The truth is that there you can choose to do nothing. But if you choose to do the things, the quality of your emotional life will improve considerably. The following is a list of the twenty-five things that cause a lot of stress and negative emotions. Although you may think they are obvious, don’t be taken in by the appearances of things – it is an obvious fact that sugar and smoking are harmful, yet most people do nothing about it.
Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. Do you really think you will think clearly again once you tap your fingers against your forehead? Do you really think that calling yourself an idiot will put you in a more creative mood? Of course not! Blaming yourself your mistakes will teach your brain incorrect behaviour patterns. When you make a mistake, ask yourself what you have learned from the mistake and think what you can do better, and just go on. Don’t look on your mistakes as mistakes, but rather as feedback.
Stop looking for happiness externally. Do you think that building an even bigger house will give you a greater sense of security? Do you expect a luxury car to give you more prestige? Do you think a BA or MA after your name will make you smarter or wiser, or that a few kilos less will make you look more attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex? This illusion makes you get accustomed to things and people you are bound to lose sooner or later. Capitalism has made people define themselves from the perspective of the external world.
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Stop thinking about others more than you do about yourself. Are the kids happy? Is my partner or boss satisfied? Your parents are not worried, because you keep phoning them on a regular basis? Your friends’ problems have been sorted out? Putting things off to sometime in the future leads to frustration. When Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse, asked a group of terminally ill patients about their regrets, most of them answered: ”What I regret the most is that I didn’t have the courage to live my own life and that I was just meeting other people’s expectations instead.”
Stop giving up when something goes wrong. Edison once heard that he had made more than 1000 mistakes before inventing a light bulb. He then answered that he had learned 1000 times what did not work. The first you do something, things are likely to go wrong. After all, it’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes.
Stop thinking that others will accept you. Are you worried whether your mother will ever accept your choice? Are you worried that some frustrated guy called you names online?
Are you worried that someone in the street gave you a disapproving look or that you did not get as many Facebook likes as you expected? If you think that by changing yourself under the influence of other, you will be accepted by others, you are very likely to discover soon that you have betrayed yourself to be thought of positively by people you don’t even care about.
Stop pretending not to feel this or that. Your boss is angry and, gritting his teeth, talks about the importance of keeping calm. A woman is told a naughty joke that made her laugh until she cried, but at the same time she covers her mouth with her hand because she thinks it is impolite for a woman to laugh at such a joke. Once you do something successfully, you tend to diminish its value (by saying you did it by chance or something) not to be seen as a show-off or a big-head. These social masks prevent you from showing your real feelings. As a result, you cannot cope with embarrassment, fear or a sense of guilt, or you block these emotions because do not want to feel them.
Stop limiting your potential by the levels of other people’s awareness. An artist or inventor is always a rebel that wants to change the world, as he or she cannot accept the status quo. When Howard Schultz (the builder of Starbucks) was trying to encourage the Americans to drunk cappuccino, people thought he was mad. Do not let your potential be limited by other people’s minds. Einstein once said: everyone thinks that something is impossible to do, and then someone who is now aware of that come and does it.
Stop waiting for something to change by itself. Do you really believe that your partner will come over and say sorry or that a particular problem will get solved by itself, or that a good job will knock at your door asking you to accept it? As the Jews say in their fortune telling, you should be the cause of things, not the result of things. A passive attitude will make you the object of other people’s actions and will make you depend on the external world.
Stop living in the past. Because you can’t change anything about the past and you can only change things for the future. If you accept the past, you will be able to draw valuable conclusions and forgive the harm you have suffered in the past. If you give up stories such as ”What if I had… ” (because you can never tell what would have happened otherwise) or ”If only I had…” (this leads to an idealised version of the past) and ”When I was your age…” (this makes it more difficult to come to terms with the reality), you will be able to solve many of your problems.
Stop expecting things to be easy. No relationship will grow without conflict. You will never build a sense of courage without a sense of fear. Without enemies, you will never learn to be tolerant, and without suffering, you will never understand what sensitivity means. Consuming your life in an easy and careless manner leads to building superficial relations with yourself and others, resulting in problems being avoided or swept under the carpet. No sailor will learn to sail if the sea is calm.
Stop spending your time with the wrong people. Your boss you need to butter up, or a customer whose unreasonable whims you need to pander to, or an uncle who is the only person to think that he is funny. Well, some people simply are a drain on your energy. You may love your family, but spend your time with the people who contribute to your development and make you feel happy. You are not a green dollar bill! You don’t have to be liked by everyone!
