Do you ever feel weighed down by life? Life is real- and that means struggles and challenges. We are confronted with negative news, broken promises, disappointments and heart ache. Life is messy and imperfect, and if we are not careful, we feel the weight of it all.
The result is depression, anxiety, addiction, overwork, and exhaustion. Perhaps even worse are the smaller but insidious little voices that nudge us with vague feelings of unhappiness or general malaise.
Sometimes it feels like life conspires to keep us down.
Maybe, just maybe, it is really the other way around and life is trying to lead us in a more positive direction and towards a happier place. If that is true, we have to learn to pay attention to different things.
Recently I spoke with an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in several years. Her first comment to me surprised me. “You look lighter,” she said, “and good, happier.”
My first reaction was to think that she was wrong. I’ve lost some weight, but I am hardly at my goal weight. Happier? Yes, but lighter?
Then I had an email from the Facebook ads manager I hired for my business. “I hope you don’t mind,” he wrote, “but I boosted that live video of you in Toronto. You have a really great energy.”
I thought about my friend’s comment. I don’t think she meant my weight. I think she meant my energy. And in that, she was totally right, I am lighter.
Think about what it means to be weighed down. Your physical weight is one way to be weighed down. You can also be weighed down by your possessions. Many of us have too much stuff. You can be weighed down by health issues, or lack of confidence, or a life out of balance. Not getting enough sleep weighs you down- have you ever felt lighter when you are exhausted?
My recent mantra is, Life doesn’t have to be so hard.
I made my life too hard for a long time. Overwork, lack of sleep, too much caffeine and poor eating habits led to stress and multiple health issues. I was wearing that anchor like a necklace.
I was working way harder than I needed to.
I’m not in favor of eliminating discipline or a good work ethic. I am not recommending that we become lazy or indifferent. But if you are feeling weighed down by the world, you can make a change. Life doesn’t have to be so hard! Really.
So how do you make it easier? Here are ten steps to traveling through life a little lighter:
1. Sleep enough.
2. Eat decently but don’t obsess about it.
3. Laugh, play, have fun. It isn’t frivolous, it is necessary. Make time for it.
4. Do work that you are good at and that uses the natural skills you have. We are happiest and work with the most ease when we are using our strengths rather than trying to remedy our areas of weakness.
5. Make sure your work is meaningful. You have to care about the things you spend your time on.
6. Be who you are. Get to know yourself and then be the best version of that person. Don’t worry about what other people, or society in general, expects you to be.
7. Give up martyrdom. People don’t really respect you for it.
8. If something or someone is causing you a lot of suffering, either make peace with it or let it go.
9. When you make a choice, ask yourself afterwards if it feels good or bad. If you pay attention, gradually you will make more choices that lead you in a positive direction.
10. You see and get more of what you focus on. Want unhappiness, negativity and strife in your life? Spend time with negative thoughts and negative people. Go ahead, be a drama queen and stir up some trouble. Or, choose to see the good in the world. Focus on what you want and where you want to be and take small steps that move you forward. It is your choice, and your result.
I am not exactly flying with pixie dust, but I am lighter and life feels pretty good. I enjoy my days. I like my work and more importantly, the people in my life. I feel like I have the potential to make a difference, and I want to rise up to meet that potential. That alone is enough to make me get up in the morning.
Do what you have to do. Get rid of some excess baggage. Clean out your stuff. Lighten your suitcase. Take off the anchor necklace. Powder yourself with pixie dust. There is more than one way to travel through the world a little bit lighter, but all of them will help you get to where you want to go.