If you are feeling down, chances are there are situations or physical items that are clogging up your happiness. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered in both categories below! From material things you can see, feel and touch, to the non-material things that you can’t immediately identify, we’ve got you covered with identifying the things that could be getting in the way of living a happy and fun life.

Avoid These Things Like The Plague!

  1. Gossip: If they talk about someone else to you, they will talk about you to someone else. We know this, yet sometimes, you want to be social or compassionate by listening to your friend, only to go down the rabbit hole of gossip, and feel terrible afterwards. Don’t give into the temptation, and cut the conversation short, while still remaining friendly.
  2. Drama/ Conflict/Arguing Just to Argue: There are some people who disagree simply to disagree, but there are others who take it to a whole new level- they are looking to pick fights with others, and then force their views on you, leaving everyone feeling alienated, and straight up awkward. This is a good time to exit the conversation, tell them you understand how they feel, and make your exit- fast! Don’t engage with people like this or try to be heard, they will only hear what they want to hear, and your attempts to be understood will leave you feeling hopeless and drained.
  3. Guilt Trips and Manipulative Tactics: Sometimes, no matter how much you do, it’s just not enough. And when you do help out, you are made guilty for not doing more. Other times, you don’t want to do something, and someone guilts you into helping them out, or carrying out their agenda. Do what you feel comfortable doing (even if it’s nothing!), and take the emotional charge out of the situation. As long as you know and feel you are contributing how much you want, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
  4. Obligation and Control: Life is too short to be controlled by someone or be subject to someone’s whims, regardless of whether they are family, friends, or your significant other. You are your own person, and you do what you want to do because you want to contribute, not just because you feel like you HAVE to. Examine your motives for doing what you do and re-evaluate where your time is going. Of course, there are people who you love helping out, and they appreciate you for your time, but there are others who do not have your best intentions. Be mindful of what you do, who you do it for, and how they respond.
  5. Fear and Approval Seeking Behaviors: Take a look at your schedule- what you do, and why you do it- are you trying to get approval and love from your peers? I had a friend who volunteered at countless organizations and paid for food and drink sponsorships out of pocket so that people would love and accept him, and speak well about him. While your situation may not be as obvious, it is still worth analyzing. This is downright uncomfortable, but it is worth examining. Ask yourself this question: If you didn’t do all that you do RIGHT NOW, would those people still be your friends? Are you trying to get approval from others? Does your self- approval depend on the approval you get from others? We have all been there, and as soon as you are aware, you can take steps to readjust and live your life according to your own terms. The sooner you look at what you’re doing, who you do it for, and whether it fulfills you, the happier you will become.

Items That Are Causing You More Harm Than Good

  1. Broken Items or High Maintenance Repairs: How many times have you bought a liquid cleaner with a broken pump that leaks everywhere, or a perfume bottle that just doesn’t quite spray right? It wastes your time and energy, causes a mess, and also annoys you, blocking you from good feelings. Get rid of it. Same goes for things with broken handles that are beyond repair- sometimes, it is not the handle on a suitcase, it is the entire suitcase.

Key Takeaway: Examine things that annoy you (doors that don’t close right, handles that keep breaking off, containers that leak or don’t spray properly). Think about whether you can fix it or replace it

  1. Things You Just Don’t Like: Years ago, I got a printer, and it was ugly, made weird noises, and splattered ink everywhere on occasion. I had another printer, but I couldn’t get rid of it because I thought I would be wasting the printer. I didn’t consider the ink, paper and time wasted, along with annoying feelings associated with the experience.

 Key Takeaway: We all have things we don’t like, but we need them- they are basic necessities. However, there are other things that you may not like, and you could either do without them or you just don’t need them. Take a look around. If you have an ugly bulky winter coat made to weather a snowstorm, and you live in California, chances are you may not need it (in addition to not wanting it). Consider donating it. 

  1. Things that take up space and cause stress: I have small cabinets. I like having things stored away and out of sight, but I like to know where things are at any given point. When I first moved in, I bought a giant toaster oven (I have no idea why, that was back when I was buying things just because they were on sale). All my items fit together beautifully, but this toaster oven took up so much space, and I never used it except for one time. I actually started looking for recipes to make with the toaster oven- I was changing myself to fit the toaster oven instead of buying things to benefit my life. This weekend, I donated it to Goodwill, and now I have space in my cabinet.

Key Takeaway: When you have to work overtime to accommodate the new purchase into your own life, you are working too hard, and the item is not really working for you, its creating more work. If you buy one of those giant apple peelers, and you don’t normally make recipes with apples, but now you find yourself looking for apple recipes just so you can use that contraption, YES, I’m talking to you…. (not judging, just talking)…

  1. Specialized and Customized Product Accompaniments: We all know about refills that end up costing more (usually for coffee machines and pens). There are certain items where the refill ends up costing more than the device itself. I have seen this with famous coffee makers that require specialized pods of a specialized brand, and often the cost of the pods or specialized equipment adds up to more than the appliance itself. Same goes for pens and their refills- sometimes, you are better off buying another pen rather than trying to change refills and risk making a mess everywhere and paying more. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy things with refills or special required equipment, just know what you’re getting into, and know what works for you.

Key Takeaway: You may have your favorite coffee maker with your favorite pods. If it’s working for you, that’s great, no need to change to make others happy. But if you find yourself struggling with those pods and lamenting on the cost of the pods and maintenance, its time to look for something else. If you have a favorite pen and need refills, look at the cost of getting a new pen v. using refills. Same thing for soap and cleaning items. 

  1. Things Where The Negative Outweighs The Positive: Flag the items that bring up bad memories and remind you of unwanted consequences. I had one shirt that I wore when I had a car accident. I wore the shirt again, and that time, my car wouldn’t start. I didn’t like the shirt enough to keep wearing it, so I got rid of it. The decision was a combination of factors, emotional and non-emotional. In the end, I was indifferent towards the shirt, and I didn’t want to risk any possible “superstitions” that could come true as a result of continuing to wear that shirt. I saved mementos and pictures for things I wanted to forget. I put them in the shredder and never looked back. I received a present at a family function where everyone went world war 3 on each other. The present was not useful to me, and it had bad memories and took up space. I got rid of it.

Key Takeaway: Pay attention to items that have memories that weigh you down. Things that remind you of failure or bad choices. Things that represent someone else’s memories or wishes, contrary to your own. Things that remind you of who you no longer are, or things you have outgrown. Bad memories, bad feelings, or associations with bad luck- if you’re in doubt, get rid of it! 

Tell us in the comments below- what items do you wish you got rid of that you are still debating about? Is there something you got rid of that you regret?

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