11 Old Fashioned Self-Help Advice That's Actually Totally Genius
Ever hear a piece of old time-y advice and immediately think it sounds a bit old fashioned? Well, that's probably kind of a good thing. Many self-help tips and tricks have stood the test of time because they're actually incredibly helpful — and sometimes even a bit genius.
Not to mention, good advice is good advice, regardless of the date on the calendar. "Some advice is timeless because humans haven’t changed much in our 200,000 years on the planet," licensed psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW tells Bustle. "Human nature is human nature: we hurt, hate to be vulnerable, sometimes think we’re smarter than we are, often believe we need to do everything ourselves, are a mass of contradictions, etc." And that's why we could all use a little guidance once in a while.
Another reason some self-help advice is passed down through the ages? It's just so darn true. "I believe that some self-help advice, [like laughter being the best medicine], doesn’t go out of style because it is a basic truth," says Allen Klein, author of The Healing Power of Humor. "It is only now that science has the tools to test these things, that we can actually prove these old adages." Read on for more old fashioned self-help advice, that you can still use today.
1. Feel The Fear... And Do It Anyway
The 90s self-help book Feel The Fear... And Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers, PhD, suggests you do just that. "The main idea was that rather than looking for ways to get rid of fear, you accept that it's there and take action anyway," fitness expert Julia Buckley, who is a fan of the book, tells Bustle. "Fear is going to happen when we take on anything outside our comfort zone and we have the choice to let it paralyze us or, 'feel the fear and do it anyway.'"
2. Whatever You Think You Can Do... You're Right
I'm sure you've heard the line, "Whether you think you can or think you can't do, you're right!" But have you ever thought about what it means? As personal development coach Meiyoko Taylor says, "This one is so impactful because it causes you to really take a look at what you think, your daily routines, and the roles they both play in your life pursuits. It is a known fact that we become what we think about most of the time, so this really calls your attention to your self-talk and the power of positive thinking."
3. Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine
As mentioned above, "laughter being the best medicine" is a piece of old time-y advice that now has scientific data to back it up. "This has now been proven by researchers," says Klein, who has written books on the subject. "[Researcher] Michael Miller, for example, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, has shown that laughter is beneficial for a healthy heart." So do yourself a favor, and laugh it up.
4. "No" Is A Complete Sentence
There's a lot of people out there sharing the benefits of saying "no," and for good reason. "An oldie but goodie that I often refer my life coaching clients towards is, 'No is a complete sentence,'" says holistic lifestyle expert and author Klay S. Williams. "For a lot of people, understanding that they do not have to explain their reasoning for declining something is quite foreign." But it really can be that simple — you can say no, and leave it at that.
5. If You Can't Say Anything Nice...
The saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" is as old as time. And yet, it's incredibly helpful to keep in mind, especially when it comes to relationships. "So many of the relationship problems that I deal with are a direct result of saying hurtful things," says couples counselor Monte Drenner. "This phrase encompasses the old but false belief of 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.' Words do hurt and you can’t take them back, so be careful with what you say."
6. Let Yourself Forgive And Forget
OK, so this one is way easier said than done, but there's no denying how helpful it can be. "Yes, it is not always possible to forget past hurts, but holding on to the hurt only has a negative impact upon the relationship," Drenner says. "Working through the hurt quickly will help both the individual and the couple to get to a better place quicker." And, it'll help you move on from holding an unhealthy grudge.
7. Always Do Your Homework
Whether it's actual homework, or just life homework, go ahead and do it. "Whether you’re looking for a [partner], buying a new house, or planning a trip, make sure you explore all options and investigate what you might be getting yourself into," says Koenig. "Be observant and keep your eyes open." And always do your homework.
8. Try To Look On The Bright Side
This old adage can come in mighty handy with all the horrible news going on today, especially since it serves as a reminder to stay positive. "We all get to choose how we think about any given circumstance," says life coach Karin Ulik, in an email to Bustle. "Focusing on the gloom and doom and tragedy can easily send us into a downward spiral where we wonder if things will ever get better." And that's not gonna do anybody any good.
9. The Early Bird Gets The Worm
This one may be particularly annoying for non-morning people, and yet it's a great reminder all the same. "Getting up early allows you to get a head start in your day, and not have to worry about rushing through to catch up," says lifestyle coach Christopher Wilding. "Life just feels stressful when you are running behind. This advice is still relevant because the concept of time has been around since civilization, we all have 24 hours in a day — don’t procrastinate, get a head start!"
10. Do More With Less
If you've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, take this tip to heart. "This piece of advice has become more timely and valuable in today's easy consumer culture where we are increasingly being overwhelmed by our own clutter," Scott Robinson, an ICF-certified life coach, tells Bustle. "Our physical environment often mirrors our mental environment: keep things simple and down to the basics and you'll find that you're more focused, less distracted, and a happier you." Sound intriguing? Here are some ways to de-clutter your life.
11. Don't Ever Go To Bed Angry
Whenever possible, do what couples have been doing for centuries, and refuse to go to bed angry. "By going to bed angry with our spouse or partner, we are normalizing upset and disappointment, and creating a habit where it's OK for issues to go unaddressed until they become volcanic at a later time," Robinson says. "Even if you're able to just say, 'I know we're both exhausted, but can we commit to resolving this tomorrow?' you're placing the intention to communicate and committing to hearing the other person out. It's an important habit to cultivate."
While these old fashioned pieces of advice may sound just that, I promise, they're anything but outdated. In fact, they're pretty much genius, and can be super useful when applied to our lives today.
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