Richard Carlson makes a living off of helping others to not sweat the small stuff with numerous books on the subject. I figured I could make a blog series out of it.
If you can truly absorb and practice a mindset that doesn’t sweat the small stuff, you can take a huge step forward toward a life of happiness and peaceful well-being. Adopting this mindset has made a world of difference in my life. I recommend Carlson’s books Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–and it’s all small stuff, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, and What About The Big Stuff?: Finding Strength and Moving Forward When the Stakes are High. His ideas are down to earth and incredibly practical.
This is the first article in a series of the best ways I’ve found to not sweat the small stuff and being happy with whatever I’ve got. Here are the others in the series
Being present is the #1 way to not sweat the small stuff. Being totally present in the now makes it impossible to pay attention to the swirling mass of small stuff which surrounds you. Read Leo’s article about being present for some great practical tips.
Surrender to The Chaos
This is one of my favorite strategies. Be the calm in the eye of the storm when all around you is a swirling mass of chaos. Yes, simplify what you can easily control, but maintaining an attitude of calm resolve in the midst of the hurricane is a powerful strategy. Be still in the background and just watch the chaos unfold in the foreground.
This is going deeper into mindfulness and being present. I recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are as an excellent guide to mindful meditation. Also check out Roger’s series on Meditation For Beginners.
Avoid Snowball thinking
Your negative thinking spirals out of control because you are suffering from the snowball effect. One negative thought leads to another which leads to another until you’ve created a giant snowball of feeling uptight and overwhelmed with negative or stressful thinking. The key is to be aware of when your thinking is snowballing and immediately stomp the snowball.
Let Others Be Right
Try being kind over being right. Just let other people win the small stuff. Who cares? Is the issue really that important? Do you really want to expend your mental energy on it? Would you rather leave the interaction happy or being right by “winning” over the other person?
Accept That Life Isn’t Fair
Life has not, is not, and will not ever be “fair”. It’s not supposed to be and you need to accept that fact and stop focusing on perceived injustices. Everyone is dealt a different hand. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or others and get on with living with what you’ve got and create the circumstances you desire. Some perspective on a fair life:
Everything Is Not an Emergency
Most people act as if life is an emergency. When we turn little things into emergencies we turn life into one great big continuing emergency. Pay attention to how often you get upset, frustrated, or overwhelmed, by what in truth is small stuff. Let it go and let yourself be surprised that everything will be ok just the same.
Pick Your Battles
This has become cliché but many, if not most people, seem to want to battle, fight, and confront everything. You don’t have to win everything. You cannot live a happy and peaceful life of well-being if you are constantly in battle. Certainly there will be times when you do have to go to battle, but pick them wisely and the rest of the time just let it be.
Life is simply one thing after another. As soon as you cross one speed bump you run into another. I don’t believe in psychic predictions, but I can make one prediction I guarantee will come true. Stuff will happen. So why get upset when it does? You know they are coming so just absorb the little speed bumps and keep on driving without giving it another thought.
Stop Driving Aggressively
The stresses of traffic are something that irritate most people who drive. You can’t change it and you never will. Why sweat it? Listen to some good music and relax.
Do one thing at a time. When you are trying to do a dozen things at once you are truly sweating the small stuff. That stuff does NOT have to be done at the same time. I promise the world will not come to an end. Aside from being more effective and getting more done, you will enjoy what you are doing far more. Your attention will not be distracted by all the small stuff around you. How NOT to Multitask – Work Simpler and Saner
Be Flexible – Things Change
Things often do not go according to your best laid plan. Stubbornly sticking to an inflexible plan will create significant stress in your life. In our fast-paced modern world, flexibility is one of the greatest skills you can cultivate. Were you planning to go out to dinner tonight with your partner and something came up to derail your plans? Big freaking deal! Are you happy now that you are upset and about it? Expect change. Plan for change. Go with the flow.
Accept That Everything Is Temporary
This is hard for most people to accept. We like to think that things are forever. You are not going to last forever. Your relationships, your children as children, your home, your job, your car, your gadgets or whatever are all temporary. Even every experience you’ve ever had is already over and gone. It was temporary. A great way to relate to the things in your life is to realize and accept the temporary nature of everything. Enjoy it while you can and then let it go, because go it will whether you like it or not.
To be continued…
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