You breathe without effort.
Your hair grows without effort.
Your heart beats without effort.
Many things fall into place and happen without much effort.
As you live your life today, think of how you can make your tasks for the day more effortless.
The more effortless you live your life, the more energy you will conserve and have as a result of lowered stress/anxiety.
Everything naturally falls into place anyway.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
– Lao Tzu
Whatever it is you do in life, do it as effortlessly as you can.
Don’t force things to happen beyond what is naturally possible.
If we take the example of caring for a plant, watering a plant makes it live and grow.
But watering it more doesn’t make it grow faster.
Water it too much and it drowns and dies.
Recognise that there is an adequate amount of effort that is needed for everything.
Anything beyond is wasted energy.
And anything further beyond could result in more harm than good.
Apply the Wu Wei philosophy of effortless action.
“Get maximum effect from minimum effort.”
– Bruce Lee
Here is a practical relaxation tip for you to try right now.
As you go about living your day today, pay some attention to the breath every now and then.
It could be when you’re working.
It could be when you’re doing the dishes.
It could be when you’re commuting.
Anytime you notice that you don’t require 100% of your focus on a task, pay attention to your breath.
Notice the sensations of the breath on your nostrils, throat, chest or stomach when you inhale and exhale.
The breath serves as an anchor for you to be in the present moment.
It’s always there.
So use it and use it well.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
– Thich Nhat Nanh
Say this out loud (but not too loud):
“I wonder what my next thought is going to be”.
Then pay attention to what comes next in your mind.
As your mind tries to “search” for the next thought while you wait, there will be a moment of stillness.
You might experience a period of having no thoughts.
You might notice the sensation of your breath.
You might notice the sounds of your surroundings.
And in this stillness, in this space between each thought, you will find peaceful emptiness.
As the next thought comes up in your mind, ask again “I wonder what my next thought is going to be”.
Then simply repeat the process.
As you continue with this practice over time, the space of silence between each thought will become longer and longer.
The longer the gap, the lesser thoughts you will have.
“Every time you create a gap in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking, your light of consciousness grows stronger!”
– Eckhart Tolle
Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you’re tasked with a job you’re unsure how to get done, ask for help or information.
If you’re meeting someone new and getting to know them, ask questions about them.
If you’re inspired by someone and want to learn more about them, ask them questions.
Besides increasing your knowledge about a particular topic, research shows that asking questions increases your likability too.
Just don’t go to extremes and ask a million questions at once!
“Assume nothing, question everything.”
If you passionately engage yourself in a particular skill or activity, naturally you would want to get better at it and see progress over time.
It could be about improving at the piano.
It could be about improving sales for your business.
It could be about trying to lose weight.
Anything at all.
But there comes a frustrating point when you feel like you’re just stuck.
It feels like you’re not progressing.
It feels like you’re not improving.
It feels like you’re wasting your time.
No matter how hard you seem to try.
This is what we call a plateau.
And if you find yourself in one, there are just two things you have to do to get out of it:
- Assess your current practice to see if it needs adjusting (i.e. need to do more cardio, eat lesser, etc.)
- Continue putting in the time and keep at it
The most important part is making an accurate assessment because only then can you adjust accordingly.
Breakthroughs will eventually happen so keep at it.
Progress is never linear and we should always remember that.
We go through moments of rapid progress but we may also experience lengthy periods of stagnation.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
– Dale Carnegie
What gets you excited?
Think about the activities that you always look forward to.
It could be meeting up with friends for dinner.
It could be hiking.
It could be playing the guitar.
It’s different for everyone.
But find out what they are for you.
Keep a list of them.
And find time to do them regularly.
Because it’s important for you to spend time doing things you love.
“Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”
– Dale Carnegie
Are we truly productive or are we just busy?
Because there’s a difference.
And we have to be wary to not get caught up with empty busyness.
A productive person is surely busy.
But a busy person may not be productive at all.
Productivity is all about getting things done.
The more productive a person is, the more things they get done.
Being busy is being occupied.
It doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of tasks will be done when a person is busy.
It just means they’re occupied.
So it’s very possible to be busy without being productive at all.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy”
– Tim Ferriss
Entertainment plays a huge part in our lives.
People watch movies, TV shows, play video games, attend concerts and many more to keep themselves entertained.
And with good reason.
We want to relax and have fun when we’re not busy working.
Entertainment does all that and it brings people together too.
Think of karaoke sessions or gaming nights with your friends.
It’s so much fun!
When you get quality entertainment, your body releases endorphins and hormones that make you feel good.
And we definitely need more of that in our lives.
So ask yourself if you’re getting enough entertainment.
Find ways you can keep yourself entertained (responsibly) and look after your mental health.
Watch a movie.
Watch a TV show.
Read a book.
Play video games.
Go to open mic nights.
Go to sporting events.
Go to a comedy club.
Go to a concert.
Go to a food or shopping festival.
Go to a social event.
Spend time on your hobbies.
Try out an activity you haven’t done before.
“Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.”
– Nina Dobrev
We ask how others are all the time whenever we meet up with them.
“How are you?”
But have you checked in on yourself lately?
Take a moment right now to ask yourself how you’re doing.
How are you doing now?
Are you overwhelmed with life?
Or are you bored?
Do you feel like you have too many things on your plate?
Or do you feel like you should be doing more with your life?
Are you feeling anxious?
Or are you feeling numb and empty?
Take a moment to check in on yourself and find out how you’re doing.
Your mental health is important.
“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
– Nathaniel Branden