1: Be mentally where you want to be: it’s all in the mind. If you are doing a boring job, then fill your mind with something that interests or challenges you. That way, you cannot be bored. Boredom is mental, not physical. (But be careful – it can lead to carelessness….!)
2: Distract and absorb yourself: if you are prone to worrying or getting agitated, distact yourself by focusing on something more positive. For example, instead of worrying, try problem solving. If you focus on X, you can’t then focus on Y to the same degree. So aborb yourself in something positive, which helps displace the negative. Watch a favourite film, read a book, go swimming, play with the kids….
3: Get a sense of proportion and perspective: how big is your worry or concern anyway? Is something that is in reality quite small being blown up out of all proportion? Is your (negative) investment disproportionate, way over the top? Maybe you have a half hour meeting due next week that you are already fretting about, and will do 24/7 until it arrives? How does this help? One idea is to take the ‘worry’, then mentally put it in a box, lock it in, and keep the key. This means you can take it out again any time you like, but for now it’s been ‘put away’.
4: Surround yourself with positives: be with people, and in places, that make you feel good. This is particularly true with friends. You can’t choose your family, or (generally) your work colleagues, but you can choose your friends. Why have ‘friends’ who take you down….?
5: Love what you do: and how you do it. Most of your waking life will be spent at work – so make sure you enjoy it. That not only includes the big picture – find, or at least seek, a job you enjoy – but also the little things….make your work environment pleasurable and pleasant.
6: Invest in your happiness: happiness ought to be a choice, not an accident. You need to work at it, and put it on your ‘to do’ list. What makes you happy, or feel good? Do more of it. What makes you unhappy, or feel bad? Do less of it….
7: Focus on your state: – as well as, or even instead of, your targets. Focus on being, as well as doing. It’s not just about achieving things, it’s also (much more?) about being someone. Switch from ‘doing’ (getting a promotion, earning more money, expanding the team) to ‘being’ – happy, content, fulfilled, challenged, relaxed. ‘Doing’ as in achieving things, may be out of your control: success may depend on others. ‘Being’ is entirely down to you….
8: Enjoy it all: after all, it’s all there is!! Focus on the good things in life, which we often take for granted. Count your blessings. There are many – millions – far, far worse off than you or me. So much of what we get from life depends on how we see things, and how much we invest. Look for the negatives, and invest in the negatives, and don’t be surprised if that’s what you get. Look for, and invest in, the positives, and you are living in a different (and better) world.
9: Learn: “there is no failure, only feedback”. Stuff happens, and some of it is unpleasant. Rather than dwell on the negatives, reflect on what messages the experience is giving you, and how you can learn from it. That way, no experience, however unpleasant, is wasted or entirely negative.
10: Manage your response: this is what, ultimately, it all boils down to. Whatever life throws at you, you choose how you respond to it (which, incidentally, includes ‘refusing to choose’ – that is still a choice…!) Most of the ‘difference’ in our lives is due less to what happens to us, than to how we respond to what happens. And one key element of choosing your response is learning to let things go. Don’t dwell on the past, on failure, on difficulty. Especially, don’t dwell on things you can do nothing about. So always choose a response that enables rather than disables you, that works for rather than against you. It definitely isn’t easy – but it is certainly worthwhile.