| Psychology,

The 10 Things to Give up to be Happy in 2020

Beatrice Lessi

1. Sleep Deprivation

We live in a sleep deprived society that leads us to bad moods, poor decision making, and a tendency to see things in a pessimistic way. We often feel stressed and blame all sort of things outside, forgetting to notice that we simply don’t sleep enough.  We think that going to bed early in uncool or lazy. Managers, politicians and anybody with a good job travel too much and suffer because of jet-lag.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, once was so exhausted that fell asleep at her desk and woke up in her blood: she had broken her jaw. After that accident, she decided to change her life, researched about sleep and wrote a book about it. If you want to read more, here is a pdf with the whole text.

2. Worry

Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn’t lead you anywhere.

I learnt about worry during adventure races: if you don’t have a problem, yet, why worrying about it. It would cost you a lot of energy and would probably stop you from finishing it.

Worry drains you for no reason.

When I was pregnant, I also noticed that, until the 8th month, nobody would offer me a seat on a bus or train. I wondered why they were so rude, until I understood people simply didn’t notice it. So I stopped worrying too much about my looks/pimples/wrinkles/belly, etc. People normally look at themselves (not much at you, or only very superficially), and worry about what you think about them.

3. Complaining

Before a long distance race, I make a point not to complain, whatever happens. It’s probably the best fitness and lifestyle tip I can give of all I’ve learnt in my sport life. I first “fake” a positive mind, and then quickly become positive for real – that’s how our brains work.

Whining and complaining cost energy, make you concentrate on negative things and, like worry, grudges, blaming and any form of ruminating, are a total waste of time. Also: nobody wants to listen to your complaints. They are not even interesting. Since they poison you and others, do try to avoid them to the max.

4. Junk (Junk Tv, Junk Food, Junk Reading)

You have in your brain what you put in your brain.

So watching stupid TV programs like Bachelor, reading stupid press like Blick, and anyway going for anything low cost and terrible quality (cheap clothes, fast fashion, cheap food) shouldn’t be allowed to get into or around your lovely body.

Buy less, buy quality.

5. Zurich Small Talk

I call it Zurich small talk, but it’s probably the same in most rich cities. People meet at a party and start competing. About holidays, about which school their sons and daughters are attending, and, if they are men/white/old/successful, about their managerial importance and financial opinions, rigorously explained in jargon. Anybody with a “normal” job makes it sound more glamorous with some fancy definition. It seems that the first contact with a new person is all about impressing him/her financially.

Other people don’t want to know how great you are. They would love to have a conversation. Switch the focus from yourself to them – they’ll love it, and will admire you too.

6. Beauty Surgery

I admit: this subject is very disputable.

Personally I have been thorn about it, in the past, and have done botox.

If you have a complex about a certain part of your body, do go for surgery. But it’s a fact that today we often have a complex for unimportant reasons and feel inadequate for insignificant details like thin lips, small breasts and other things people hardly notice about us.

Also, think about this: when you see a clearly “done” person, what’s your first thought? Negative:  “done”, “old”, “insecure”, “unhappy”, “fake”.

Now don’t tell me that, if you are done well, it’s different. My point is that, after a certain age, you can’t avoid being done badly, because you are too different from a young person, so whatever you touch will look unnatural. But I know there are opposite opinions about this one.

7. Goals Somebody Else Set

They have been defined Brules (Bullshit Rules) by Vishen Lakhiani. in his book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind . It’s ideas like “if you get a degree, you’ll be happy”, “when you’ll get that secure job, you’ll be happy”, “when you get married, you’ll be happy”, etc.

Don’t let society decide for you. It’s hard to understand what you really like, when everybody else seems to know best. But it’s possible and it’s probably something you always loved, since you were a kid. Try to find out and, once again, ignore what other people seem to know about you (in reality, they will be happy once you’ve found your own passions).

8. Clutter

I already mentioned it in the junk point: too many things – and especially junk things – are only a nuisance. They pollute, take space, cost, look bad, feel bad. You don’t look rich or better, if you wear a different (and often cheap) outfit every day.

Go for high quality. Buy less, and better. Ops  – I’m repeating myself!

9. Spying

Checking whom your partner is liking on social media, trying to spy Whatsapp messages, investigating, reading emails: a lot of energy for nothing. We already have so little time, in our busy society, that we should really use it for something more relaxing and productive than spying – and relaxing is also, ultimately, productive!

10. Holding Grudges

I am not the best to preach this one – I sometimes think back about someone who snobbed me/wronged me/criticised me and feel anger and wish for revenge. Well, that’s a bad idea. It’s again energy for nothing, makes you tired and nervous, and starts a whole cycle of ruminating.

The waves your brain emits when forgiving turn out to be the same of those of a monk who meditated for 40 years. Forgiving is not for the other person – it’s for you.

Bonus Point: Smoking

There are millions of reasons not to smoke, and not one reason to smoke – it’s as easy as that.

Happy 2020!