Stop destroying things. Criticising someone to show yourself that you are smart or intelligent, or making money at the expense of other people, or showing that you are unique in one way or another, or being a boor or humiliating other people with the use of force are all examples of destructive behaviour. You don’t have to escape from negative emotions by drinking, building a relationship with cigarettes or rewarding yourself with sweets.
Stop escaping from difficulties. More than 60% of the people watching reality shows do so because they don’t know what to fill in their lives with. Social media, obsessive using the phone whenever you have a minute of free time and compulsive eating are also examples of contemporary addictions people are getting into these days. You can’t avoid problems, difficult emotions and your own deficiencies. Instead, you can face them and take up the challenge to cope with them.
Stop comparing yourself to others. He is smarter and she was promoted before me. She did it, because she’s got a prettier body and is more attractive to guys. My neighbour’s kid has already begun to speak, but mine has not. Judging yourself by comparing yourself to other people… Does this sound familiar to you? Or perhaps it is time for you to ask yourself: Am I better today than I was yesterday? After all, no one will ever be competent than you in dealing with yourself.
Stop telling others just what they want to hear. If you’re a woman, you may be complimented on the dress you’re wearing although you don’t look good in it; if you’re a man, you may live his life in the blissful belief that he is a master in the art of love; if you’re a student, you may be told that no other student is better than you. A wise man’s criticism is better a stupid man’s words of praise, and being a ”claquer” will help neither you nor anyone else, because no person will ever be able to change without feedback.
Stop pretending to be someone you are not. Do you work for a person you genuinely hate? You agree to go out to the cinema with your partner although you’d rather stay at home? If you produced the statistics for the number of people working for employers they’d rather not work for, or the number of people in relationships with someone they don’t love, or the number of people who say something they don’t really feel or do things they don’t really want to do, the results could be terrifying.
Stop living your life the way others think you should. Your mother says that you should become a doctor; your teacher says you’re a born lawyer; and a new magazine has just published a list of the jobs of the future? It seems that many agony aunts have ideas about what you should do in your life. But none of them will ever put these ideas in practice, and it is you who will be disappointed. There is no other person who is more competent than you to decide about the way you should live your life.
Stop ignoring the importance of small things. A short text message can make your partner’s day a better one. A small gift for your child will make him or her happy. Compliments cost nothing, and watching the sun set will remind you of the beauty of the world. With your mind focused on the future, with thousands of matters to deal with, you lose moments in your life that are worth experiencing in a unique manner.
Stop exaggerating and ignoring things. A plane has got into turbulences and some of the passengers have grabbed their seat arms, although this will not stop the turbulences and the plane will probably not crash. Every day someone drinks a glass of vodka and says that he or she may stop doing it at any time, although this has been going on for a few years already. If you base your judgements on facts and the reality, you will be able to keep the right proportions and your judgements will be more accurate and the resulting actions will be more appropriate.
Stop putting things off to a later date. Do you really think that you are going to read all the newspapers you’ve been piling up a corner? Do you really think you will propose to your girlfriend one day, but not now? Perhaps you will want to have children one day, but then will be more of a grandfather than a father for them. People procrastinate for a number of reasons: fear of failure, the pressure of forcing yourself to do something, unwillingness to do something, sabotaging yourself, and avoiding intimacy.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Is it someone else who is making you feel bad? Have you suffered a lot of in your life and you are unable to change certain things in your behaviour today? If you lived in a different country or if the politicians in your country were better, you would certainly be successful. Is that what you think? Acting like a victim allows you to avoid responsibility, to control others, to find excuses for your own failures, but leads to nothing good.
Stop letting others run you ragged. You’ve lent some money to someone again, although he or she is not very like to pay it back? At work, you’re doing the work your colleague should do, saying that he is just learning to do the job. You’ve decided to do something your lazy husband should normally do? The ability to say ‘No’ is as important as the ability to say “Yes”, and you need both to be able to set limits.
Stop grumbling. Research shows that people like to socialise with optimistic people, so stop complaining and instead try to spend more time in a good mood. It’s healthier and helps other people. What’s more, it is said to reduce the risk of getting a cold!
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Stop controlling so many things. Your partner will change and become the person you want him or her to be. Drivers will not change their driving styles, and employees will continue to do their work as they have done so far. People are not necessarily willing to change just because others want them to change, and controlling others leads to negative emotions and teaches helplessness. Take care of what you really control.
Stop worrying so much. The fact that your partner is looking at another woman does not mean that he is going to cheat out on you. The fact that your boss is a bad mood does not mean he is going to fire you just because of his bad mood. The advice note in your letterbox does not always mean that your local tax office has sent a letter to you. And your kids will certain come back home safe and sound. Most of the things you are worried about are the result of your negative ideas about the future and will never happen.