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Rules. When we think of rules, we tend to think of restrictions. But rules can provide a sense of freedom, too. They can help us stay on track and make decisions that ultimately lead to a happier, less stressful life. We all need rules to live by. But what are the rules that you should be following? In this article, we will discuss 16 rules that will help you live a happier, less stressful life!
What are rules?
Rules are a set of guidelines that one tries to abide by in order to create a certain outcome. In general, rules are meant to make our lives easier and less stressful. While they sometimes appear meaningless, there is usually a reason for them. They help protect us, protect others, and generally help us live a more peaceful life. We don’t always like them but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t like living in a society without rules, either.
How can having rules to live by help you live a happier life?
If you can identify the rules to live by that work best for you, you can focus on living a happier, less stressful life. Having rules to live by can help you stay organized and focused, and it can also help to prevent you from making impulsive decisions that may not be in your best interest and avoid making the same mistake twice. Additionally, following rules that you believe in can help to give your life meaning and purpose. When hard decision must be made, knowing your personal rules can make those decisions easier.
What are some good rules to live by?
In order to determine what your list of personal rules should be, you need to look at your life and determine what you value most, what life lessons have your learned, and what goals are you hoping to achieve. If you value honesty, you should have a rule about always being honest. If you want to achieve success in a certain area like, as a small example, playing the piano, then you may want a rule about not giving up or practicing. To help you out, I am going to share with you 16 rules to live by that will help you lead a happier life. And, hopefully, one that is less stressful, too.
16 Rules to Live By
1. Start each day with a smile and gratitude.
How you wake up in the morning sets the tone for your entire day. No matter how you feel when you wake up, a smile and some gratitude can go a long way in starting your day off on the right foot. The smile will help to boost your own happiness and tamper negative thinking. The gratitude will help solidify your feelings. Every day is a gift so take some time to appreciate it. I recommend keeping a small journal or notebook by your bed and writing down a few things you are grateful for every morning before you get out of bed. It doesn’t hurt to do the same at night, either, so you can end your day on a positive note as well.
2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Every day, when we step out our front door, we have a choice to make about how we will handle any adversity that comes our way. We frequently seem to run into situations with other people that make us angry, frustrated, or agitated. Usually when we’re driving. But the only person that this seems to really affect is ourselves. We have a choice about whether we lose control or not. One of my rules to live by is to put myself in the other person’s shoes when I feel myself getting angry. It doesn’t matter if the story I tell myself about the other person is true or not. The purpose is to allow myself to come up with a real reason they may have acted the way they did and use that to move past it and accept people where they are.
For example, you get cut off in traffic. Pretend to be them. Perhaps it was an accident. They were distracted by the screaming baby in the car or they just had a death in the family and aren’t thinking straight. We all go through things that mess with our heads and make us do things we wouldn’t normally do. Yes, they could just be jerks but how would that line of thinking serve you? Try to find a somewhat rational reason they did what they did and then try to forgive and move on.
3. Always say please and thank you.
If we want to live in a pleasant society, we have to our part. Saying please and thank you is such a simple way to show politeness and gratitude. It can brighten someone’s day and make them feel appreciated. No one wants to feel as if they are a servant. Being demanding and unappreciative is negative energy we just don’t need. Further, people are always watching. Listening. Especially children. We are a species that tend to act the way we see others act. That’s why large crowds can get out of hand fast. When people see others being polite, quite a lot of them rethink how they are acting as well. Let’s be good examples.
4. When you are wrong, admit it immediately and apologize sincerely.
Admitting your wrong or that you made a mistake is not fun. But do you know what is worse? Hiding it or, worse, doubling down on it. This causes some of the most unnecessary stress in our lives. Admitting you are wrong and apologizing immediately is uncomfortable for a moment. Not doing so can cause discomfort for much, much longer.
5. Try to see the good in every situation.
When we focus on the negative, we only see the negative. It’s hard to live your best life, a happy life when all you can see is the negative. You must train yourself to see the good in every situation. Because, I promise you, there is good in every situation. Even when it is hard to see. The door that closes may be what pushes you towards the door that is open. The heartbreak you endure may be what strengthens your other relationships. Even something simple, like being stuck in traffic, may be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we don’t even know what the good was until later on. We just have to trust that it’s there.
6. Appreciate the little things.
We all appreciate the big moments in our lives. But those can be far and few between. If you want to truly feel how fabulous your life really is, you must appreciate the little things. True happiness lies in little things. Getting the perfect cup of coffee. The quiet moments when you get to sip your coffee and breathe deeply and feel at peace. Getting a great parking space when you thought there wouldn’t be any parking left. Getting to spend time with your family or friends. All small things we take for granted most of the time.
7. Learn to be present in the moment.
And you can’t appreciate the little things if you don’t learn to live in the moment. We are too quick to move on to the next thing that we don’t stop to enjoy the present moment. Stop and smell the roses, if you will. On the other side of that coin is when we focus too much on our past that we don’t see the beauty of the moment in front of us. Life will pass you by if you don’t learn to be in the present moment.
8. Learn from your past but focus on your future.
The past can be hard to let go of. We replay moments in our heads over and over again. Some good, some bad. Wishing we could relive those moments or change them somehow. It’s a bad cycle to be in because we can’t do either of those things. All it does is serve to distract us from what is really important: our dreams and hope for the future, living our best life, our self-confidence, and our relationships.
