5 Things Must Be Eliminated to Attract Happier Life
Eliminate those things to boost your happiness
“We are mentally rich when we desire nothing.”
— Arati Prajapati
I used to believe that attracting happiness in life was having more money, friends, things, etc. No matter what I chose to do in life or whom I chose to be in life with, I hoped it would bring me some excitement and pleasure. I have never thought by eliminating those things, people or habits from my life, would bring me more joy.
I’m not saying we don’t need any money but what I’m saying is our money can only fix our financial problem which makes us happy but it can never fix our psychological problems such as relationships, anxiety, trauma which makes us truly happy.
The definition of our happiness is started by our condition since childhood and as we grow up, it grows stronger. We believe one of the paradigms “what makes other happy will make us happy too”. We get lost in translating what happiness actually really means. Once we don’t know what makes us happy, it’s easier to follow what makes others happy.
After getting a lot of information and experience that I had, I believe happiness is not about getting more but about letting go.
It’s not easy to let go of things that we are comfortable with. Think as an analogy, you clean your wardrobe and you find your favorite sweater that you have had for years, but it’s time to let it go and make some room for new things.
Here are a few simple things you can start to eliminate today, so you can attract more happiness in life:
1. Negative Information
Most people are reactive toward the news even they haven’t known about the fact behind it. In digital era, we can easily access more news because we want to stay updated. But sometimes overloading information that is dominated by negative content can influence our mental health and wellbeing.
Eliminate Reading and Watching Some News
It has been for a long time that I almost never watch the news on television or phone. But If I think it’s important then I will. I try to avoid it because I know it will change my mood right away. A recent survey from American Psychological Association found:
“More than half of Americans say the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss as a result, the survey shows. Yet one in 10 adults checks the news every hour, and fully 20% of Americans report “constantly” monitoring their social media feeds — which often exposes them to the latest news headlines, whether they like it or not”
Most of the news that we watch or read has a negative impact which makes us overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. We need to be more aware of the news we consume daily because it affects our mind and behaviour subconsciously.
Media will always provide more bad news because they know that we are more addicted to one negative information than a thousand positive information. A former professor of management at California State University, Loretta Breuning explains:
“The human brain is attracted to troubling information because it’s programmed to detect threats, not to overlook them. This can make it hard for us to ignore the negatives and seek out the positives around us. Our brain is predisposed to go negative, and the news we consume reflects this”
It means even media shows a lot of positive news, but our mind tends to be triggered by one negative news. So, it’s better to eliminate your news consumption and being aware of news notifications on your device, it will be helpful for your mental health. Our energy and attention are limited, so use them wisely.
Reduce Social Media Significantly
I know this one can be hard to eliminate but it is better if we limit the time consumption on social media because it has a huge tendency to make us becoming unhappy and depressed. According to study about topic “Association of Screen Time and Depression in Adolescence”:
“We found an association between social media and depression in adolescence. Based on the upward social comparison, it may be that repeated exposure to idealized images lowers adolescents’ self-esteem, triggers depression, and enhances depression over time. Furthermore, heavier users of social media with depression appear to be more negatively affected by their time spent on social media, potentially by the nature of information that they select (eg, blog posts about self-esteem issues), consequently potentially maintaining and enhancing depression over time”
Young generation on social media has a tendency to compare their life with others which causes lower self-esteem and trigger depression. Actually, the photos that they share on social media don't say much about their entire life and the smile they put on doesn't reflect everything about their inner world.
Be aware of your media consumption before it dictates your life.
2. Black and White Thinking (Extreme Thinking)
Black and white thinking is a tendency to think in an extreme way, some examples are below:
It’s “impossible” to pass my exam tomorrow.
I am “always” right about everything.
You have “never” agreed with my opinions.
I am not “perfect” in this job
Black and white thinking make you see things worse than they are supposed to be. It will avoid you to see things the way it is and it programs your brain in believing that certain things happen either is always good or bad. This mindset can be damaging especially when you label a person as either nice or bad.
Furthermore, black and white thinking will prevent you from having a meaningful relationship with someone because no one likes being judged or intimidated with a “judgmental eye”.
See thing as black and white will keep us stuck because we can only see an outside world based on our point of view. So, it’s better to step back and put things in perspective. It will help you to see things as they are, not as we want. Sometimes life is much more colorful than you ever think.
However, the truth is, black and white thinking is acceptable when you have to emphasize some points as an example writing a thesis or elaborating your statistic to support your claim. But in real life nothing is full black or white, just because you know someone is bad at something, it doesn’t mean he is bad at everything.
3. Living In The Past
“When you let go of who you are, you become who you might be.”
We all had done mistaken, got rejection, made failure in the past and that’s okay because that is what make us of who we are now. We learn from our mistakes that teach us so many valuable lessons about life and who we are as a person.
There’s nothing we can do to change our past. All mistakes we had done and terrible decisions that we took are part of who we are. Instead of living with the ghost of your past and attaching to your old self, accept everything that had happen and move on.
Look at your past as self-introspection to make you a better person today and be grateful about the journey you have been through because it is how you get here.
Leave your past behind and move forward.
4. Negative People
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
— Jim Rohn
The people around us have the biggest influence on our behaviour, attitude, and mindset. If you want to do the right thing to make yourself improving, don’t get around people who cannot lift you up because you are more likely to fail. The people you spend the most time with will shape who you are as Darren Hardy writes in The Compound Effect:
“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life”
The lesson here: you need to design your social environment to support what you are currently doing. If you want to change, change your environment first.
“Life would be different if I had what others have”. This limitation mindset forces us to compare ourselves with others and it is exhausting. This some common examples below:
I wish I could get a job like her.
I want to have the same vacation as my best friend has
I wish I could get married so I could have a happy life.
“Never Enough” is a sucked feeling that I experienced and it is poison for my (amazing) life.
We think and believe that we need what others have. However, after we have what they have, we still want what the others have. This cycle goes over and over again. This is called as Hedonic Treadmill in Psychology.
If you can’t be happy for what you have now, how you can be happy from what you will have later.
Envious feeling will never bring you excitement or peaceful experience despite you have everything what others have. We might not have everything we need, but we have enough comfort in life.
I leave you with an inspirational quotation to remind us about how we should feel grateful about the life we have.
“I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.”
— Mahatma Gandhi