’ve finally learned how to say no and put up healthy boundaries about what I will and won’t accept.
Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into other people’s chaos.
See Also: The Courage To Say No
The disease to please is a silent killer. That might sound a little extreme, but I believe it to be true.
Pleasing people can kill your dreams, ambitions and freedom. There’s nothing wrong with helping people, but it crosses the line when you please another person to the detriment of yourself. This is different to being ‘selfless’. You can be selfless without feeling the need to please people.
Maybe you please people because you worry about their response if you say no. Or maybe you please people because you attach your self-worth to the praise you gain from others.
Think about it. Both reasons aren’t going to serve you.
7Letting Other People’s Opinions Affect You
Worrying about what other people think of you can only cause unnecessary anxiety and stress. I don’t know about you, but it used to trigger my anxiety, especially when I knew that somebody thought of me as strange, silly, or stupid.
I reached a point in my life recently where I started thinking differently about it. Now, I don’t feel anxious at all thinking about other people’s opinion of me or my life. I actually use it as a test to determine if I should let those people in my life at all.
Give it a try. Don’t try to stop people from being judgemental by altering your behaviors or activities to accommodate for them. Instead, live your life on your terms and don’t allow other people’s negative opinions control you. Never stop being you!
8Trying to Control Everything
Sometimes, to have a calm life, you just have to let go of trying to control outcomes. Enjoy the moment and be present.
A big source of our stress comes from wanting our lives to be in a particular way. In some instances, it’s our thinking that if we don’t reach certain outcomes, like getting that new job or landing that date, we’ve failed. But, in fact, we haven’t failed at all. We just tried to control the outcome.
Instead of spending all your energy on that, try shifting your perspective from one that is outcome-based to one that is mindful-based. Enjoy the process and be present.
Find enjoyment in the experiences and whilst outcomes are generally important for certain goals, try not to get caught up in them. They aren’t the be all and end all. You can always shift your goals if necessary.
It’s ok to take your foot off of the gas.
Society gives us the impression that we need to be ‘on the go’ constantly and that we can’t be ‘lazy’. Because of this, we feel the need to perform to other people’s expectations which lead to frustration and burnout.
Allow yourself to take a break every now and then. Stop what you’re doing and find appreciation in each moment. Rushing around is really not an effective way to get things done.
10People Who Drain You
Have you ever felt tired and drained after being in somebody’s company? How do you feel when you spend an hour with someone negative?
You go away feeling heavy and drained. These people don’t really mean to have these effects on you, but they just can’t stop moaning and complaining about their lives. In reality, however, if they were to actually analyze their lives, they most probably have very little to complain about.
Jim Rohn said it best when he said ‘You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. So, upgrade your social circle and let go of the people who drain your positive energy.
11Situations That Don’t Serve You
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it just didn’t feel right? You probably went ahead and stayed in it anyway though, right? I know I have in the past.
Listen to your gut as it is almost always right. By ignoring it, you’re allowing yourself to come into contact with some pretty stressful and, in more serious situations, regressive circumstances. Said another way, you’re at risk of letting yourself be part of situations that take your life a few steps back.
Learn to listen to your gut and follow your instincts. Only allow yourself to get involved with things that move your life forward. Try asking yourself if you want to get involved in something, if it’s not a ‘hell yeah!’ then it’s a ‘no’.
12Your Desire to ‘Fit In’
People spend their whole lives trying, and failing, to fit in. It rarely works and even if you do fit in, you’ll feel downright miserable because you won’t feel like you’re living your authentic self.
Instead of trying to fit in, find the courage to be yourself and realize that you’re fine as you are. There’s only one you, so find the excitement in that and exercise your right to be uniquely you. Let go of trying to fit in and the anxiety and low self-esteem that come with it.
How many of these twelve points cause stress in your life?
One? All of them?
I want you to start letting go. You owe it to yourself.
Although you can’t control the big wide world out there, you can control what happens in and around you. If you’re letting these things add to your stress levels, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
And guess what?
Letting go makes room, too. You’ll have room for more happiness, warmth and contentment.
I’m not encouraging you to take action, but I’m challenging you to. I want you to do this, not for me (how would I ever know?), but for yourself.
So, what one thing can you let go of today?
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Author: Russell Smitheram
Russell Smitheram learned how to ease the burden of daily stress following a health crisis that changed his life. Learn how you too can break free from the overwhelming pace of daily life. Start feeling happier and more fulfilled today when you grab his free guide '3 Habits That Turn Chaos into Calm' at LiveLifeCalm.com