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5 Ways to be More Careless (and Why This is Good Sometimes)


When you hear the word careless, you may be thinking of someone who is irresponsible. This article isn’t here to convince you to be less responsible. It’s here to teach you why being the right kind of careless can set you free from life’s stressors.

When you learn to be careless about the inconsequential things in life, you realize what truly matters to you. You feel a weight lifted off your shoulders when you abandon perfectionism and devote more energy to caring about people and experiences deserving of your time.

This article will teach you how to be careless in the best of ways. By the end, you will feel the joy that comes from abandoning what was once holding you back.

What is the "right" kind of careless

Being careless is not often an attribute that people associate with a positive meaning. And while there are instances where being careless is inappropriate, most of us could probably benefit from being a bit more careless.

A study examining the global population found that 28.18% of the population is suffering from depression and anxiety. They also found that 25.18% of the global population is suffering from stress.

That means about a quarter of the worldwide population may need to learn to be more careless.

We get so caught up in all the stressors and worries of our day that we often feel weighed down. We care so much about everything that we leave ourselves with no energy to care about the things that are important to us.

So learning to be careless and letting go of non-essential worries might be the ticket to a sense of personal freedom.

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Why it's good to be careless sometimes

Everyone likes the idea of being more relaxed and letting go of the little things. But are there actual science-backed benefits to being a bit more careless? I’m glad you asked because the science says yes!

The research argues that individuals who are more easygoing and let little things slide experience greater job satisfaction.

Another study found that people who learn to let go and become appropriately careless are better at self-regulating and more resilient in the face of challenges.

So if you like the idea of enjoying your work and being better at handling life’s stressors, it sounds like it’s time to adopt a sense of carelessness to get you there.

5 ways to be more careless

If you’re ready to embrace a careless attitude to feel alive again, then get ready. These tips are here to help you channel a sense of carelessness to thrive in every aspect of your life.

1. Let go of perfectionism

One of the first steps to being more careless is to abandon perfectionism. Easy enough, right?

Not if you’re someone like me who has clung to perfectionism to validate your sense of self-worth. But therein lies the problem.

Your worth and how you feel should never be defined by something outside of yourself. By seeking to control every single detail and not letting it go, you’re looking for external validation.

I remember I used to try to be the “perfect” physical therapist who always had the best treatment for every patient. But by doing this, I was allowing my patients' perception of me to define how I felt about myself. This resulted in me sweating over the smallest of mistakes in a session.

All this ever led to was my own unhappiness. When I learned to let go of the insignificant details of treatment and value myself regardless of the outcome, I quite literally felt lighter and enjoyed my work more.

You don’t need to strive for perfection. You need to be careless and strive for good enough. If you need more convincing, here are more reasons why you need to let go of perfectionism.

2. Embrace spontaneity

As someone who thrives on a routine, this one can be tricky for me. But some of life’s best moments happen when you open yourself up to being spontaneous.

I remember just a few weeks ago my husband asked me to go to a late-night movie on a weekday. Being an eighty-year-old trapped in a thirty-year-old’s body, I didn’t like the idea of not getting sufficient sleep before work.

But something in me said let go and just have some fun. I ended up loving the movie and getting some needed quality time with my husband.

I laugh at the fact that I’m so regimented that a switch-up in my schedule like that can stress me out. But it’s true.

A last-minute movie night may sound simple, but some of life’s best memories are the ones that aren’t planned. Let loose and be willing to say yes to life’s unexpected opportunities from time to time.

3. Stop listening to others’ opinions

I know I’m not the first person to tell you this. But when was the last time you actually listened to this advice?

Sometimes we get stressed out and anxious because we’re caring too much about what other people think or say. This is a great moment to be careless. Let their words go in one ear and out the other.

This is especially true when it comes to opinions that are trying to tear you or your dreams down.

There will always be nay-sayers and people who don’t think you can do what you want. But you have to choose to let those opinions and words slide right off your shoulders.

When you become careless in relation to how you respond to their opinions, you’ll be able to stop devoting unnecessary time and mental effort towards words that don’t hold value for you.

4. Let go of the need to please others

This one goes hand in hand with not listening to the opinions of others. You may need to become careless about the unimportant needs of others.

I am still a recovering people-pleaser and as such it’s hard for me to be careless when it comes to things that I know might displease someone.

However, so much of my mental health has been tied up in keeping others happy that it stressed me out for years.

My ex-boyfriend's mother was someone who I felt this consistent need to make happy and like me. This resulted in me feeling anxious or stressed out any time I was around her.

One day I finally decided that I was going to put my needs first instead of always succumbing to what she wanted. At first, she wasn’t exactly thrilled by some of my replies.

But with time, she came to realize that I was prioritizing my needs and this helped our relationship because I felt less stressed out around her.

Become careless with pleasing others. The people who are worth your time will still be there, regardless of your people-pleasing habits.

5. Get clear on what matters to you

One of the best ways to feel confident about being careless is to get crystal clear on what it is you care about.

Once you know what you value, then you can start being more careless about the things that are not on that list.

For example, I know I don’t give two hoots about what my friends think about my fashion style. But I care a lot about what my friends think about my character.

So now I don’t care when they make snarky comments about my lack of fashion sense. I let that go and laugh alongside them because it doesn’t matter to me.

But if they have genuine feedback about my character, then that’s the type of thing I’ll devote my energy towards.

Know what matters to you, so all the rest of the stuff can go by the wayside. You don’t need to care about everything because that’s not a recipe for a balanced or happy life.

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Wrapping up

Being careless doesn’t mean you care about nothing. Being careless means you know what you value and let go of the rest. The tips from this article can help you embrace being careless to experience new levels of freedom and happiness. Because with a little carelessness, you can kick worry and stress out the door to invite in the emotions you want to experience in life.

Do you consider yourself an overly caring person, and does it cause you stress and anxiety? What's your favorite tip to be more careless? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Ashley Kaiser

Writer

Physical therapist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona. Self-proclaimed dark chocolate addict and full-time adrenaline junkie. Obsessed with my dog and depending on the day my husband, too.

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