Our busy lives can easily make us lose sight of the important things. Smartphones and the internet were supposed to make our lives easier, but instead, our always-on brains are causing us to overload. And then, to add to our stresses, we spend time browsing social media, worrying about what we don’t have and being jealous of other people’s lives.
Of course, all of this strain is not healthy for us physically, mentally, or spiritually. To add to our stress load, we’re also sleeping less, with estimates of around 2 hours less sleep per night compared to the 1960s. So not only are we overloaded, but we’re also not getting enough time to recharge our brains and our batteries. No wonder we’re seeing record high levels of mental health disorders.
There are actually plenty of things you can do to change your mindset and bring about a more positive frame of mind.
1. Put the phone down
Or better still, turn it off when you’re not using it. In the modern age, your phone is a constant source of distraction. And despite being one of our great modern tools, it’s also a massive source of stress, with work, social media and 24/7 news picking away at our thought processes.
By being conscious of when you use your phone, you’ll start to see how often you depend on it. Next time you’re waiting for something, or you’re seated on public transport, resist the urge to use your phone for anything and instead look around you, breathe, observe. The more you can make an effort to step away from your phone, the more liberated you’ll feel.
2. Eat well
You don’t have to go vegan to eat well, but using some of the practices of veganism can make you feel much better in yourself. Cutting back on red meat is something we should all be doing, so if you can’t bear to go totally vegan, aim to eat meat only once or twice a week.
Try to eat a balanced diet that includes pulses, nuts, and legumes to replace any meat protein. Make your meals from scratch using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and aim to eat only what your body needs for fuel and nourishment.
Your body typically tells you if it’s hungry, so rather than emotional eating, such as out of boredom, try to eat food when you feel genuinely hungry. You’ll feel better in yourself after eating, and you’ll find your energy levels are less likely to spike and slump.
3. Spend more time with loved ones
What’s one of the biggest regrets of the dying? It isn’t that they wish they’d made more money or gotten more followers on Instagram. No, it’s that they had spent more time with friends and family.
Be present for your children, not just in the same room on your phone. Make plans to meet friends regularly, and then enjoy their company and interact with them. Make an effort to stay in touch with people, especially those people who aren’t so good at staying in touch themselves. Don’t carry grudges, know when to say sorry and laugh often.
4. Use sustainable products
We’re not all Buddhist monks, so of course, in our modern lives, we do sometimes want or need new things. Minimize your impact on the planet by using sustainable or recycled products whenever possible.
Over the years, we have created a throwaway culture that worships the ownership of new things. Buying products that are built to last, are biodegradable, or are reusable, is one of the best ways to be responsible for our planet’s future.
There is a growing culture of sustainable and ethical clothing, using materials that have a minimal impact on the environment. You’ll also find options for eco-friendly phones, energy efficient home appliances, and reusable products for our daily lives.
5. Make time for you
In a way, this is a form of mindfulness, but by making time out of your day to focus on yourself, you’ll be able to feel more in control of your life. Find a time in your day when you’re not doing anything, when you don’t have to be anywhere and when you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.
This could be during your lunch break, it could be when you get up in the morning, or before you go to sleep at night.
Some people might use this time to practice yoga or to meditate. Others might just take the time to go for a walk, read a book, or let their mind wander.
Time for ourselves is becoming rarer, but we mustn’t feel like we can’t seize the opportunity to hit the reset switch on our brains. No matter how busy your day is, there is always time for you to stop and smell the flowers.
6. Use positive language
For many of us, gossiping or complaining is part of what we do. Especially at work, it can be easy to get caught up in office politics or to feel so stressed that we become more pessimistic and caught up in negativity. But, by focusing on your language and what you say, you might find that you can beat the negativity.
We might feel that complaining is an excellent way to ‘vent’ our frustrations, but being negative just fills your mind and body with more negativity. Likewise, if we are surrounded by negative people or culture of negativity, this can hugely impact our mental wellbeing.
Whenever you want to say something negative, stop. Think of a way to say what you’re about to say positively. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that,” try, “I’ll see what I can do.” Instead of saying, “Bill in accounts is a real douche bag,” try saying nothing. Or if you must, simply say, “I think Bill needs a hug.”
Using positive language also means focusing less on “I” and more on “we.” Try to avoid making yourself the center of the conversation, ask people about themselves, and respond with positive statements.
How many of these six habits do you think you can do?
Even if you can do just one, you’re sure to see a difference in how you feel inside. And who knows, perhaps then you can try all of these steps and bring out a new positivity within yourself.