I’ve always appreciated considerably people who are upbeat, optimistic and generally unperturbed by the hassles of everyday life; people who don’t seem to take anything too seriously and are able to fully enjoy life as it is.
Such people aren’t very common though, and a lot of folks are actually quite far from being that way. I certainly wasn’t that way growing up and in much of my youth. But I admired this laidback life attitude so much that I put a lot of work into developing it and making it my own, which over time I did.
Nowadays, learning to take things less seriously is also something I often help my coaching clients achieve. Drawing from their experience and mine on this journey, I’d like to share with you 5 key insights for loosening up and enjoying life more.
1. Get Some Temporal Perspective
Whenever something pisses you off or stresses you out, it’s good to adopt a wide timeframe and ask yourself how much that thing will matter as time goes by.
How much will it matter one year from now that you said something somebody found rude and they got mad at you? Not much, I’m sure. What difference will it make 5 years from now that you made some banal mistake at work and your results were suboptimal? Almost none, I bet.
The truth is that on a large timescale, very few things truly matter. This is why looking at things in perspective helps you relax and not take minor issues seriously. It weeds out the unimportant from the important and helps you focus on what truly matters, so you don’t pointlessly strain yourself.
2. Look on the Bright Side Too
I know that looking on the bright side seems like a trite piece of advice. But despite this, it’s one of the most relevant pieces of advice for people who take things too seriously.
You see, one major reason why they take things so seriously is because they look at everything that goes wrong, and they lose sight of all that goes well. They see the cup half empty in any area of life, and this makes it hard for them to enjoy themselves.
So in order to relax and have more fun, you wanna consciously practice finding and acknowledging the positive in your life: your qualities, your achievements, your opportunities, the things you do well and the things worth being grateful for. It doesn’t mean to deny the negative; it just means to see the positive as well. Your happiness will improve significantly.
3. Laugh and Make Fun about It
There is something subtly powerful about laughing at a negative event and joking about it. It sort of tells your mind that the event isn’t that bad after all, since you can laugh about it. And once that idea has entered your mind, it will start finding reasons why, indeed, the event isn’t that bad. So you’ll detach emotionally and feel more joyful.
People who are optimistic and upbeat do this all the time. Some of them can laugh about anything, and that helps them immensely. I’ve seen people laugh even about the sternest situations, such as having a terminal disease. Because they have this mindset like: “This is what is; I can’t change it, so I might as well enjoy myself while I still can”. And so they do.
We have a lot to learn from such people. If they can joke about a terminal disease, I’m sure we can joke about the casual hassles of daily life.
4. Work on Overcoming the Deeper Attitude Issues
Typically, taking things too seriously is only a symptom of much deeper issues. Often people who take things too seriously are perfectionists and they can’t tolerate imperfection (their own or that of others). Many times they have visible self-image issues, and often they really lack self-confidence.
When having such issues, even a minor failure, flaw or perturbation in your life can seem like a very big deal and have a strong emotional echo, even though at some level you may realize it’s not that big of a deal. The only way you can change this effectively is to address these deeper issues and fix them.
Fixing these deeper issues will take some time and require proper guidance. I don’t have the space here to go into details on how fix them, but I’ve created a special presentation where I explain just that. In it you’ll learn how your confidence and self-image issues arise, and how to overcome them step by step. So go here and make sure you watch it.
5. Have a Rich, Active Life
People with a rich, active life rarely take things too seriously. They’re too busy doing stuff. They don’t have the time or energy to dwell on negative events and worry. In a way, you could say that worrying about minor things is a luxury, afforded by people with too much free time on their hands.
So an effective way to stop taking things too seriously is to fill your life with activities and keep yourself engaged. Learn, get a job, pursue your passions, find new hobbies, do some volunteer work, do something. It will keep your mind too busy to worry, and it has many other perks as well, like making your lifestyle more exciting and making you a more interesting person.
Life is too short to worry about stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter. But that realization is not enough for you to stop worrying. You need to take the proper steps to change your thinking patterns, fix the deeper attitude issues, and learn gradually to enjoy life more. It’s up to you to do this self-improvement work and make the most out of life.
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