Walking around dressed in a straitjacket is no fun. But people walk around, dressed in the confining garments of expectations, routines, and schedules, leaving no room for spontaneity or happiness.
Of course, living is a serious enterprise, and everyone needs to take life seriously. However, there is such a thing as being too serious for one’s good. Loosening up might not be a terrible idea when it comes down to it.
In this article, we show you how to live with a dash of sunshine. Sure, the clouds gather every so often to obscure the sun. However, it does not seal it forever. No matter how dire the situation is, the sun always makes an appearance. To increase your personal and professional well-being on a regular basis, also consider subscribing to the Assist email newsletter.
Identifying your straitjacket
If you have grown up all your life being overly serious, you may not even realize it. Uptight people are often the last to know that they are so. They carefully curate their lives so that nothing upsets the balance they’ve created. Hence, they appear genuinely shocked when informed of this fact.
“Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.”
You must understand that taking yourself too seriously has little to do with being humorous or not. It does not mean that you let yourself fall apart at the slightest opportunity or allow others to walk all over you. It has little also to do with being organized and painstakingly meticulous. When it comes down to you, taking oneself too seriously really refers to control. Thus, how tightly do you hold on to things around you? How flexible are you with changes? How comfortable are you with an unexpected turn of events? Finally, how willing are you to give up control?
Down to the specifics, here are factors in determining your “unseriousness” metric. How well you fare across these items will reveal how much of a control freak you are or not.
1. Happiness does not come free
It is said that the best things in life are free, happiness included. You should not have to jump through hoops to be happy. Thus, if happiness seems like a chore, a high that comes only after a tortuous process, something is definitely wrong.
2. “No laughing, sorry.”
If you believe that, for some reason, laughing is offensive, you are definitely uptight. Maybe yours isn’t so extreme. Perhaps it is that you don’t see the point of jokes. You generally think people should not be so carefree all the time. In fact, if you cannot remember the last time you laughed, then perhaps you are guilty of this. Life is filled with twists and turns that it is almost inconceivable that you stay for a stretch without finding something humorous. The problem, most likely, is you.
Defensiveness is a red flag when it comes to determining if you are uptight. Defensive people have their claws out at every point. They are dressed, ready for battle, even where there’s none in sight. Thus, they have little time for anything else. The graphic illustration here gives you a fair idea of how you look if you are always on edge. Deliberating looking for ways to defend yourself from attacks is a bad sign.
Top up your enthusiasm
“The abandonment of hobbies in your teens means that by the time you’re in your twenties, the extra-curricular cupboard is bare.”
You can learn to be happy: it is true. Just like riding a bicycle, as you learn how to find happiness, you get better at it. At some point, you become so good that it seems almost natural. You even begin to question the fact that there were times when happiness seemed like a far-off thing to grasp.
Here are a few ideas to contemplate to loosen up a little:
1. Be spontaneous
Do something intentionally fun and humorous, something outside of what you’d normally do.
“Just do it for fun.”
2. Stop analyzing jokes
Have you considered that you don’t find jokes interesting or funny because you overanalyze them? Jokes are ridiculous, of course. Picking at the specifics ruins the moment. It denies everyone the generous laugh they would have had save for you. So, the next time you are in the office, and someone makes a joke, just laugh. It isn’t everything that should have “a point.”
3. Be okay with the awkward
Folks clam up when they feel they are being judged for being awkward. They push others away and put up a tough exterior as a coping mechanism. The sad thing is that eventually, this becomes their default setting. If you want to loosen up, you need to learn to be okay with your awkward self.
4. Pause and restart
Any time you feel your enthusiasm and energy getting low, take a minute to recalibrate. Stress can suck the fun off of life; that is true. But you shouldn’t let it dictate your life. Instead of letting the stress of work turn you into a bore, take some time off to relax.
If you need guided steps on how to be a fun person, Miranda Hart’s Is it Just Me? is a great place to begin. Delivered in a conversational and in deeply evocative language, Is it Just Me? is wisdom nuggets meets cool. The writer shows you how to tackle even the big issues with a little bit of humor and sass. And you must be glad to know that you can find this book’s 15-minute summary on the Headway app to find out all the key ideas in no time.
Moreover, on the Headway app, you will discover hundreds of other self-help summaries to gain useful insights on your mental health. Everything you need to easily start your growth journey and heal.