“Don’t worry, be happy!” You might remember that fun Bobby McFerrin song from the radio, or maybe you’ve seen the phrase on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. Is it really that easy, though? Let’s talk about how to be more carefree.
How to Be More Carefree
A carefree person is someone who is not necessarily bothered or bogged down by all the little details of the day-to-day. You might have a mental image of a carefree person as a bit of a bohemian, or maybe a young person just getting started on the journey of life. However, anybody can learn how to be more carefree! It’s a specific mindset that lets you focus on the things that matter and let go of the things that don’t.
The first step to being carefree is learning how to live in the moment. Many people do this through a practice called “mindfulness.” Mindfulness makes you reconsider how you approach those day-to-day annoyances that can drag your mindset down. Think of a daily frustration you encounter. When you think about it, does your jaw tense and your heartbeat pick up? Do you think about how much it annoyed you in the past, and how it’ll keep annoying you in the future? Now, stop and take a breath. Remind yourself it’s not the end of the world, and think about what you can do to make it easier next time. Consider all the possibilities, and remember that you’re in charge of what happens to you.
Do you feel better? Congratulations! You’ve practiced mindfulness, and hopefully you’ve seen the benefits. It may feel simple, but there’s scientific evidence that mindfulness rewires your brain to help you stay in the moment and worry less. If you struggle with stress, it’s a great place to start learning how to be more carefree.
Focus on Happiness
Carefree people are usually noticeably happier than other people. Some people think that happiness is the result of life circumstances. However, research shows that people who put joy first in their lives actually experience more happiness than people who don’t. In fact, only ten percent of your overall happiness can be attributed to outside circumstances. The rest comes down to you, and the more you focus on finding the joy in life, the more joy you will experience.
However, real happiness can take some time to cultivate. Sure, you can pep up your day with a cupcake or a random Amazon purchase, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But real long-lasting joy comes from plugging into the people and things that make life worth living. Experts recommend getting intentional about showing gratitude, being of service to the people around you, seeking new people and experiences, and practicing empathy and acceptance when things go wrong. Think of yourself as a person who deserves happiness, and happiness will find you.
Empower Yourself to Care About the Right Things
Remember that being carefree isn’t the same as being careless. You still have to be plugged into your day-to-day life, meet your commitments, and take care of yourself! In order to be carefree about the things that don’t matter, you need to empower yourself to put your time and effort into what actually does matter.
If you ask carefree people how they maintain their positive mindsets, they have the same advice. Carefree people are intentional about how they plan their time, dedicating appropriate amounts to work but also dedicating time to loved ones and fun. They allow themselves to say no to obligations that don’t serve them. They focus on self-care, making sure to rest enough and meet their physical and emotional needs before they try to help others. Most importantly, they know their own priorities and values, and focus on honoring those as they live their lives.
Think about your priorities. What matters to you? Who matters to you? Let the things you care about lead the way, and a carefree life will follow.
It turns out there’s more to learning how to be more carefree than you might think. Don’t worry about taking it all on at once. Try a few techniques here and there, and see where they take you.
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