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Mandy KloppersMandy Kloppers
videos concerning mental health issues

Life is a Struggle - or Is It??

Mandy Kloppers Updated: Jun 2nd 2014

What do you think? Is your life a struggle? Have you been conditioned to believe that life is a struggle? If you think it is, then this is what will unfold and if you don't, it won't. But is it that simple?

stressed businessmanI believe that your life is the sum total of your thoughts and beliefs about life. If you were taught that life will be a struggle, every experience you have will be framed within this thinking. Instead of being open-minded about what life throws at you, you will automatically be expecting bad things to happen. Of course bad things do happen but we can pre-empt negative occurrences, expecting them to occur-this is called a self fulfilling prophecy. Machiavelli is the philosopher of choice for people who struggle. Typical sayings such as "it's a dog eat dog world" or "you get nothing for nothing" suggest an attitude of negativity. many people do not realise how much their thinking affects the quality of their life. I'm not saying that life is always easy-life is a challenge. When we struggle against the natural rhythms of life, we create resistance and opposition and this is what leads to struggle.

With struggle there is no joy and rarely any reward. In fact, for some people struggle is the reward. They are a little lost without it. There is comfort in what you know. They struggle through life sacrificing their own needs and falling to bed exhausted every night. They justify this joyless existence by saying things like, "that's life". I have had clients who are incredibly successful but at the same time thoroughly miserable. They loathe what they do and what they have become. Often this is what they expected. "This is just how life is. You have to get on with it".

If you believe that life is meant to be a struggle ask yourself how this belief helps you. Does it make you happier? I doubt it. If you create unnecessary struggle and stress for yourself you are in the majority. As adults, many of us are passing stressful struggle onto our kids.

What to do

1) Identify struggle in your life

Is struggle are programmed response in your life? You may be responding negatively to life without even realising it. Forcing yourself to be a certain way or do a certain job because "that's just how life is", will never promote happiness.

2) Increase pleasure and fun

look for beauty everywhere. It could be the sound of birds singing or the sun shining. Treat yourself often. Plan a day every now and then you get to do nothing or do what you love doing.

3) Don't be so serious

laugh more. See the funny side of life. Laughter releases endorphins and relieves pain whilst boosting your immune system. Spend the evening at a comedy club or watch a comedy on television. Serotonin levels affect our sense of optimism, confidence and self esteem. Learn to lighten up.

4) Analyse your attitude

What is your philosophy in life? Do you see struggle and sweat as noble, natural and inevitable? Is the alternative being lazy and apathetic? If you have been raised on struggle, it may take time to reprogram your attitudes for a more carefree existence. Let go of the idea that relaxed people cannot be super achievers.

Stop trying to blow at the sails of your boat to get across the lake. Take the time to relax and enjoy the scenery. Sooner or later a natural gust of wind will take you where you want to be.

 

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist living in the United Kingdom. She runs a private practice (see http://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com for details) and offers regular advice and tips in her blog Thoughts on Life and Love. She specializes in working with step-families and relationships (especially relationships involving mental and emotional abuse) through online skype therapy sessions.

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