Be happy: get your mind out of the way

How to get your mind out of the way for a happier life.

happy lady in a field of flowers with arms outstretched

Many of our problems stem from our own minds. After all, you must have heard of the saying ‘prisoner of your own mind’, right? So why not get your mind out of the way for a happier life? Here are five ways to do just that.

1. Don’t assume

When people jump to conclusions, they’re acting upon assumptions, rather than actual facts. This can lead to big problems when the assumptions are wrong. For example, if someone you know is grumpy, you might assume that they are mad at you. But what if they were simply in a bad mood, and it had nothing to do with you? You may even start making up angry stories in your head. Many relationships suffer, and can be destroyed, when assumptions are made.

2. Drama, be gone

You’re not the only one who’s running late. Or the only person about whom someone said something bad. Many ‘trivial’ things happen to many people. Blow it out of proportion, and you’ll have an unnecessary, time-wasting and energy-wasting drama on your hands, all just because of the ‘small stuff’. So get over it and move on, rather than making a mountain out of a molehill.

3. Stop being a perfectionist

Many times, good enough means exactly that. Perfectionism is a mental sickness that will destroy all your pleasure and send you in search of what can never be attained, using up all your energy and vitality. It also stops you from doing things, because you’ll worry you won’t do it properly.

4. Don’t take it personally

Have you ever read the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz? It’s a short and sage read. One of the agreements is “don’t take it personally”, because whatever someone says, whether it be nice or downright rude, it is never about you, but always about them. So, do yourself a favour and don’t get emotionally bogged down.

5. Don’t make yourself a prison out of rules

I’m guilty of this one. I have a lot of ‘shoulds’ that govern my life. These irrational rules take up much important mind space and make it hard to focus on what truly matters.

What energy-wasting and happiness-zapping mind games do you play with yourself? Have you thought about how you can change your mindset for a calmer and happier you?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    17th Feb 2016
    Tried to post before, but I didn't get to finish it. Hope this isn't a duplicate.
    It seems that mindfulness is the buzz word of the decade. A whole industry is growing up around it. Consultants, training programs,'s endless.
    And frankly if being mindful is minding that you've put on matching socks, who cares? If you're a Hawking or Einstein, or a poet or artist it's better if your mind is focusing on something a bit more meaningful than matched socks.
    Mindfulness seems to be trying to reduce everyone to the lowest common demoninator of unthinking citizens. Sometimes I think it would be better re-named 'mindlessness'.
    Happy cyclist
    17th Feb 2016
    Sorry, olderandwiser, I have to disagree. I try to practice 'mindfulness' as much as I can. I see it as experiencing the moment rather than just doing stuff on autopilot. Being mindful means enjoying the moment, not dwelling on other moments which have passed or may never happen. If you enjoy wearing odd socks, go for it. That has nothing to do with the concept of mindfulness as I understand it.
    17th Feb 2016
    Thanks for replying Happy cyclist. If you prefer to experience the moment rather than just doing stuff on autopilot, then you would no doubt be selecting matching socks. Someone less mindful might allow their mind to wander - and perhaps achieve something a more productive in the process?

    In my opinion great thinkers, be they scientists, philosophers, artists, inventors or whatever, often live the mundane side of their lives on autopilot, (hence the example of odd socks) while allowing their minds to wander, speculate, theorise and compose.
    17th Feb 2016
    No, olderandwiser, you are really off base here. Your idea of "mindlessness" is the same as meaningless meandering, wandering without purpose, having no decisive or definitive direction. Your moniker, then, is also a misnomer. If "great 'thinkers'" were like this we would still be in the Stone Age. You have really come come off the tracks, old boy. Not even in the ball park with your comment.

    17th Feb 2016
    Psychologists, pseudo psychologists, and all sorts of better living lifestyle pundits have made an absolute fortunes from books, articles, conferences, consulting sessions, etc on this topic when relaxing, being yourself and enjoying it, "chilling out", whatever is so simple to be self-taught - IF you take the time, patience, and common sense to do it. Live life, and yourself, and love it! Good luck.
    Polly Esther
    17th Feb 2016
    Yes Eddie, you are so right, as I posted a couple of weeks back about some subject I don't even recall now; I said enjoy your life, it is not a rehearsal.
    I remember the 'Fawlty Towers' episode when Basil had a couple of psychiatrists staying as guests, Basil felt the pressure. So damn funny.
    17th Feb 2016
    A little meditation, being grateful, and living in the moment all helps. Too many people have their heads in smartphones these days even when they are supposed to be enjoying their children grow up, being mindful is enjoying the moment before it disappears. Slow down and smell the flowers, like the photo shows.
    17th Feb 2016
    NO depression or mental problems for those who trust the Lord...NONE.
    17th Feb 2016
    Hallelujah! (arms aloft and waving in the air)

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