6 things you desperately need to let go of this year

Why carry around extra stress you don't need?

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  • Life is busy. And days can be hard.

  • But sometimes we make them harder than they need to be.

  • This year, focus on letting go of some of these things that are making your life more difficult:

  • 1. Your fears

  • Fear has a tendency of disrupting everyday life in a frustrating way. It takes away happiness. It takes away peace. And at times, it can be paralyzing.

  • It isn't always easy to do, but replacing fear with faith — with peace — will make life much more enjoyable.

  • Try

  • Find something that helps bring peace into your life. Whether it be meditation, yoga, therapy or connecting to your faith and spirituality, focus on it. Make it a point to spend more time on things that help you realize that fear is not in control.

  • 2. Trying to please others

  • Constantly trying to make everyone else happy is exhausting. It is important to love and to help others; but if you are unhappy because you are trying to do what everyone else wants you to, it isn't healthy.

  • Try

  • Be more honest with yourself, and with others. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself, and to explain how or what you really feel or think. Standing up for yourself isn't rude — it's important.

  • 3. Comparing and putting yourself down

  • With all the picture-perfect social media posts out there, it is easy to get caught up in feeling like your life (or your home, your body, etc.) isn't as good as someone else's. But the truth is, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The truth is that your life is beautiful; and every single person has difficulties and trials and messy days. The truth is, you have gifts and talents and so much to share with the world.

  • Try

  • Try being genuinely happy for other people. Consciously focus on replacing jealousy with happiness for them. Joy is a much better feeling than jealousy.

  • Instead of comparing, take inspiration from those you admire.

  • Take a break from social media if you notice it is affecting you negatively. Do a "cleanse" of profiles you follow if some of them aren't uplifting.

  • Take the time every day to realize what you are grateful for. Look at the people in your life who love you, and whom you love. Be grateful for what your body can do. Express your gratitude more openly to those around you.

  • There is only one of you in this world — and that's pretty cool. Develop your talents and find things that make you happy. Work on loving yourself.

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  • 4. Overscheduling

  • It's good to be busy. But if things get too busy, it can be stressful and unhealthy. It is difficult to do anything well if there are too many things demanding your time.

  • If you are so busy that you are constantly rushed and cranky, you don't have patience for those you love, and you feel it negatively affecting your health, you need to cut back.

  • Try

  • Take a hard look at everything that is demanding your time. Then prioritize those things, and cut out some that you can do without.

  • Maybe your kids have too many extracurricular activities going on. Or maybe those events you promised to help out with are adding too much stress to your already-hectic schedule.

  • Be realistic with yourself about what things are putting the most stress on you, and don't be afraid to take a break from them for a while — or permanently. Life is constantly changing; and your schedule can, too.

  • Be sure, however, to make a little time to do something for you that you enjoy. If your time is spent only on things you absolutely have to do, it will wear you down faster. You need some time to breathe. So pencil in play time with your kids (and try not to think about everything else you "need" to be doing), a little time for a workout, or dinner with a friend or family member.

  • 5. Gossiping and judging others

  • Along with not putting yourself down, is not putting others down, either. Why waste time saying mean things about other people? What good does it do for anyone — including you?

  • Every person we come across is dealing with hard things in their life — ones that we know nothing about. You don't know everything any person is going through; so don't pretend to.

  • Try

  • If people are gossiping about someone, don't join in. Instead, say nice things about people. Don't be a bully. Try serving someone instead of judging them.

  • 6. Taking things personally

  • It's easy to let hurtful things people have said or done linger, upset us and become stressful. Often, things weren't even meant the way we may take them. Or they were said because of something stressful the other person may be dealing with in their own life.

  • Try

  • It is easier said than done, but practice brushing things off more often. Don't let others determine your own happiness. Try not to be easily offended. And be forgiving. Holding grudges brings unwanted stress.

  • Letting go of each of these things takes practice and commitment. But the result will be a lighter, happier you. So why not give it a try?

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Kelsi graduated with a journalism degree and is passionate about the written word and the power it has to bring more good into the world.

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