So I saw this posted by Little Penny Thoughts on Facebook, and it just was what I needed to see. It’s addressing 5 main problems that a lot of us in today’s society face, and simply telling us to stop. It’s easier said than done, to stop something that has become habitual, but the first step is acceptance and willingness to change, or at least try to.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy girl and I have a lot of good in my life; an amazing family, a great boyfriend and a wonderful job. I have money, food on the table, nice clothes and a healthy social life. I am grateful for everything that comes my way and try not to take anything for granted; I always have a ‘life’s too short’ attitude. That doesn’t mean that the problems faced in society today don’t affect me though, I just try not to let it show.
Breaking this down in to the five steps stated in this picture, I’m going to tell you how they affect me, and why it’s a problem that a lot of us have to deal with.
1. STOP trying to please everyone
It’s just not going to happen. You can read my blog post from earlier this year, Not everyone loves Nutella (and it’s okay). where I talk about this. As much as I would love for everyone to like me, be happy with my decisions and be friends, it’s unfortunately not the way of the world. It’s something that affects me because I’m not going to lie, I take it pretty bad when I learn that someone doesn’t like me or has said something about me, or if I’ve done something to upset or not please someone. But if we learn to let this go and embrace being the best version of ourselves that we can be, being kind and understanding, then we can live happy knowing that we are doing something right. And if someone isn’t pleased, that’s their own problem. Being kind is a big part of this – because how can people say bad things about you if all you are is kind? Something that might help is Jamie Thurston’s Kindness: the little thing that matters most. Inside he explains how much of a big difference a small act of kindness can make, and it’s full of inspirational quotes.
2. STOP fearing change
Change of the season, change in a job, a relationship, a situation at home, who knows? The reality is that change happens and it should be embraced. I fear change a lot and as much as I believe it to be healthy, it does scare me. I don’t like the thought of ‘perfect’ relationships changing, I can’t stand to think of losing people I love and I fear that unpleasant change may come my way sometimes but what I’m learning is that change is just part of life and it can be accepted. Part of this has been through the Heath brothers book Switch: How to change things when change is hard. In the book they argue that we have to understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour. There are stories of amazing real-life turnarounds – whether it’s secrets of successful marriage counselling or the pile of gloves that transformed one company’s finances. It’s worth a read if you struggle with change.
3. STOP living in the past
This is a huge problem for a lot of us. Whether it’s something you have done, something someone else has done, a mistake that has been made, something that could have changed a situation, it doesn’t matter. We all have our own troubles and being alone with your own throughts really can be scary when they keep transporting you back to the past. I do this and it actually hurts my head sometimes. It ruins the current moment and it’s merely through the power of your own thinking. The reality of this is the past is in the past, and that’s where it belongs. What’s done is done, mistakes have been made, opportunities have been lost and it’s the acceptance of not re-living something that you arent’t happy with and moving on and forgetting is what’s hardest. A great tool I have used to help me with this before is Eckhart Tolle’s bestseller The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, a book in which he explains by living in the past actually affects how you live your days right now, because the past actually doesn’t exist; nor does the future. You are here, alive, aware, and the only moment that is ever truly present and real is right now. I’m going to read this again, or at least part of it. Because it made total sense to me. Read it!
All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
4. STOP putting yourself down
Okay this is a tricky one. It can be hard to stop criticising in our growing social media world of Instagram, Snapchat filters and superior make up skills! Admittedly of course I sit and browse for hours thinking ‘why can’t I have her legs? I want to be that tall. Why isn’t my stomach that flat? I want to live that lifestyle! I would give anything for her lashes. That hair is amazing! WHY DON’T I LOOK LIKE THAT?’ With those negative thoughts, more negative thoughts are manifested until you are looking at yourself in a completely different light. I know this all to well because it happens to me all the time. Once you’ve defined your idea of perfection, that’s it. Nothing you are will ever be enough. You don’t like your body, your face, your hair, your teeth. You’re not earning as much as people seem to be on Instagram and so you are a failure, you’re car isn’t as flashy, and you don’t have a job that they have. It’s a horrible feeling that grips you from the inside out. A small niggle that starts in your head can spiral out of control. A book that I have read twice in the past and that has helped is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In her series of books she explains how you really can change your life for the better, and helps you with the steps to take to change it.
“All stress begins with a negative thought. One thought that went unchecked, and then more thoughts came and more, until stress manifested. The effect is stress, but the cause was negative thinking, and it all began with one little negative thought. No matter what you might have manifested, you can change it ….with one small positive thought and then another”
– Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
5. STOP overthinking
This is the hardest one for me. Every small thought, the simplest thing just keeps growing and growing in my head until it’s fit to burst and I have a headache because of overthinking. The link in the modern day between stress and overthinking is scary and it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse. I overthink everything. If it’s something at work, over playing scenarios, what I could have done differently, what someone else could have done, I’ll think it through and over-analyse and think some more. I overthink things before they happen and become anxious, even simple things like getting a train; what time to get there, what platfrom, where to sit – what if I don’t get a seat? Where will I go when I get off the train? I overthink scenarios so much it can make me not appreciate the present moment and either be stuck in the past punishing myself for something I or someone else did ‘wrong’, or be stuck in the future worrying if I will be somewhere on time, do things right, etc. Sound hectic? It is. But I know so many of you feel it too. Overthinking is a huge cause of stress in our society and Fitness magazine have a great article about it you can click on here. It combines lots of tips to stop overthinking and stressing. This article has really helped break things down for me, as has meditation. By using the Calm app and book I am getting back into meditating which I have fallen away from in the past year and I also enjoy using guided meditations on Youtube to try and reach goals and improve my lifestyle. While I understand that meditation cannot solve something in your head completely and for some people it doesn’t help at all, for me it really works wonders and helps me focus on the present moment, breathe and learn to let go of feelings of negativity or anxiety. Go on, try it. You can get the calm app by clicking here. I’ve seen overthinking labelled as ‘paralysis by analysis’ and that’s exactly what it is; try letting your thoughts go and bring positivity back into your mind.
We should all work together one little step at a time to help to try and tackle these problems that the modern day brings.
Amber Zoe x