7 ways to take life less seriously
Is there a chronic frown on your forehead? Do you often worry? Do you take life very seriously? These tips can help you take life less seriously.
# 1. You wonder why you take life so seriously
Exactly. What is your reason? Why you so serious?
I took life much more seriously in the past. This was partly because of fear, and partly because of perfectionism (a form of fear).
I noticed – probably when I was twenty – that I did not feel like I was good enough. And I felt I had to prove myself. My focus was on success, achieving goals, and convincing others that I was valuable.
That I was worth loving.
If you take life too seriously, you will often be afraid of something. You might be afraid to lose control, afraid you won’t be loved, afraid to fail or be on your own.
Review in your diary (or in a text file) and see if you can figure out why you take life so seriously. Once you know what you’re afraid of, you can work to reduce your fear.
# 2. Develop your playfulness
The opposite of taking life seriously is developing playfulness.
Playfulness grows when you get calmer and less scared. If you worry less about what people think of you, you learn not to worry and just enjoy your day.
Sometimes it means you want to ride the slide in the children’s playground (and you should). Sometimes it means joking, letting people smile and going through life with a smile on your face.
It also means that you are learning to relate.
By relativizing, you will realize that most things you are worrying about are not worth the effort of worry.
- Is this really so important that I’m willing to sacrifice my happiness right now?
- Could I handle this with a calm smile instead of all that frustration?
- What does this mean for my whole life? Is this something that will play a role in my life in one year?
# 3. Look through the words
People often say the one thing but mean the another.
If your mother is constantly criticizing you, you will feel hurt and frustrated. But if you look through the words, you can hear what your mother is really trying to say:
- I love you.
- I want you to be happy.
- I do not control you as before, and I find that difficult.
- I think you would be happier if you would follow my suggestions.
- I want you to respect me.
- I try to help you because I love you and do not know any other way to express my feelings.
Of course, everything becomes easier if everyone comes to the heart of the matter (“Mom, this is my life, thanks for your suggestions, but I need to do it in my way, I need you to accept this, but I love you, too”) – but that does not take away that you cannot look through these words.
You can learn this from people close to you, but also from your employer, your colleagues, and your friends.
It’s valuable because it helps you realize that people do not try to hurt you. All people do what they think is right.
Because everybody’s view of the world is different, the approach is always different. But the intention remains the same. You might be wondering:
Why would that person who treated me badly believe that this is right? Often it is because the other person is unsure and anxious. Everybody struggles with life in their own way.
For example, an arrogant person searches for your confirmation. He behaves as if he is superior so he can feel less bad about himself.
Can you imagine how tiring this would be?
In a lot of cases, the right response is not anger, frustration, arguments or punishment. The correct response is usually compassion.
Bothersome? – yes it is. But super interesting because it lets you be free and happy no matter how people behave around you.
# 4. Develop your mental flexibility
In daily life there are dozens of small decisions which do not make a fundamental difference to your experience.
- What are we going to eat?
- Where do you want to sit?
- What time do you want to leave?
- What color will we take?
Do you have the tendency to push your strong opinion? Experiment with flexibility. See that disagreements about these types of small decisions are ultimately unnecessary.
The more relaxed you become, the more relaxed people around you will become. The deeper you engage in a specific wish, the greater the chance that others will do the same.
Your relaxation makes everything more relaxed,which makes small decisions effortless and less frustrating.
“It does not matter to me – choose what you feel is best.”
# 5. Reduce stress in your life
Stress causes cramping and that is the opposite of a relaxed attitude of life. Read here: how to deal with stress
- Do you experience stress?
- Do you often lift up your shoulders and tighten your jaw?
- Do you make unwanted moves with your body? Shake your leg? Do you have tics?
- Do you sink in your thoughts? Like reliving memories or speculating about projects of the future?
- Do you walk quickly for no reason? Do you do things quickly? Do you eat without thinking about it? Are you always in a hurry?
These are signs that you suffer from stress.
Even if you do not walk with a clearly felt “knot in your stomach,” you can have a chronically elevated stress level. In fact, that’s how it is for most people.
Experiment with breathing exercises to relax. And work on your biggest stress resources. Give yourself more time to rest and stop lifting up your shoulders – you’re not a cat. Calm down.
Breathe in breathe out. Relax your shoulders, your face, your back. Put a smile on your face – even if you’re not in the mood.
So. Let’s continue the day.
# 6. Reduce perfectionism
Perfectionism makes you take your life very seriously. Why? Because, as a perfectionist, you unconsciously believe you are not good enough. You believe people will appreciate you only if you do everything perfectly.
The problem is, this never works. It causes you to sabotage your own life and convince yourself that you are worthless.
Perfectionism is like a heavy anchor that keeps you in your place. No growth, no development and certainly no self-acceptance or any sense of calm and fun.
As long as you are afraid to make mistakes, you will take life seriously. So work on your perfectionism – being prepared to fail (and thus making yourself vulnerable) is needed to progress.
Every time I publish an article, I make myself vulnerable because critical reactions may arise. I could do my best to write perfect articles that nobody can criticize. But you understand, that is impossible.
If I would stop and would never publish anything again, nothing would happen at all. Meh.
# 7. Realizing that more seriousness does not make the world more fun
Some things are very serious, that’s true. But that does not mean you can not approach them with light playfulness.
Fun, lightness and playfulness are seriously important. They make everything lighter and fun, and it often adds to our success.
In most cases, a smile and a little playfulness bring light. For where darkness prevails, you can be a light.
Problems can be really serious – but that does not mean you cannot laugh. Life goes on. And this will be easier with light, pleasure and joy..
So yes – do not take your life so seriously.
- It’s not necessary.
- You get wrinkles from it.
- You get stressed
- You are cramped from it.
- You make people around you cramp.
And you deprive yourself of the opportunity to live happily and freely. And that’s a pity. Because you only get this life one time.
So why would you spend your life with a chronic frown on your forehead and gray bags under your eyes?
Smile, play more and jump into the ball pit as soon as you get the chance. And do not care what people think.