This may sound odd to hear a mental health expert tell you to stop striving. The truth is, the constant striving you do to have more, to feel happy, to be accepted, to feel good about yourself is wasted energy. As soon as you have achieved something, you automatically look for what else is missing. It’s normal human behaviour. We all need to acknowledge this before we can address it.
Fear of missing out
Do you ever tell yourself, “I’ll be happy when…?” Do you always feel as if something is missing? Do you have FOMO (fear of missed opportunities or fear of missing out)? All of these leave us with a restlessness, as if we aren’t complete. The irony is that when you spend your life constantly striving, you miss out on real life. You’re life whizzes by and there is no quality to it, it’s just a blur of busyness. As John Lennon famously said, ” Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
When you take time out from striving and just accept life as it is, right now…this is when peace of mind and contentment can enter. It will never arrive if you are constantly in “strive mode”. This sends a message to your brain that life is incomplete, that there is always something missing.
Appreciation for what you have
Get used to taking time out of your routine to just appreciate your surroundings. Get used to appreciating what you have in your life right now because this is the secret to happiness and feeling at one with the world and with where you are in your life. Sure, we can all want to improve and do better but don’t see that as the main event in your life.We are socially conditioned to strive but it is the antithesis of contentment.
When you can stop and enjoy life in the moment. When you can feel at peace with where your life is now – single or married, rich or poor…without judging it – that is when you will feel the pressure leave and you will begin to feel calmer.
Stop striving, learn to relax and chill. We are conditioned to believe that more is better. It turns many of us into perfectionists. It’s getting worse too – we now have social media to remind us of what we don’t have and this leads to greater levels of anxiety and depression.
Slow down, learn to live ‘horizontally’ for a while with spurts of ‘vertical’ striving. Constant striving will result in mental health and physical health issues.