My last three conversations with my besties have been about managing expectations. It surprised me. Even though my women friends span generations, it was encouraging to hear them say that managing expectations were the most important avenue to reducing stress level and living a happy and more fulfilled life.
It is a rarity that you have time to sit down and reflect on how to manage expectations. Self- reflection is considered a luxury instead of a necessity. You rush from pillar to post, and the minutes tick by until you fall into bed, drifting into a stupor of dreams (or no sleep) because the mind chatter won’t stop spinning.
Stop The Spinning
Meditation is a powerful way to manage expectations—its premise is to release the mind from the necessity of thinking. The idea is to let thoughts go and not cling to our monkey minds and incessant imagining. Begin simply—three to five minutes a session.
If you have difficulty letting your thoughts go, take time for yourself to reflect for ten minutes a day about the state of your being without convoluted thinking, fantasy scenarios, or unrealistic expectations. You might get an insight into how much time you waste in irrational thinking. At the end of the meditation, make an intention to slow down your mindless mental chatter to increase peace, joy, and fulfillment.
Managing your expectations at any time is challenging, and it doesn’t get easier with age. Everyone needs time to understand the truth of their reality, including your grievances and negative perceptions. Because the world is changing fast, it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. Acknowledging that you need distance from your expectations will make it easier to manage them.
Keep Life Simple
We often complicate life with too many ‘what ifs.” Mind clutter makes life more complicated than it needs to be. You can quickly lose perspective about what is essential, and that ends up making life stressful and chaotic. Living with clarity is the best way to eliminate the superfluous and re-frame your mindset for clarity, which will, in turn, manage expectations. Why get weighed down by your baggage?
Keep it Real
Do you say yes to people, places, and things that don’t reflect your values, beliefs, or desires? Crucial to being responsive to your true self is your ability to discern what adds value to your life.
Do you bend to the reflections of those surrounding you, taking up their opinions and observations as if they might be your own? Take note that other people’s ideas may not be compatible with your perceptions about life; this scenario will only hamper your ability to manage your expectations.
Managing expectations is integral to living a balanced, emotionally healthy, and authentic life. Step back and look at the way you perceive the present—and do so mindfully, without clutter or other people’s opinions. Never let anyone tell you who you are. You are unique and can live an extraordinary life with clarity, peace, and joy.
Joan Frances Moran is a creative thought leader exploding with the potential of now. A lifelong learner with an unrelenting curiosity, Joan started teaching yoga at 60 and unlocked the key to cultivating daily happiness. Her signature headstand is not the only thing that leaves audiences in awe.