As 2018 draws to a close, we begin assessing where we are. Did we do everything we set out to do this year, or did that gym membership just burn through our credit card? This is the time we start to wonder what exactly kept us from meeting those intentions — and sometimes, what’s holding us back the most is actually ourselves. The debilitating ways in which we think can have the biggest impact on our actions or inactions. We’re all well informed of the physical things we can quit to live a healthier life, but most of us aren’t aware of the negative tendencies in our thinking that are diminishing our quality of life and keeping us from being the best version of ourselves.
Let’s try to bring only positive energy and thoughts with us into the new year. We’re sharing five bad habits harming your mental health you should quit right now, and how to combat them.
Trying to please everyone
People pleasing is a real problem. At one time or another, we’ve all said yes when we really wanted to say no. After a certain point, it is no longer saying yes to just support a friend, it is saying yes to avoid confrontations or hurting others’ feelings. It becomes a problem when we are constantly overextending for others and not leaving anything left for ourselves. Another way we try to please others is behaving in ways that fit who they want us to be. Trying to be someone who others expect you to be is mentally and physically draining, and it means you aren’t living life for yourself.
If you pretend to agree with everyone, feel uncomfortable when someone is angry with you, and don’t admit when your feelings are hurt, you are probably spending too much energy on trying to please people. This can leave you exhausted, anxious, and upset. We need to stop this behavior now. It doesn’t make you a bad person to say no to things you don’t want to do. If someone asks you to do something, be sure it is really worth it and that you’re not being manipulated. Start by saying no to the small things, and remember it’s ok to put yourself first!
Whether it’s switching careers, ending a relationship, or moving to a new city, I get it, change can be a scary thing. It is ingrained in us to fear the unknown, but the best times of my life were from choosing the path that I didn’t know where it would lead. Practicing to not let fear overtake your life is exactly that: a practice. The more you do it, the easier it is to keep doing, and to start doing it for the bigger things. By learning how to deal with change, you’ll start to realize that change is something you can handle, and will actually benefit you!
Spend more time with people who genuinely enjoy change and trying new things. Stay away from the negative individuals who make you feel like your current situation is your only situation. Also, start to realize that there are just things that you simply can’t control. One of my favorite ways to release any uneasiness about the future is by meditating on it and letting the universe lead me in the right direction. So take up a new hobby, go on that date, and take your dream trip — your fear could be holding you back from growing and going where you dream of!
Living in the past
If you are frustrated with where you currently are in life, it’s easy to live in the past to avoid dealing with present issues. Even though it’s ok to reflect on the past, you cannot live there. You are robbing yourself the opportunity of living in the present moment, and let me tell you guys, it’s pretty great here. If you catch yourself reliving either past accomplishments or defeats so often to the point that you are no longer enjoying your daily life, it’s time to regain control of living your life in the present. To move on, forgive past mistakes or hurts. Whether it was pain you caused another or how someone hurt you, choose to forgive and move on. Get these emotions out by talking to a friend or writing it down.
Start to fully appreciate the moments of today and have gratitude in all the little things that make you happy. When you are truly living in the present moment, your mind isn’t wandering to what happened a few days ago. Try starting a gratitude journal! This allows your mind to focus on all the amazing things happening in your life right now.
Putting yourself down
When we put ourselves down through negative self-talk, whether it’s to ourselves or to others, we are damaging our self-confidence. We are opening up opportunities for others to put us down as well. One of the main reasons that we put ourselves down is because we lack self-love and confidence in our abilities. We really are own worst critics. Instead of understanding our own limitations and differences, we focus on our flaws and what we do wrong. Let’s stop thinking the worst about ourselves and begin loving ourselves more instead. Start investing time in the things that bring you happiness — whether it’s good friends who lift you up, or an activity that makes you feel like the best you. This is going to help raise your self-esteem and self-value as you pursue happiness. Let’s be honest, life is hard, and we’re all trying our best. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back more often (and others while we’re at it!).
I can genuinely admit I tend to overthink many things in my life. Was that project I just turned in the best it could have been? Did that text I sent earlier come across in the right tone? It’s so easy to get caught up in overthinking everything, especially over the trivial things that won’t matter in the long run. A lot of us struggle with the inability to get out of our own heads, and this can leave us constantly anxious and emotional distressed. Overthinking is a vicious cycle that many of us can benefit from breaking.
If you find the quality of your life to be affected by overthinking, there are simple ways to overcome it. First, acknowledge when you’re thinking too much about things you can’t control. Build confidence in who you are so that you can stand firmly behind the choices you make without questioning if they are right. Just as with living in the past, focus on practicing mindfulness. Try to commit to being in the here and the now. Earlier this year, we shared more ways on how to overcome the dilemma of overthinking.