HEALTHY LIVING
06/16/2014 08:26 am ET Updated Jun 16, 2014

5 Excuses We Should Stop Making In Order To Be Happier

Trinette Reed via Getty Images

If life were a game of Monopoly, excuses would be our trademark "get out of jail" cards. We put off the things we wish we could do for one reason or another, and before we know it, we're in a perpetual state of "do not pass go." And while we think these excuses are helping us, the truth is we may be limiting our happiness overall. And who really wants that?

Below, find five excuses we need to stop making so we can stop just existing and start truly living.

"I'm too busy."

busy

It's our natural tendency to live life in a "time famine," always going from one thing to the next with no real moments of pause. As Agapi Stassinopoulos put it in a recent HuffPost blog, our actual task list isn't the problem, it's our glorification of it. "It's not that we are not busy and we don't have a lot to do, but it's as if our whole selves -- body, mind and spirit -- are being wrapped up in our daily to-do list and we utterly lose perspective of the whole picture," she wrote. Taking some time to relax can offer numerous health and happiness benefits -- so it's time to stop excusing ourselves from a little downtime.

"It's too expensive."

trip

That's not to say we should all be spending outside of our means, but when an opportunity of a lifetime comes into play -- why not grab it? Studies have shown that we are happier when we put our finances toward experiences not things. That weekly Chipotle habit or monthly sundress splurge may seem harmless at first, but wouldn't you rather indulge in one trip or concert of a lifetime instead?

"I can't take time off."

vacation

If we're always plugged into our jobs, sooner or later burnout will catch up to us. Making some time for a vacation -- whether it's a week or a weekend -- not only has the potential to increase your happiness levels, but can provide the perfect opportunity to recharge. Ditch your phones, ditch your emails and just be. You'll be much more productive when you come back.

"I don't know how."

confused

Trying new experiences can be scary -- but they also can be incredibly liberating. As author Jan Cloninger pointed out in a 2013 HuffPost blog, one of the most common reasons people don't meditate is because they say they don't know how and simply give up. "[M]indfulness is something that is developed," she wrote. "Like anything else we try to master, it takes time and practice." The longevity of the phrase "practice makes perfect" isn't coincidental -- it exists because it's true. And once you try something (like meditating), you'll better yourself and better your capacity to feel joy.

"I can do it later."

pursuing dreams

How many times have we postponed our dreams? We become so bogged down by our to-do lists that we forget about our bucket lists -- and before we know it, a large chunk of time has passed. Studies have shown that having specific goals and going for them can boost our happiness. So whether it's that trip to Spain or just the aim to make someone smile, don't put it off until later. Besides, procrastination isn't really good for you, anyway.

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

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