We are surrounded by good advice on things like lifestyle, diet, and wellbeing. There has never been a time in history when we have been more empowerd to take control of our own lives. We are over-supplied with solid information and the resources to put our plans into action. But, look around you. Do we do it?

The more we are told how to be happy and contented, the less we seem to take the advice. Surveys and research show that we are better off, with more leisure time and greater social freedom than ever before, but you’d think this isn’t the case. We find so many things to worry about; we complain of having no time, too much stress, and constantly reflect on our own shortcomings. The use of antidepressants is at an all-time high and many people are chronically sleep-deprived.

Here’s what to do

I think that one of the problems fuelling this to a critical level is that we worry. There seems to be a mismatch between our potential to be happy and our willingess to accept it.  Since everyone around us is busy, or stressed, trying hard or doing whatever they do that tires them out and keeps them stuck, we worry about not fitting in.

Specifically, we worry because, if we were to take the advice and build a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle, we’d have nothing to worry about and not much we could talk about either. We’d have singled ourselves out as odd, a happy-clapper, crank or somebody living in la-la-land. And nodody wants that, so we conform. We stay stuck where we for no better reason than we don’t want to step out of line.

In short

In short, the advice is out there. We can all find out how to be healthier and happier (here’s a clue, health and wealth are subjective, not targets to be achieved). But we won’t take the advice, so we go through this pretence of trying-to-do-better-but-being-held-back-by-circumstances-and offering-excuses (“I can’t afford…”, “Don’t have time…”, “Have my responsibilities…” etc).

It seems to me that if we could only stop all the worrying, we’d be able to cut to the chase and prove to ourselves that our unhappiness is genuine and unavoidable. This would save us the need to make excuses for not improving our lives, with the added bonus that if we just get on with developing our unhappiness we’ll no longer have to explain to others that there are problems, because they’ll see them for themselves.

As you can probably tell, I’ve been worrying about this. So much so that I have prepared this list of Five Ways to Ruin Your Week, to save you the trouble and wasted time of worrying. These pointers will mean that you can get on with the suffering, without having to make up reasons and excuses about what’s holding you back:

Accept it, Life’s a bitch..

.. and then you die. No point in wishing and hoping, that way lies pain. Acceptance brings relief.

There really isn’t enough time

Not only will you not have time to do everything, others will notice that you are getting behind with your work or failing to do the things you’ve said you’ll do. Give up now, then you can relax.

Too many questions

Somebody is bound to ask you a question you can’t answer this week. You’ll feel inadequate or stupid, and you might put a lot of effort into avoiding the questions or evading the need to answer. There are more questions in the universe than anyone could ever answer, so you are beaten before you start. Avoid questions and worry about being a coward instead.

Success is for special people

No, I know this isn’t true, but you’ll probably find yourself envying others for their talent, prowess, skill, family connections, good looks, blah-blah… anyway. You are imperfect and probably fall way short of the ‘success’ norm. Stop kidding yourself, learn to live with your limitations and the stress will go.

Stop the protests

Nobody believes you when you say you don’t have enough time, are too busy, feeling ill or tired, are stressed or being treated unfairly. They’re more preoccupied with their own busyness, stress, lack of time, etc. This means there’s no point in talking about it and even less point in feeling hard done by. You get what you deserve, happy people know that, it’s the unhappy ones who worry.

Good luck with your week. Follow my advice and you might see some remarkable changes. And at least you won’t have to worry about things going wrong!




I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


One Comment

  1. Phil February 29, 2016 at 9:31 am

    It’s interesting (shocking?) that humanity does seem to revisit its collective wisdom at the same time as making the same mistakes. The gist of today’s thought can be found in Marcus Aurelius (Meditations) as well as The Sermon on the Mount and no doubt in other ancient texts. The problem is, perhaps, remembering or, rather, integrating wisdom into daily life as behaviour and not mere remembering.

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