Living life to the fullest means being able to embrace both the good and the bad. It’s not just about chasing after pleasant experiences. Otherwise, we become trapped in always avoiding anything unpleasant.
This can lead to an unfulfilling, unsatisfying life. We end up having a hard time finding true contentment.
The key is to learn how to detach from certain feelings. Not all feelings! We’re humans and emotions give depth to our lives.
But that doesn’t mean we let emotions enslave us. A happy and meaningful life is one where we’re able to detach from craving pleasure.
By making this mindset shift, you can free yourself from an endless pursuit of pleasant experiences.
10 little things you can do to become more detached
The idea of non-attachment has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
But in the modern world, we often find ourselves more attached than ever to things and people. This becomes a source of stress and unhappiness.
So how can you become more detached? Here are 10 simple things you can do:
- Make peace with impermanence — Accept that everything is constantly changing and evolving. Nothing is permanent, and try not to put too much stock in permanence.
- Take time to be alone — Practise solitude and listen to your thoughts: Journal them so the thoughts take a more concrete form. This practice gives you perspective. And you can detach more easily from distractions and external influences.
- Pursue meaningful activities — Focus on activities that bring true fulfillment. Do something you enjoy that enriches your life. Like reading, learning a new skill, etc.
- Stop comparing yourself to others — Learn to accept yourself without comparison or judgment. Try to avoid social media when you can. Most people only put the best versions of their lives there, which tends to be unrealistic. Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
- Practice mindfulness meditation — Observe your intrusive and unhelpful thoughts. You don’t have to block it or anything. Simply observe your thoughts without emotion. You’ll notice that these thoughts tend to go away on their own.
- Spend more time outdoors — Nature is an excellent reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. A nice sunrise or a beautiful sunset can also help bring us back into the moment.
- Remove the clutter in your life — Try to get rid of anything unnecessary. Start from your desk to your home, and the rest of your life. Remove anything you don’t really need. This will give you the headspace to focus on what really matters.
- Get rid of unhealthy relationships — If relationships no longer serve us or bring us joy, it might be time for us to let go. Being too attached or dependent on other people’s approval or presence makes us unhappy.
- Live in the present moment — Focus on staying grounded here and now. I’ve talked about having the right time perspective. It’s a great way to leverage both your past and your future to live your best in the present.
- Follow your inner compass — There are two demands in the world: The internal and the external demands. The latter involves people telling you what to do. And the former is all about what you actually want or need. Folks who stick to their inner compass tend to be happier.
Accept life the way it is, not the way you want it to be
Life is unpredictable and often doesn’t go according to plan.
While it’s normal to want certain things or dream of a certain future, clinging to those desires or feeling attached to the outcome can cause us frustration and disappointment.
When we let go of attachment, we free ourselves from unnecessary stressors. Learning how to become detached in this way helps us achieve balance in our lives. We can’t let the pursuit of pleasure override what’s truly meaningful for us.
Ultimately, life is full of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. By accepting life as it is without judgment or expectation, you can find true happiness. And that, I think, is the balanced way to look at the world with optimism and enthusiasm.