Why So Serious? The Key to Life May Just Be to Lighten Up — Here Are 5 Ways to Do So

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Chaos.

The more serious we are, the closer we get to that frightening word. What we mean by that is that life seems to get busier and busier as we get more and more serious. Which doesn’t make much sense, does it?

And don’t you miss the way your cheeks used to hurt from a day of frequent, involuntary smiling? Don’t you miss the way the sun felt when you decided to hit pause?

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There are times in life that you have to let loose, where you have to lighten up and have a laugh, ESPECIALLY at yourself. So, what you’ll find on this list are five ways to get started doing just that.

LIGHTEN UP!


Recreate History

Before we dive into how, check these two pictures out…

Matt McMillain va ABC News

Matt McMillain via ABC News

AND…

Matt McMillain via ABC News

Matt McMillain via ABC News

Okay, so you don’t have to go back and do it like the McMillain brothers did. But doesn’t it look like fun? Believe it or not, there are actually some other awesome benefits to such an exercise. Read through the steps to find out!

Step 1: Find an old photograph of a happy you. It doesn’t matter if the photograph was from five years ago, twenty, or fifty. Just two requirements here: 1) an old photograph, and 2) you’re happy in it.

Step 2: Recreate that photograph. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to go to the exact location of the initial photograph. Just somewhere similar. Nor do you need to have the exact same people in the photograph as before (as in: a relative that now lives on the other side of the country). Instead, invite those closest to you to participate — friends, siblings, spouses, children, neighbors, strangers, whomever.

Step 3: Take the photo.

Step 4: Compare the two photos. What’s different between them? What’s the same? How much have you changed? How far have you come to be where you’re at today?

As I’m sure you know by now, we can’t physically go back in time (not yet, anyway). But that doesn’t mean we should forget our past, or that we should dwell on it as something that can never be had. And, the last thing that needs to happen is fearing your past. Instead, embrace it. Have fun with it. Be proud of what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Lighten Up Lesson #1: Your past is not to be feared.


A Grin Goes Far

Have you ever noticed that a lot of us walk with our eyes down? No, seriously, we look at the sidewalk as if it were a wonder of the world. So what would we see if we looked up?

Each other, right? We’d see strangers and, more than likely, eyes would meet, and it would be followed by awkward silence until paths were crossed. But we have an idea.

Step 1: Look up.

Step 2: Lock eyes.

Step 3: Smile at stranger.

If you feel compelled to smile just like this, we suppose permission is granted...

If you feel compelled to smile just like this, we suppose permission is granted…

Step 4: Say, “Hello”.

Step 5: Continue walking.

Sure, maybe every now and then your smile and, “Hello,” won’t be returned, but trust us when we say that the vast majority of people will return the sentiment. See, we don’t give strangers enough credit — they can have a great impact on our day.

Lighten Up Lesson #2: Trust in the idea of reciprocity.


Let Your Child Dress You

Moms everywhere: have you ever considered letting your child pick out your clothes for the day?

If you answered, “Yes“: How awesome of an experience was it!?

If you answered, “No“: What are you waiting for!?

Recently, editor and entrepreneur Summer Bellessa took to Instagram to show how her three-year-old son Rockwell styled her.

It didn’t stop there though…

And finally, on Rockwell’s last day…

You’re probably thinking…

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what?”

Among other things, Summer said that she and Rockwell’s experience was great for the both of them. Not only was she able to see the way that Rockwell’s mind worked through completing such a task, but she found herself smiling at herself often, even hours after the fact. Why? Because she wasn’t taking herself that seriously.

That’s a trap that too often we fall into — taking ourselves too seriously. And we don’t need to. Sometimes, we just need to own our goofiness!

Lighten Up Lesson #3: Embrace your goofiness!


Find Your Favorite Speed

You don’t have to drive your car everywhere. You don’t have to take the highway. You can walk. You can run. You can skip (we love skipping!). You can ride a bicycle.

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Why are we telling you this, what you can and cannot do? Because what we’re trying to get across is that there are tons of different ways to get from Point A to Point B. Just because everyone else is sprinting doesn’t mean that you can’t jog, or transport yourself some other way entirely. What should propel your decision is at what speed you’d like to see your life. Is a walk too slow? Is a car too fast and blurry? What about a bicycle?

Lighten Up Lesson #4: Speed is a preference, not a requirement.


Stop Buying the Finished Product

More often than not, the nearest shopping center is a hop, skip and a jump away. And, because of convenience, we go there to get everything that we need, from food, to furniture, to candles, to whatever else you can think of. We then return home, put it all away, and sit back down on the couch.

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Okay, so maybe life can be really busy, and yeah, so maybe you might not have enough time to build the bench or table you’ve always wanted, or to learn how to make candles, but, seriously, just do it. Make time for it. Make it a project that you and your loved ones can do TOGETHER. It takes time, yes, and each one of you may get frustrated with learning a new thing. You’ll probably even make mistakes and, chances are, the finished product won’t be finished at all, but will instead be riddled with imperfections.

And that is beyond awesome. Laugh at those mistakes. Embrace those imperfections. Then, keep moving.

Lighten Up Lesson #5: Your life is not a finished product.


How do YOU keep your life light?


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Garrett Dennert resides in West Michigan. When he isn’t writing (or editing), you can find him outside, riding a bike, reading a book, or just plain running. Other interests include sports (of any kind), music (again, any kind) and cinema (a bit pickier here).