How to stop caring, (within reason)

The desire to not care and stress out over small things is natural and may serve as a healthy coping mechanism for stress. (Photo: Unsplash)
One of the most common shared experiences among people is stress. Stress can originate from a variety of sources: school, work, or relationships. We often seek out ways to manage or cope with stress, but it is nearly impossible to be completely free of stress. This is because in one way or another, we care. We only stress because we care about the consequences, and we cannot afford to lose or fail. Nevertheless, the desire to not care — or at least care less — is still natural and may serve as a healthy coping mechanism for stress. اضافة اعلان

What is liberosis?

Liberosis is term coined by Swizz author and creator, John Koenig on his website called, “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.” He defines liberosis as:
“The desire to care less about things — to loosen your grip on your life, to stop glancing behind you every few steps, afraid that someone will snatch it from you before you reach the end zone—rather to hold your life loosely and playfully, like a volleyball, keeping it in the air, with only quick fleeting interventions, bouncing freely in the hands of trusted friends, always in play.”

It is a relatively new term and has only recently begun to gain traction in the wellness community. One such psychiatrist, by the name of Dr Jason Spendelow, has seen the potential of liberosis in dealing with stress.

Liberosis and mental health

Dr Spendelow has made many connections between liberosis and mental health issues. He notes that people with anxiety or chronic worrying inherently have a fear that their reactions to stress inducing situations do not warrant, or are not proportional to the situation itself. Similarly, individuals that are indecisive will constantly worry if the choices or decisions they are making are the right option.

The reasons for worrying or caring depend on an individual. Sometimes it may be an attempt to identify and respond to potential dangers or perceived threats. At other times, it may be the mind’s way of coping with existentialism in an attempt to solve or provide answers to life’s many issues. Regardless of the reason, caring less (within reason of course), may have a profound effect on well-being.

Mental time traveling

Dr Spendelow has taken the concept of liberosis and applied it to cognition and the perceptions we hold. He uses the term “mental time travel” to describe the natural tendency to dwell on the past or worry about the future. 

He goes on to explain that reminiscing on the past or planning for the future is not inherently negative, in fact it can improve mental well-being. It is only when they are taken to extremes and lead to dwelling or worrying that they will negatively impact you. The reason it negatively impacts us is because events that occurred in the past cannot be changed and stressing about what may or may not happen in the future puts undue stress on us and makes us feel powerless or hopeless.

He talks about how you can prevent over worrying and promote liberosis. When thinking about the past, there are simple questions you can ask yourself that can help bring perspective to the situation, such as:

- Can I do anything about this now?
- What lessons can I learn to help me in the future?
- Can I read minds?
- Do I have hard evidence for this assumption?

When concerned with worries about the future, you can ask yourself questions such as:

- Can I predict the future?
- Am I 100 percent certain this bad thing will happen?
- Does this thought help me in promoting liberosis?
- If not, what alternative thoughts may help?

These questions may seem silly to ask yourself but the answers themselves are not what bring about liberosis. It is the perspective gained from answering them that helps show you that there may be no need to dwell or stress on a certain issue. Every person has the capacity to gain liberosis because it is simply a perspective on life’s many issues.

How to gain more liberosis

The one downside of cognition is the need to find answers. Humans seek answers in nearly every aspect of life and not being able to find answers can often be distressing. There is no exact therapy for liberosis because it deals more in philosophy than in science. Regardless, the first step is to determine how much liberosis is appropriate for your life. Too little and you will still worry and stress, too much and it can negatively impact useful planning, problem-solving, or other important life skills.

Three suggestions recommended by Dr Spendelow include focusing on the here-and-now, meaning focus on the present and the things that are within your control. Secondly, challenge your control on life. Debate with yourself if being in control is truly important and come to terms that there are certain aspects of life that cannot be controlled. Finally, practice gratitude. Take time to appreciate what life has to offer and relish every moment you get that positively impacts your life. 

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