5 unexpected changes that helped me to live more relaxed

Some things happen unexpectedly. The move to our new flat last May brought a few other indirect changes into my life that somehow are making me feel a lot more relaxed on a daily basis. So as much as yoga helped to find inner peace, it is good to know that it is not the only resource – in fact I’m doing very little yoga recently with the half marathon training on!

Without the need to do a mindfulness course, these are the main changes that have helped me to focus on the present, worry less and relax more:

  • Read more novels (and less self-help books)

Having no Wi-Fi during almost a month when we first moved, forced me to finally start a big hardcover novel that was given to me as a present last Christmas.

I’m normally a keen reader of psychology, self-help type of books, such as the ones I have reviewed here in the past. I learn a lot from them; they help me in times of confusion and bring clarity and new perspectives into my life. However, self-help books can also be very self-absorbing and lock ourselves into our own problems, not being able to see or think further that those.

Finding a good, engaging novel can be one of the best mental pleasures. The plots, the characters, the story become part of yourself and every time you open the book, it feels like turning the TV on to your favourite series.

I started with Cathedral of the Sea and have since continued with many more. Interestingly enough, I do enjoy historical novels, the characters hook you, but their surroundings also make you learn so much about our past and about how (tough) life was centuries ago.

 “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The (wo)man who never reads lives only one.” ― George R.R. Martin.

(And speaking of him, it is worth mentioning that a good series can do the same job! On that note, Game of Thrones Season 7 is on now! #justsaying – if you are not a fan of reading, maybe that can help you to ‘live a thousand lives’, the downside is that you can only do it once a week!)

  • Believe in the best case scenario

Quite often, my anxiety triggers because I’m a bit of an over-thinker. If I worry about something, I tend to focus on the worst outcome, on what can go wrong. I reckon this is part of being of being a controlling person, making sure we are ready and have a plan, making sure things will be under control – even if they are bad.  “Expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed” goes the pessimist saying by Sarah Dessen.

Although it is good to “be prepared”, I have often experienced that, after thinking the worse (and getting very anxious on the way), in the end the worst did not happen at all! So then, what about all that worrying energy wasted? All those stomach pains and sleepless nights were completely unnecessary, same as our suffering.

Fed up with worrying in advance, I have strategically decided to believe that the best will happen, rather than the worst. Or at least being more realistic and balance about future outcomes, rather than being just plain negative.

What’s the risk? Worst case scenario, I will have to deal with the bad consequences anyway, but at least I will live happier until then.

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” ― Randy Armstrong

  • No phones in the bedroom

This is a rule that my partner and I agreed before our moving day: “In the new house, no phones in the bedroom”. Said and done, I bought myself a good-old alarm clock, so I didn’t have the excuse of needing my smartphone as a morning alarm, and lived happily ever since!

Restricting the phone to the kitchen and living room areas has brought me so much mental peace and extra time. Not because Whatsapp or social networks bothered me, but because I could easily waste hours on them, with no real purpose. All in all, a great waste of time that I have no more 🙂

  • Less Instagram

Apart from having no Wi-Fi during the first month, the new flat doesn’t have a good spot or angle where I can really video myself doing yoga for the famous #yogachallanges like I used to do.

This means no “pressure” of taking a good shot, or posting on a daily basis. I don’t like forcing poses when I’m out and about, or it doesn’t feel very natural to me on the day. So in a nutshell, this means less Instayoga activity overall.

This unplanned change actually helped me to chillax about the ‘show-off’ part of yoga that Instagram represents at times. It also means a lot less Followers, but Hey! who is counting anyway, other than our yogi-egos?

  • Asleep by 12am

More books, less internet… The above changes actually helped to be more relaxed while at home, and finally achieving something I’ve always been pretty bad at: going to sleep “early”.

For some people 12am can sound late, but I could easily end up turning the lights off at half 12 (or 1am!) with no hesitation, wasting time and waiting until my eyes were almost closed. However, the consequences of this sleep deprivation were greatly suffered the day after.

Less phone time and more reading time means that I now get myself in bed at 11ish pm, disconnecting from the outside world, and being asleep by 12 is much more achievable. Having 8 hours of sleep makes such a difference to me and my energy levels, which at the same time helps me to be more active with my days. Win-win!

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