less stress & more hap­pi­ness

Want to make your life that lit­tle bit hap­pier, eas­ier and more ful­filled? It’s not as hard as you might think...

Essentials (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Tips for an eas­ier, more ful­filled life

Are you guilty of chronic busy­ness? Women have a ten­dency to mul­ti­task, mak­ing it so easy to get caught up in fran­tic day- to- day life that you for­get to, well... live, re­ally. Here’s how to calm the stress-in­duc­ing clut­ter in your head and feel hap­pier.

Find a pur­pose

It’s fine not to be ‘driven’ all the time

– but if you’re so caught up in get­ting through your to- do list that you’ve lost sight of the big­ger pic­ture, your soul will be pay­ing the price. You know you’re liv­ing pur­pose­fully when you get up and look for­ward to the day ahead.

We let that slip as we de­velop tunnel vi­sion. ‘ If I can just get to­mor­row’s pre­sen­ta­tion over with, I’ll be OK…’ Lis­ten to your in­ter­nal guide, follow your in­stincts to move to­wards peo­ple, places and experience­s that ex­cite you. Find­ing what you love of­ten hap­pens out­side the con­text of a job or family so re­visit hob­bies and ac­tiv­i­ties that re­con­nect you to your en­thu­si­asm for life.

En­joy tiny plea­sures

Watch­ing ‘rub­bish’ TV, sit­ting in the gar­den or tak­ing an un­sched­uled break to read… We feel so guilty about the small plea­sures, we of­ten deny our­selves of them (‘ There’s no time’) or spoil their positive ef­fects with re­gret (‘ I shouldn’t have’). Re­alise that you’re not wast­ing time, you’re cher­ish­ing it. Spend­ing time do­ing some­thing that won’t achieve any­thing ‘im­por­tant’ may seem friv­o­lous but it’s es­sen­tial. Small plea­sures re­lax, strengthen and nour­ish you – they’re part of your ‘ well-be­ing bank’, fill­ing you up and giv­ing you the re­sources to go on.

Be de­ci­sive

When you make a de­ci­sion, whether big or small, use the same phi­los­o­phy as if you were buy­ing a new shirt – once you’ve found a so­lu­tion that works, don’t carry on search­ing ‘ just in case’ some­thing bet­ter comes along. It’s about not al­low­ing room for ‘ what if’.

Don’t try to make all wrongs right

Ever think how much bet­ter life will be once you’ve steered your dis­in­ter­ested twenty-some­thing cousin safely onto the ca­reer ladder, or when you’ve matched your de­serv­ing friend with the per­fect part­ner? We pour so much en­ergy into mak­ing wrongs right but try­ing to fix ev­ery­thing is a doomed struggle for con­trol. When it comes to the lives of oth­ers, it’s bet­ter to prac­tise what psy­chol­o­gists call ‘un­con­di­tional positive re­gard’ – that means com­plete sup­port, along with ac­cep­tance. Let other peo­ple get on with their lives. The more we let go of our need to con­trol, the more the things we per­ceive to be con­flicts will dis­ap­pear. When it comes to right­ing past wrongs, what has hap­pened can’t be changed – only your view of it can be. Re­play­ing your mom’s hurt­ful be­hav­iour from last Christ­mas over in your mind and wait­ing for her to see the er­ror of her ways is a waste of emo­tion. For­giv­ing and letting go helps you move on afresh.

learn to Ac­cept that you can’t please ev­ery­one

Does the time spent act­ing as a du­ti­ful daugh­ter to your age­ing par­ents mean you can’t al­ways be a cook, chauf­feur and PA to your chil­dren, as well as be­ing the first to pick up ex­tra du­ties at work? The struggle to please ev­ery­one is so self- de­feat­ing – there will never be enough of you to go around. Imag­ine for a mo­ment that there’s no one else out there to please. What would you do for your­self? Now make time to do it – even if it means oth­ers will have to cope with­out you. Think of your­self as a bank where every time you do some­thing good for you, you’re mak­ing a de­posit and every time that you do some­thing good for some­one else, you’re mak­ing a with­drawal. If it’s all with­drawals, you’ll soon feel the strain. Re­mem­ber the safety ad­vice on the plane – put on your own oxy­gen mask first be­fore help­ing oth­ers.

De­clut­ter your mind

When you’re in the habit of mul­ti­task­ing, some­times it can feel like there’s so much to do that it’s im­pos­si­ble to know where to start. That’s the mo­ment to stop and list ev­ery­thing on your mind into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of home and work; ur­gency and im­por­tance. Com­part­men­tal­is­ing what’s in your head will stop your brain whirring and help you feel more in con­trol.

See the best in ev­ery­one

This mantra makes you feel good about your­self and the world around you. The idea of ‘for­give­ness’ is im­por­tant here. If some­one cuts us off in the traf­fic, our egos be­come aroused and we feel anger or stress. In that mo­ment, we have a choice: do we lis­ten to our ego or to our higher mind? Choos­ing the higher mind, we’d wave them on and for­give. It’s not turn­ing your­self into a door­mat, but once you start, it feels so good you’ll want to try it in every sit­u­a­tion.

‘Let go of your need to con­trol and con­flict will dis­ap­pear’

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