Reduce Stress by Resetting Expectations about Life’s Five “Givens”

David Richo

David Richo

David Richo integrates Eastern and Western philosophies in his book, The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them,  to conclude that human life operates in the context of five unavoidable “givens”:

• Everything changes and ends
• Things do not always go as planned
• Life is not always fair
• Pain is a part of life
• People are not always loving and loyal

He asserts that people can experience misery, frustration, anxiety and a host of other uncomfortable emotions if they expect life to contradict these five “givens.”

An approach to reducing stress generated by fighting these “givens” is to reset expectations and to practice a “radical acceptance” of these realities.

Abundant social science research demonstrates that dissatisfaction is generated by the gap between expectations and experience.

Individuals have more control over their expectations than their actual experiences, so a stress-reduction tactic is to modify expectations related to life’s five “givens.”

-*How do you deal with life’s “givens” that may not be as you would like?

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