6 Things to Give Up for a More Fulfilling LifeNone By Corinne Keating
If your life feels packed to the gills with responsibilities and commitments, you may be getting more stress than joy out of your busy schedule. There will always be things we have to get done—whether we like them or not!—but there’s much in your day that you are in control of. Just as you might declutter your house to breathe a little easier without being surrounded by stuff, sometimes the path to a more fulfilling life is found with less, not more.
Try giving up these five things to make space for what's truly important to you.
Give Up: Negative Thoughts
Sometimes it feels impossible to avoid negativity when something goes wrong. It’s natural to worry about a broken furnace or your job security, but if you find yourself dwelling on all the what-ifs and negativity in your life, you need to find a way to get off that train of thought.
Try training yourself to do something else when dark thoughts pop into your head. Your replacement activity should be complex enough to take your full concentration and distract you from your negative thinking, so try tackling a creative project or taking a mental shopping trip instead.
Give Up: Clothes That No Longer Fit
These outdated or wrong-size items don’t just take up valuable space in your closet; they also consume a lot of your emotional energy. If you’re keeping old clothes because you’ve promised yourself to get back into a smaller size, you’re also holding on to a loaded guilt gun every time you see these items.
Let them go. Give away anything you haven’t worn in a year, and you’ll feel good about helping someone less fortunate—while letting yourself off the hook from your closet guilt.
Give Up: Hitting the Snooze Button
If you’re always whacking away at your alarm to get just five more minutes of sleep, it’s probably killing your morning mood. Your sleep has already been interrupted anyway, and you’ll feel much better if you just get up and get started with your day.
If you take advantage of your newfound extra minutes in the morning, you could squeeze in an energizing workout or beat the traffic during your commute. You can also make that drive more productive by listening to podcasts or audiobooks, using a meditation app, or organizing your daily to-do list with Siri.
Give Up: Toxic Relationships
We all have that one frenemy who manages to make us feel worse after a so-called compliment. If you have a toxic relationship or two in your life, dial it back. You may not be able to completely cut off aggravating family members, but you can maintain a polite distance without offering more personal information to just about anyone you choose.
Even if you’re in the same social group, turn down one-on-one meetings and gravitate toward others. Most friendships can be ended without a major confrontation, and you’ll feel better almost immediately.
Give Up: The Complaining Game
Of course it’s fine to vent about a problem or blow off some steam after a bad day at work, but you don’t want complaining to become a habit. For starters, it’s a big turn-off to your friends and family, who may not need your negativity to bring down their moods. Complaining also tends to bring you down—the more you dwell on the things you wish you had, the less you pay attention to what’s good in your life.
To break the habit, stop yourself mid-complaint and replace it by naming something you’re grateful for. You can’t do both at the same time!
Give Up: The Social Media Spiral
Before you balk, let’s be clear: You don’t have to go cold turkey and give up all your connections. Try cutting back by limiting yourself to just one social media platform and letting the others go dark for a week. You probably won’t miss them! You can also limit your time on social media to one or two sanctioned periods per day instead of checking it every time you get bored.
When you put down your smartphone, you’ll have more time for human interaction, reading, yoga—you name it! It can be a hard habit to break, but most people feel much more in control of their lives when they follow some common-sense screen-time limits.
Like any new habit, it takes time to embrace a new way of thinking or being, so don’t try to do all of these at once! Choose just one area to tackle, and get it right before moving on to your next challenge. Eventually, you can give up all of the things that make your life a little less fun—and in turn, you’ll have more time for all the things that matter most.
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