1. Strictly Adhere to Time and Schedules
Being punctual is important. It’s polite. It’s professional. Having a friend who is consistently late to every event is difficult and a nuisance. But keeping to a schedule so detailed that you have written in the time it takes you to tie your shoes is going a little overboard. I’m exaggerating slightly but there are people who actually have every last minute penciled in. Keeping appointments and schedules is great, but if your life is dictated by them, then the point is lost. Schedules are meant to reduce stress. Too often people get caught up in the minutia of the day and forget to breathe. The unnecessary attention given to a number on clock is a burden. If you are one of those people who gets completely bent out of shape if you are running late, like I was (and sometimes still am), then you know just how much that anxiety can affect you. Life is too short to let an entire day get lost because of a few lost minutes.
2. Overthink Things
If you’re a perfectionist, you probably overthink. I, like so many others, tend “sweat the small stuff.” Like the rigidity deemed necessary by the “Time-Keepers,” the over-thinker can’t move on unless every little detail is exactly the way it is “supposed” to be. I am in no way saying that attention to detail is a bad thing. It’s very important actually. But there’s a difference between being attentive and being obsessive. The obsessive people have problems finishing projects or frequently turn them in late. And from experience I know it makes having fun a lot more difficult—especially when overthinking goes one step further. Catastrophizing. Sounds like a made-up word, I know. But you’ve probably done it. A person’s thought process quickly goes from “I made the margins too large’” to “my department is going to lose that grant and I’ll die…” This is a little exaggerated, but if you spend all your time making sure that the margins are precisely 1.25’’, you won’t even get the grant proposal completed.
3. Don’t Ask for Help/ Ignore Needs
This one can be simple or it can be complicated. The simple scenario here is like me, a just barely 5’ tall female not asking for help as I try to get a book down from a high shelf. With my luck those books would probably pummel me. But on another hand, this can be something like a working husband or wife not letting their spouse know they need help with the kids, getting the groceries, or just coping with stress. At least with my family, many of the “fights” arise because someone is tired and run down. This applies at work, too. Having not been in the working world very long, I’m not quite certain on the protocol, but I do know that if you are overworked, you can’t do your job to the best of your ability. Sure, sometimes you need to bite the bullet and buck up. But if it’s your pride that’s keeping you from happiness, put it aside. Sometimes strength is saying you need a hand.
4. Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk should be a concept that is virtually unheard of in this world, but the sad truth is that too often do we sell ourselves short. Whether we say “I’m too fat” or “I’m incapable,” with each statement comes the crippling effects of negativity. Every time such phrases cross our lips we are held fast in stagnation or pulled further down into despair. I understand it is difficult to be positive when there are so many societal influences dictating we conform to a certain standard. So even if at the moment it seems impossible to truly believe it when you say “I’m awesome and I know it” remember this: there’s a saying that goes something like “fake it till you make it.” If you keep telling yourself you’re awesome, eventually you’ll believe it and act like it.
There is nothing wrong with help people and doing favors. But there is a fine line between doing things for others and not doing things for yourself. It’s natural to want to lend a hand, but forgetting your own needs in the process can lead to unnecessary unhappiness and this can affect anyone of any age or status. Parents, grandparents, children, friends—anyone can find themselves in a position of constant pleasing. The degree to which this extends varies just as much. You can be the simple favor-accepting-person or the give-up-your-dreams-person. The thing is, regardless of where you stand, often times you do the things you do not because you truly enjoy it, but because you feel if you don’t you won’t be loved. It’s important to understand that you don’t (or shouldn’t) have to give up who you are in order to be appreciated. If you keep forgetting to love yourself, all the outside influences won’t mean a thing.
6. All Work and No Play
The last thing people do is forget to have fun. In this world it is a constant struggle to stay afloat. It seems that everyone has a double mortgage, three kids, loans, etc. and the importance of hard work has never been more emphasized. But like the people-pleasers and the schedule-junkies, the hard-workers tend to forget the importance of breathing once and awhile. Doing something extravagant isn’t necessary. All you need is a few minutes a day to remember why you work hard and why you live. If time is an issue, use your commute to in the car to belt out your favorite song. Do a crossword puzzle if that’s what you fancy. Dance while you brush your teeth. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your social status is, without the ability to cut loose, life is destined to be stressful and dull.