By Lauren Denos: 10/5/2014 (Mindset)

It is so easy to get serious in life with all the demands and obstacles that get in our way, but many times being this serious does not necessarily mean we are getting more done. In fact, many times we can lose our motivation by being so darn serious.

It's time to start lightening up. Lightening up, and even having a good laugh, can help you get more motivation. Not to mention, enjoyment back in your life! So, how do you go about lightening up? There are numerous ways. Endless really. It really is just about finding what works for you. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

#1 Laugh more. Find some good comedy CD's to listen to, or get a comedy app for your phone or online that sends you jokes every day. There is no shortage of comedy in the world, you just need to find what works for you.

#2 Listen to some music that makes you feel good. Music can lighten your mood. Anything from something upbeat to something calm. Even bagpipes could work. If laughing is what you seek, there is a whole genre of music dedicated just to humor.

#3 Get outside. Just the act of getting outside, being amongst nature and getting some sun and fresh air can go a long way with soothing your mind. It can make you feel more carefree as well. If you go for a walk or a jog, then you are even getting a little exercise in.

#4 Smile at people. Smiling naturally makes us feel good. When we smile at someone else, not only are we getting that feel good boost from our smile, but we also start to feel great because we get to help brighten someone else’s mood at the same time. A smile is free and can make a huge difference to yourself and others. Use it limitlessly!

#5 Be more flexible. Understand that things do not always happen just as we thought they would. We learn from every experience. Life is a grand adventure not a point A to point B trip. This does not mean you should not have goals but that you should be flexible in how you are accomplishing them. Sometimes we wind up getting something even better than we had planned.

#6 Let go of the need to be in control. You do not need to be in control of every little thing. This perfectionist or micro-managing trait can wreak havoc on you. Sure there are things you need to be in control of in your life, but ask yourself how many of the things you are taking on do you really NEED to be in control of. To take this a little step further, when you can delegate – do it! You have your strengths, and so do others. Let them do what they are good at. In daily terms, this could be letting someone else do your housekeeping, yard work, bookkeeping, dog walks, etc. If you like doing some of those – great! But, if you are someone who does them all from a sense of needing to or because you need to be in control of everything, you are continuing to make your life stressful. Let go of the control.

#7 Be self-reliant. Do not rely on others to make you happy. Many people only get into a light-hearted mood when other people facilitate it. You need to stay in control of your happiness. It is a choice, and if you are giving that choice away, then you are also letting them be in control over ruining your good mood.

#8 Spend time with people that make you feel good. Like we said above, you do not want to rely on people to make you happy, but there is nothing wrong with spending time with people that do make you feel good. You will notice there is a crown that drags you down and one that lifts you up, and while we cannot let other groups be in charge of our mood, they can influence it. If you are around a group that drags you down, it will take effort to keep your light-hearted frame of mind. On the flip side, if you are around an upbeat crowd, everything just flows.

#9 Do not compare yourself to others. This is a doosie. It is one of the biggest key points of every different area of your life: mindset, fitness, nutrition, success, you name it. It is easy to get down when you are comparing yourself to someone else who looks like they have everything so together. But, you don’t know the whole story, so don’t judge the situation just by what you see. This is especially true with social media. You may see all these great pictures and posts of someone’s amazing life, but you are only seeing the highlight reel, not the whole movie.

#10 Dance. This does not mean you have to go out to a dance club every night. This could mean you do a little dancing when you are getting up, while you are brushing your teeth, when you take a bathroom break during the day. It does not matter when, but dancing a little jig can lighten up just about any mood.

#11 Go play or go on an adventure. As we get older, we focus on work and forget about having fun and playing. It is something that makes life worth living, so put it back into your life. This could be taking a weekend hike, entering into a mud run, playing some board games on Friday night. Whatever you enjoy doing, start adding it back in. Live your life!

#12 Write in a journal. Every night, write down at least 5 awesome things that happened in the day. This may seem silly and simple, but it sure makes you start to realize how awesome your life is. When you start writing this, you will start paying more attention throughout your day of what you will write about later. By paying more attention to this, you will start to get more of the awesome moments in your day. It's a good circle.

#13 Laugh at yourself. This is a very good skill to have. We can say or do things all day long that are stupid. We can either look at these events and cringe and get even more serious, which usually includes berating ourselves, or we can laugh about it.

#14 See the humor in your situations. This is one that seems to be the more advanced one for people to get, but boy is it a wonderful one! Sometimes the things we go through in life are ridiculous. If we can look past the initial reaction of being upset, though, we can get a good chuckle at the absurdity and, in the very least, get more out of the moment. Most of the problems we see as so serious are really not that big of a deal. Let it go!

You may think that you need to be serious to get what you want for life, but… aren't you really working this hard so you can enjoy life? Why wait to enjoy life? Start with the everyday things you do to make this life more enjoyable! At the same time, you can also work towards your future. But, don't wait ‘til you have forgotten how to lighten up. Add it back in today!



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