In personality psychology, there is a concept called locus of control. It refers to how much you believe you can control the events that affect you. If you have an external locus of control, in simple terms, you think everything happens to you out of chance or luck, and your performances depend on task difficulty. On the other hand, if you have an internal locus, you think it’s all down to your ability and effort, thus you are responsible for and in control of the outcomes of your life events.
It has been reported that people with external locus of control are more prone to stress and depression as they tend to blame others, panic when faced with difficult situations and have little sense of achievements. I find this particularly interesting because it suggests that our daily well-being relies heavily on our state of mind, our thinking and beliefs.
After learning about this, I did realize that 99% of my problems were created by me, my mind. Most of the things that stressed me out were actually the product of my thinking, fed on by my unnecessary constant obsessing while the rest was always deemed uncontrollable. In reality, I could have taken actions to prevent and solve my problems and direct my thinking in a way that brings me happiness. I didn’t. I made my life harder for myself.
If you wonder how exactly, here’s 8 ways life is made harder:
You might worry way too much about too many things that are often unimportant or practically out of hand, or especially things that have happened. Worrying might be beneficial if it motivates you to take action but it’s a dangerous practice if you let it take over your mind. It raises up your level of anxiety and interferes with your daily life, which might even affect your physical health. Before you worry about something, ask yourself these questions: Do they mean anything to you? Do they benefit you? Could you do anything to practically improve the situation now? If not, then it’s time to stop stressing yourself over it. Your mind has only so much space that it needs to be spared for all the positivity, happiness and things that you could actually do something about. Worrying only adds wrinkles to your beautiful face.
You over-analyse anything, everything. You repeatedly go through all the past or future events in your head. You have millions of ways to interpret a simple sentence. I have a news for you: all of these excessive mental activities don’t help you solve any of your real problems but they could potentially turn a small, trivial thing into a big deal and eventually cause severe stress. It might even cloud your mind from the facts and make the situation seem worse than it actually is, thus it might drive you to behave in a way that actually makes it a reality. Instead, you could take a deep breath, tell yourself that everything is going fine then focus on the present and calm your mind. Everything else will fall into its place.
Regrets are unavoidable. We make mistakes, we do things we are not proud of, shit happens. It’s all okay. But it’s not okay if regretting occupies all your thoughts with negativity and holds you back in the past. It’s for no good. Accept yourself and your mistakes as they are all what make you you today. Think that what you have done is what you would always do given who you were, what you knew and what you wanted at that point in time. Plus, it’s all over. You only have this present to take actions, to turn things around, so it is your place to be. Regrets would be better turned into a reminder that you could do so much better now.
Taking your responsibility for events that occur to you and blaming yourself for things that happened are two very different things. The former is active, positive whereas the latter is passive, negative. Taking responsibility leads you to take real actions and move forward (positive) but blaming yourself only stresses on the problems (negative) rather than the solutions (positive).
5. Be negative
When an event occurs to you, it’s neutral. It could be either good or bad, all depending on how you view it. When you focus on the negative side, your life will suddenly be overwhelmed with negative things since that’s all you see. You will act negatively towards other people in your life, which in turn reflects back to you. Instead, when you become positive, stop complaining and give people compliments, you will feel better about yourself, have more energy, attract more goodness into your life as you will start to see the good side of everything and people treat you nicely back.
6. Compare yourself to others
We all do it. We see people then we look at ourselves and compare what we have with what people have. Either it’s social media or in real life. Sometimes it makes we feel inferior, sometimes superior but there is one thing for sure: it never makes us happy. There is always something missing, not good enough in our life even though we have no idea what it is and why it is so important, or who we even measure ourselves up to. That’s the problem. Instead of trying to understand and sympathize with people, you judge them. Instead of accepting who you are and embracing what you have, you find the things that you still lack to stress over. This certainly doesn’t help you improve yourself but only gives you unnecessary insecurity. Meanwhile, you could simply shift the focus back on yourself and your own unique strengths, give yourself credits for what you have achieved and live life at your own pace. You’re good enough!
7. Keep toxic people in your life
Toxic people are the people who always put you down, overly demand from you, use you, pressure you and influence you in a bad way. For example, they could be an emotionally abusive partner. You stay in the relationship because of reasons like you have been together for so long it’s hard to break up while ignoring the most important fact that this person makes you miserable. A relationship of any kind, not just intimate relationships but also friendships or family relations, is not supposed to make you miserable. It’s time you prioritize your own happiness and stand up for yourself to cut the toxicity out of your life.
8. Neglect yourself
Neglecting yourself means not paying attention to your body, your health and emotional well-being. From what you eat, how much exercises you do or how you feel about certain events in your life. All of these things will make you constantly tired, short of energy, or depressed when intense feelings are bottled up and not properly dealt with. What’s dangerous about self-neglect is that it will prevent you from engaging in social activities, performing well at work, achieving your personal goals and adopting a positive outlook, which in turn makes you feel more insecure, inferior, defeated and leaves you no motivation or energy to take care of yourself.
I know it’s always easier said than done but if we don’t remind ourselves everyday first, how could we remember it and start doing something to change our life, especially when it all comes from your own mind? Personally, every time I see myself doing any of these things, I would instantly remove those negative thoughts and repeat to myself that I’m the captain of my life, I prioritize my happiness and thus I will make decisions that are good for me. When I tell myself enough, I will start to believe it and have a much easier life.