It is important we learn from our past. A little analyzation can be good. But it’s time to stop overanalyzing, take what we’ve learned, and move on to a better life. Focus on the future and stop comparing it to the past. One of my favorite sayings has always been “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” It’s time to focus on moving forward.
9. Don’t lose sight of your values.
Your values set the tone for your life. The things that are most important to you are the things you will fight for. They are the things you will base your most important decisions off of. And we live a happier life when our values align with what we are doing. I prefer to keep a list of my values and the values I find important in a visible location. Some recommend keeping the list your wallet as a reference when you need to make a hard decision. It also helps to have a personal mission statement.
It’s important not to lose sight of your values. You’ll find that you start making decisions based on arbitrary reasons. The next thing you know, you find your life in a place you never meant for it to be. It then becomes even harder to walk away and get back to the life you want.
10. Always be honest – with others and with yourself.
Honesty is so important. Lying gets us in so much trouble. And the more we lie, the more lies we have to tell. It erodes relationships like nothing else. Now, I’m not saying you need to become the most honest person on the planet to the point you hurt other people’s feelings. It’s perfectly acceptable to find a polite answer to questions about a new haircut or an outfit someone is wearing. But if you know that an honest answer would save that person some heartache down the road or protect them, then you need to be honest. Lying is never the answer.
And it is even more important that you are honest with yourself. Honesty with yourself will protect you from making decisions that aren’t helpful to you. For example, being honest about whether or not you are good at something. We waste years trying to be something or do something that we are just not equipped to be or do. And if we can examine our lives and be brutally honest with ourselves, we can save so much wasted time and focus on living a happier life, keeping our self-esteem intact because we know we are doing things that actually matter to us and that we are good at.
11. Be considerate and live respectfully.
This goes along with saying please and thank you. Be considerate of others. Nothing frustrates us more than when someone is inconsiderate or disrespectful. But we can’t control the actions of others. We can control ourselves. We can only do our part. So, return your grocery cart to cart return, let someone out in traffic, and bask in the good feelings that come with doing the right thing.
12. Stop trying to control things and learn to adjust.
There is very little in this life we can actually control. We can control ourselves and that’s about it. Trying to control the uncontrollable will only bring you frustration and misery. Learn to let go, stay calm, and embrace change. Know that things are beyond your absolute control but that your reaction to those things can make or break you. There is always a way forward. You just have to adjust.
13. Treat your body like a temple.
Your most important relationship is with yourself. You should respect yourself enough to take care of yourself. Your mental state, your body, etc. This can be one of the hardest rules to live by. For some reason, we are not good at taking care of ourselves. We like food too much, we hate exercise, or we just don’t have the respect for ourselves that we deserve. We have to find ways to make it more important for us to take care of ourselves rather than not. Treating your body like a temple, giving it the nourishment it needs, will lead to you being comfortable in your own skin and higher self-esteem.
14. Give 110% to everything you do but also remember there is no such thing as perfect.
There is no such thing as perfect. Repeat that to yourself. There is no such thing as perfect. You should give 110% to everything you do, big and small. But you always need to remember that perfection is not attainable. But, by giving your best to everything you do, you can achieve so much more. Not only that but people notice when others put their all into each activity. It shows them you are willing to work hard and they are more willing to take a chance on you.
There is satisfaction in a job well done. It makes us feel fulfilled and worth something. We weren’t meant to drift through life aimlessly doing just enough to get by. We are built for more than that.
15. Dream big.
We’re nothing without our dreams. People who can’t dream can’t live life to the fullest. Take the time to dream big. Step out of your comfort zone and think about all the things you would do if you could. You may never achieve every dream you have but there is fun in exploring what fuels your soul and gives you great happiness. And after you figure out what your goals are, go for it. You will never know what you can achieve if you don’t try.
16. Let go of toxicity and negativity.
Banish the negative thoughts, stop worrying, and get anything, and anyone for that matter, that brings toxicity and negativity out of your life. You don’t need it. This can be hard to do especially when it comes to people. But your happiness and life depend on you focusing on the good and no one is responsible for your happiness but you. You can’t let others control it. That goes for your spouse, your children, you extended family, and your friends. Now, obviously, you can’t just go around dropping your spouse and your children, but you can find ways to not let them dictate your happiness.
For others in your life, sometimes you just have to cut the cord. A friend that brings too much drama or makes you feel like a horrible person is one that needs to be let go of. If you can casually cut off contact, do so. But some people may need a little more directness. Family members that bring you down may need a deeper conversation. As always, you can say these things we love but be prepared for pushback. Toxic and negative people don’t always like to go quietly. But, in the end, you will be much happier surrounding yourself with people who will bring you support and joy.
Your Life, Your Rules
It’s your life. And you create the rules that serve you most. The ones above are ones that I have found to be important in my life and allow me to get the most out my life. But every person is different. The only constant in your life is you. You may need different rules to get what you want out of life. You need to decide what areas you don’t want to compromise on. Pick rules that serve you and your goals for the type of person you want to be. And then follow them. Let them guide you and help you make decisions. Rules aren’t necessarily there to hold you back. They can, ironically, give you more freedom.