AVOIDING EXCESSIVE CONTEMPLATION AND SOCIAL COMPARISON
If you ask most people what they want most in the world, they are likely to answer, “to be happy”. In our endless pursuit of happiness, it is essential to be able to identify the factors in our life that drain that happiness and take steps to eliminate them.
In this blog, we investigate two such factors. We offer some useful tips on how to combat our excessive need for contemplation and constant social comparison.
With life constantly throwing challenges our way, we often think that dwelling on a problem will eventually yield a solution. This is not always the case. Over-contemplating an issue can cause unhappiness, leaving us feeling drained, demotivated and unable to focus.
If you find yourself hyper-focusing on a problem, try these handy hints to assist with coming up with a solution:
- Start by distancing yourself from the situation. Take a bit of time to breathe, think about something else and return to the issue when emotions no longer play a role. Trying to make decisions when emotions are running high will cause you to make rash decisions instead of thinking things through systematically.
- When trying to find a solution, first ask yourself if things are within your control. Does the challenge affect you directly? What are the consequences and effects of said challenge? Are you able to change the outcome? If the answer is no, then you need to practice acceptance. Understand you’ve got to let it go. If the answer is yes, write down some steps to solving the problem and then put the wheels in motion. Reach out to a support system for advice and get them to assist you.
- Understand that sometimes things will go wrong. You are a human being and mistakes are likely, but what’s done is done. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You did what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense”.
- Train yourself to imagine each night’s sleep as wiping the slate clean. Wake up with renewed energy and motivation, leaving the previous day’s dramas behind.
In a world dominated by social media and status, it is easy to place unrealistic goals on ourselves, based on the lives of others. It would be prudent to note that often what our peers portray across social platforms is a glamorised version of the truth, but we know it is still tough to look at people living their best lives when we, seemingly, are not.
Truly happy people do not compare themselves with others. Remember, every single person lives a different reality from the next and constantly comparing yourself to those around you ensures you never feel content with where you are in your life.
Avoid social comparisons, with these questions:
1. What goals do you want to set for yourself and why? Make sure your goals are not motivated by your family, partner or colleagues.
2. What impact do you want to make? How do you want people to remember you? Was it for your money or status or how you made them feel?
When you find yourself becoming despondent by making comparisons, nip it in the bud!
- Avoid brooding. Put an elastic band around your arm and snap out of it when you catch yourself dwelling on negative thoughts.
- Divert your attention by doing something that brings you joy. Watch some funny clips, take time to read a book, or go for a walk.
- Verbalise your negative thoughts with someone who understands. Often saying things out loud puts them into perspective. Just make sure these conversations result in positive outcomes and not a merry-go-round of negative narratives.
Remember that there is always a bigger picture and what is bothering you right now, is most likely to be irrelevant in 6 months. Don’t waste valuable emotional currency on things that are out of your control. Does stressing make a difference or affect the outcome? The answer is no. Learn from your mistakes, apply a positive narrative and remember, there is only one you, don’t waste time trying to be someone else.
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