Book Review: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff

Do you find yourself getting upset about the little things and analysing it for far too long? Or do you recognise yourself being reactive rather than proactive in situations? I think we’ve all been there and this book has some useful hints to help you overcome getting upset about the menial things in life that actually don’t matter.

There are some main themes in the book that I found useful. I’ve written them below with my own interpretation and spin of the content and how it’s applicable to life today.

1. Life isn’t an emergency so remember to stop and smell the roses. Learn to be present in the moment and to stop worrying about the future or past. It’s hard when a society creates internal and external pressures that can often make you feel like in order to be successful you have to constantly be busy but that’s not what life is about. If you live life like you’re driving an ambulance you’re eventually going to crash and burn from the stress and lack of self-love. Instead of getting caught up with FOMO (fear of missing out) let go of all your social media platforms and just be. Put your phone down and be bored, get creative and recognise the freedom of not being switched on 24/7. It’s often hard to put down the phones that have somehow become an intricate part of us but once you recognise the mental break from the separation you will love the freedom and clear mind.

2. Don’t overreact to things but instead be proactive. Will this issue be such a big deal in a month, a year, or in 5 years? This is a great way to think about problems that you think are a big concern. It’s important to take time to reflect on them and if they’re actually worth the effort or if you’re just in the habit of making things into a bigger issue than they need to be.

Practice patience and of course that in itself will take a lot of patience. We can often get so caught up in our life of instant gratification but it’s incredibly important to learn to be patient, especially with others. The great news is that it’s a learned skill and anyone can learn to be patient. Although it also takes a lot of practice, it’s definitely a quality that your loved ones and co-workers will thank you for.

The author, Richard Carlson, also explains the importance of showing compassion and empathy for others, especially during times of personal frustration. In those moments where you have little patience and feel like life is against you, it’s important to take a step back and try to understand from the other person’s perspective. It’s incredibly easy to only consider our side of the situation but we truly never know what someone else is going through so give them the benefit of the doubt and show kindness. That might just be what you both need.

3. Gratitude. I’m always incredibly happy when a book talks about gratitude because I honestly think it’s such an important habit to have. Learning to be thankful for others, and just in general, is life changing. Learn to appreciate the little things in life. A point that I really stood out to me in this section was, “be grateful when you’re feeling good and graceful when you’re feeling bad.” It reiterates that it’s okay to not feel happy and switched on all of the time but it’s also important to not get caught up in the negative feelings and create something bigger. Sometimes you’re just feeling off and that’s okay. Let those hours or days pass and don’t give it anymore thought other than you’re just off. In turn, learn to be grateful and appreciative on the days and weeks where you’re happy and more like yourself. Appreciate all that you have in life and create the positive habit to find the good things within each day. It truly does make a big difference.

4. Become an active listener. This is another great point that I enjoyed, and something that’s come up in other novels lately. Learning to listen to people and not interrupt is simply a habit that just isn’t around anymore. Too often we’re simply waiting for a gap in the conversation to input what we want to say and we’re not actually taking in the information and listening to what’s being said by others. When was the last time that you talked to someone and were actively listening to what they were saying? People love when they feel like they’re being heard and it’s a really great quality to have, especially in a society that is incredibly ego driven. This section of the book was a great reminder to work on being an active listener and to learn to just be present in conversations.

5. Your to-do list never ends. I’d like to briefly recognise this concept and how we’re constantly trying to get our lists done and empty our daily ‘buckets.” We sometimes get so caught up on these lists and get overwhelmed but the thing is that we’ll never finish the list and empty our buckets. There will always be something else to add. I found this concept to be almost freeing because it’s incredibly true but I hadn’t given it much thought. It was a great reminder to still work hard but not to get so caught up in getting everything done so that I feel better, since the list will never be done. It’s important to live and not get so caught up in getting everything done now.

This book was an easy read and had some great points, many of which I’ve read about in previous books but never the less they were great reminders of the little things and habits that anyone can start doing to change their life today.

All of these points can be underpinned by being present, slowing down and overall just being more conscientious about the life we’re leading.

By: Cortnie Dawn

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