Shifting your mindset can fix your problems, but doing so is easier said than done. The first step is identifying things that are holding you back from happiness and figuring out how you can change them.
Here are six perspectives to change so that you can be as happy as possible:
1. Expecting the worst from others
If we constantly assume other people act with negative intentions, the world will start to look a lot bleaker. Maybe the person who cut you off on the road is in a rush due to an emergency or just isn't paying attention.
It's impossible to know the true reasoning behind other people's actions, so it is much easier to assume the best of people, rather than to assign "assh*le!" to everyone.
We dread Sundays because Monday is coming, and then we dread Mondays. Why do Mondays have to be so supremely awful? Mondays are a fresh start. We are rejuvenated after weekend breaks and are able to come to our work with fresh eyes.
Dreading every small part of something as simple as getting up and going to work will result in you arriving in a much more miserable mood. Why do we dread things as simple as stairs so much?
Go up those stairs every day, and you'll have more oxygen in your body when you get to work and leaner legs when you put your pants on in a month.
The point is, the stairs aren't the problem; it's the filter through which we see the stairs. We see them as daunting obstacles. The more we can remove this filter of dread from the smaller challenges in our daily lives, the easier it will be to do the same when we face challenges at work or in our personal lives.
Our moods will also become increasingly better and will only benefit all of the relationships that surround us.
If we spend our days thinking, "Ugh, morning," "Ugh, public transportation," "Ugh, stairs," "Ugh, work," then by the time we actually get to work, we are exuding miserable levels of negativity. If we wipe all of that gunk away from our thoughts, we will immediately feel lighter and our days will feel ten times easier.
We won’t even have to be overtly positive about our mornings (believe me, I am no morning person), but the stairs are just stairs, and walking up them will be perfectly fine. Just remove the “ugh” of dread.
3. Focusing on every point, except the present one
Your ex, friends from home or school, an easier time period, where you're going next weekend, what you'll do after work, when you’ll go to the gym... When we're constantly thinking about the past or future, we miss the present.
The reason why time goes by in a blink of an eye is because we're never really in the moment.
When we're consistently in our heads, thinking of somewhere else, all of a sudden, it's the end of the day and we don't know where it went.
Consciously working to be in each moment would leave us with much more satisfying days. We would feel more fulfilled, even if our actions were all the same, because we would actually experience those actions rather than just going through the motions.
4. All or nothing, and other boxes to which we confine ourselves
Crazy-strict diets and irresponsible binges are just as bad. If we stop confining ourselves to narrow rules of what we can or can't do, we wouldn’t need to binge because we’d be allowed to have what we want.
Binging on processed foods is obviously not good, but feeling deprived when we don't have things and then guilty when we do is just as bad for our health and wellbeing.
This is the case outside of the diet, too. When we go through life, confined to these specific ideas of what we should be, we see others as we think they should be, too.
Just as expecting the worst from people results in a consistently negative attitudes, judging does, as well. How often do we judge everyone around us when we simply walk down the street, let alone the people with whom we actually interact?
When we start to see the beauty in people's differences, life in general seems a lot more beautiful — and easier. It's okay that your friend does things you would never EVER do, but the judgment we put on each other just closes all of our minds, blinds us to so many things and makes life much more difficult.
5. Set in your ways
Why do you take the route you take to work? When you take it, do you see it and what's around you or do you just end up at the destination and not really remember getting there? Do you actually want to be doing what you're doing, and do you like how you're doing it?
Though it's intimidating to face, you don't have to do anything, and you don't have to do anything in any specific way. Up through college, we are given directions and answers. We are told what we are supposed to be doing and to have goals in sight.
It is easy to feel stuck after this point because there are no longer directions or answers for what to do next; it becomes difficult to make the next move. You don’t have to feel that way. You don’t have to be unhappy in work, in your relationships, where you are or what you’re doing.
If you're working to save money for your “real dream,” are you really working because you're afraid to make an actual leap? Can you make that money in a job closer to what you want to do, or in one that won't make you feel miserable?
Stop doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing and think about what you really want to do in each moment. You hold the power to eliminate the fear of regret because you know that with each action you take, you consciously want in that moment.
Even with smaller, daily frustrations, there is often a solution you don’t want to see because you are stuck in your habits.
If you feel like you always do what your friends want you to do, pipe up and say what you want to do in the beginning. Or, put effort into actually setting up your plans. Pause when you are frustrated with any aspect of your life; take a step back and look at what you're doing.
6. You don't let go.
Sh*t happens. The worst thing you can do for yourself is not let go.
We do so many things that make our lives incredibly difficult, and they are in our control. There will also always be things that are not in our control. Look at the situation and realize that if it's not in your control, you cannot let it consume you.
If a bird poops on you on your way to work, will you let it ruin your day? Consider it.
Photo Courtesy: Luke Gram