Life Hack #11 – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Have you ever heard of the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff? This life hack is centered around the ideas that the book presents, as well as a helpful hint to living the best life you can. The novel written by Richard Carlson, PH.D. has written quite a few novels as well, including Handbook for the Heart, Handbook for the Soul, Shortcut Through Therapy, You can Feel Good Again, and You Can Be Happy No Matter What. These are all what most people categorize as “self-help” books, but I especially find Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff very introspective and very helpful in growing and learning about the world, yourself, and life.

The idea around the novel circulates around the idea that many of us, probably all of us, tend to overthink the issues surrounding us, and it provides helpful hinters for ways to make your life a little less easier to deal with, more fufilling, and most importantly, it is an interesting read. Honestly, it is a great way to find your humility again and find issues within your life that you would like to fix. Life is not about being easy, but finding ways to cope with these difficulties, or overcome your weakness, all while trying to enjoy every second of every painful, or happy, moment we are experiencing currently.

The novel includes 100 exerpts about how to avoid sweating the small stuff, because most of the things we stress out about are things that are so futile that they may not be as bad as they seem. Some of my favorite exerpts from this novel include the idea that we should think of our problems as potential teachers, and the idea of reading articles and books with entirely different points of view from your own and try to learn something. Life is a learning experience and we grow from all the challenges we face. Growing generally occurs during times of hardship, so correlating problems as potential teachers is a wonderful way of stating that our hardest times serve to be our biggest mentors. Similarly, in order to expand our horizons and become more open-minded, it is always incredibly useful to expand your own opinions and learn more about your points of view. Reading or analyzing a piece of work from the complete opposite point of view allows you to expand your mind and allows you to look further than your own personal views. You may even find out that you’re wrong, or may have a change of heart.

In addition, the novel includes a segment on being aware of the snowball effect of your thinking, whether it be negative or positive. I suffer from overthinking, and with the severe OCD, along with my other diagnoses I have, this chapter is very close to my heart. Due to my ability to overthink and spend too much time in my head, my thoughts can sometimes manifest into the most irrational states of mind and end up taking a very huge toll on my mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. I have even been put into a state of psychosis, as a result of overthinking. Being aware of the way you think and perceive things is important, in order to better handle the struggles or triumphs presented to you. Being aware of the way you think can serve as a very useful tool in the long run, as you can learn ways to think healthier or more realistically.

Another segment in this novel that amused me was the idea that one should imagine themselves at their own funeral. While this may seem almost suicidal, or unhealthy, thinking about your own funeral does not directly indicate these things. Knowing that one day you will have a funeral held for you may serve as a motivating factor to live your life to the fullest, as well as cast an idea of the kind of funeral you would like it to be. When you imagine yourself in your death bed, you do not want to regret the time you spent on Earth, because you sweated the small stuff too much. This therefore interferes with your ability to do the things that you truly wanted to before you died. Imagining your death to a certain extent places your priorities in perspective, as you do not want to be lying in your death bed full of regrets of “what if’s.” Your hypothetical funeral can serve as a reminder of the life you want to live and your priorities.

In addition, the book spends time acknowledging the importance of kindness, especially towards strangers, spinning it as a coping mechanism for dealing with stressors. It is important to always pass on as much love and kindness onto others, even when dealing with a hard time, or an uncomfortable situation. Kindness and love trump stress always, and sometimes we all forget this while we are cooped up in our own world. They also serve as a wonderful distraction to sweating all the small stuff in our lives.

The more you dig deeper into this book, the more you begin to realize how much growing there is still left for you to do and understand.

Generally, the small things we sweat, whether it be a breakup, relationship problems, family problems, friendship problems, financial problems – they are all a lot smaller than we generally tend to perceive them, as our own stressors become magnified when we are experiencing them. Of course, it is important to encounter stressors in order to fully learn how to cope properly and find the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how hard life gets.

Sweating the small stuff, however, teaches you how to measure the degree in which the situation should be prioritized as a stressor, which will serve as a lifelong skill, as you begin developing the skill to adapt and react to stressors more easily and productively.

While stress is one thing that no one wants to deal with, every single human succumbs to feeling of stress daily. In fact, we all generally wake up and quickly are reminded by our stressors, whether we realize it or not. So, make sure to cherish your sleep, as this is one time when you truly get to spend time not obsessing about your stressors.

These introspective thoughts and ideas manifest themselves into bigger ideas, allowing you to dig deeper into your own self than you truly imagined.

This novel has become one of my favorite novels, as I used to have my father read it to me as I was a child. It was not up until recently when I hit a wall, not sure to how utilize my life skills to keep growing and learning. However, this novel serves as a constant reminder that there is always room for us to all grow and learn. While this is a self-help book, I enjoy the aspect that it highlights that the idea of “imperfection” is relevant, as no one is perfect. As you begin to let go of these stressors and ideas you manifested, you begin to learn to not resist your problems and stressors, that your life will continue moving on.

Give this novel a read and keep it around, whether it be in your backpocket, your backpack, or just in your bathroom. It is a great read and helps keep life in perspective. Not to mention, when you feel like your life is spiraling out of control, it may help you find some grounding and serenity within your life. I have learned so much from this novel it is hard not to reccommend it to those around me, and though some tips may not be easily implemented in your life, they do help tremendously.

This life hack is all about avoiding sweating all the small stuff, as well as recommending that you purchase and read this novel.

Remember, “it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things. So many people spend so much of their life energy ‘sweating the small stuff’ that they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life” (Carlson, 8).

Do not lose yourself to the stressors of life, remember just like life is beautiful, so are you. Remember to look at the big picture and try not to get too lost in the maze of stress.


Aichan Tewahade

P.S. I have attached a link to the #1 New York Times Bestseller right here: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…dont

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