Do you want to be happier in life? Needless to say, few people would say they don’t! But are you doing what you can to achieve that goal or are there things stopping you?
Many of the things that prevent you from finding happiness are not the things that you lack, but the things that you continue to hold on to even when you are just caught. This is how experts reveal 9 things to put aside to be happier.
1. The need for constant comfort
Do you usually stay within your comfort zone at all times? There is nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying what is familiar, but feeling uncomfortable should not be something that you consider inherently bad. Sometimes the fear of stepping out of that perceived safety zone can be what keeps you from becoming as happy as possible.
Sascha Ballach, who wrote Get Out of Your Comfortzone, states that a lack of comfort does not mean a lack of security. To grow and feel free, you must wear your positive thinking cap and dare to get out of what you are used to from time to time. Great progress and genuine happiness involve taking risks every now and then, even if it makes you uncomfortable!
Many people are very critical, both of themselves and of others. The problem is that judgment is always a sign of a tumultuous inner world. The judgment you impose on others is a projection of the same judgment that you impose on yourself, and a life like this exhausts positive thinking.
Roland Alexander, Ph.D. affirms that a lot of negative judgments, both towards oneself and towards others, can lead to suffocation of potential. It means a lot of negative focus on weaknesses over strengths. So focus on building what you’re good at, and when you’ve finally understood that your weaknesses don’t define you, you can start working on your flaws as well. Let go of judgment to reach your true potential!
3. Unhealthy habits
Most people are fully aware when something they do is not the healthiest thing to do, but they continue anyway because it seems harmless enough. Unfortunately, there are often some vestiges of guilt left, and those parts can accumulate in stress. And even those who don’t feel that guilt in any significant way aren’t immune to the negative effects that come with those habits anyway!
Cognitive Psychologist Sarah C. McEwen recommends working to give up or at least reduce the frequency of unhealthy habits. Although it may be difficult at first, even working on one or two bad habits can make a significant difference to long-term happiness. For example, you can:
- Apply strict bedtime schedules to stop staying up late
- Limit alcohol consumption to once a week.
- Limit caffeine consumption to a cup a day
- Work to stop acts such as nail biting or hair pulling
- Choose a hobby to replace the time spent on something that is not healthy
Every human being on this planet is going through their own personal growth, and most of them do not share their setbacks and struggles with the world. As such, if you are constantly looking for people who seem to be better than you, you will always find them and always drag yourself down in the process.
When you compare yourself to others, you forget that it is like apples to oranges. Your life and your experiences are wildly different from anyone else’s, and theirs are just as different from anyone else’s. This comparison forgets to remember the uniqueness of your personal journey and how only you matter in your own growth.
Worse still, this type of comparison is a cycle. It comes from personal problems, and when you make these comparisons, you create more of those problems and increase their severity. Judith Orloff, MD, author of Emotional Freedom, states that comparing yourself to others can stem and lead to:
- Lack of focus and progress on a personal path.
- Lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem.
- Decreased confidence in yourself and your abilities.
- Reduced focus on your own growth
5. Trust in social networks
Social media allows people to present their best selves, which often generates feelings of:
- Scared of getting lost
- Anxiety or social pressure
- Desire for validation
In fact, numerous studies have found links between poor mental health and social media use, indicating that, in excess and unfiltered, too many social media can ruin your positive thinking.
While it’s okay to use social media to keep in touch with close friends, seeking external validation through social media is much less productive, says Jennifer Musselman, a therapist. He adds that it is difficult to maintain this kind of drive and desire for likes and validation online, and it is much wiser to put this need aside and try to build self-esteem internally.
Are you often overwhelmed by all the things you’ve committed to, the promises you’ve made, and the supposed favors you’re keeping? It’s time to learn to let go of the need to please others, so that you can start by saying “no” every now and then.
Kevin Gilliland, clinical psychologist, says that limits are extremely important for this. You must realize that you have a lot of control over your life and time – more than you originally thought! It’s okay to say “no”, draw lines about what you won’t do, and not need a big explanation as to why you don’t want to do something.
7. Negative thoughts
Many of us have negative thoughts, and these can overwhelm and interrupt positive thinking quite quickly. Learning to release and let go of that negativity can do wonders for you and your personal progress!
Clinical and Forensic Neuropsychologist Judy Ho, who published a book on how to stop the act of self-sabotage, says that it is important to begin to learn to effectively spread negative thoughts. She recommends changing thought relationships by challenging our way of thinking. Here’s how to do it:
- 1: When faced with a negative thought, stop it first.
- 2: Ask yourself if negative thinking is an accurate representation of true and complete objective reality.
- 3: If the negative thought represents a factual reality, use “yes, but” to add positive connotations or indications of true progress to the negativity; for example, “Yes, I skipped exercise today, but eating healthy has been great for me and I’m going to the gym tomorrow.”
- 4: If the negative thought is not factual, you should use the “tagging” tactic to identify a negative and false thought and strip it of its power; for example, “This is a toxic thought!”
Keep in mind that this does not mean that you should suppress negative thoughts. You need to recognize and address them to decide what to do with them! And, if necessary, there are there is no shame in taking the time to express yourself or even cry. Research indicates that crying, when relevant, has a positive effect on stress and can even be therapeutic!
8. Shame about food
Many people have anxious or worried thoughts about their diet. If you’ve been counting calories, feeling guilty about eating less healthy treats, and denying even the smallest sweets only to give in to cravings and binges much later, it’s time to put food embarrassment aside!
Fork The Noise founder and registered dietitian Lisa Hayim explains that these kinds of anxious and stressed thoughts when eating are immensely bad for happiness. Stress hormones run amok and your sympathetic nervous system kicks in, preventing you from making good, empowered, and fair decisions.
Learning to trust your body and listen to it is essential. It tells you how much he wants and when, if you just pay attention. If you need more help staying grounded in your relationship with food, you may want to try a practice known as mindful eating, which has been shown to have multiple positive effects on the body and mind.
Marsha Hudnall, President and Registered Dietitian, Center for Mindful Eating says mindful eating involves being intentionally present during food-related interactions. Pay attention to what you eat and drink and what you think and feel as it happens, and it can make eating more enjoyable and less stressful. Here are some tips for mindful eating, according to Hudnall:
· Savor your food!
Don’t gobble it all up quickly, really enjoy the textures, flavors, and even the look of the food you eat.
Listen to your body
Your body will inform you when you start to feel full, when you start to feel hungry, and even when you like or dislike certain types of foods.
Don’t limit yourself to a schedule
If your body wants to stop eating in the middle of lunch only to ask for more food an hour later, listen to it!
Don’t judge the food
No food is inherently bad; They are all different and you can decide which components you want in your body by choosing foods that align with what you want and need.
Sometimes, you’ll have setbacks where you know you ate something that you wanted to stop eating altogether. Don’t be ashamed, just learn! What made you decide to eat that thing? Was there a trigger? How can you handle that trigger and replace that food with something better?
People make excuses all the time as to why they are not doing their best, why they are not taking advantage of an opportunity, or why they had to give something up. While it’s okay to know your limits and rationally understand when it’s time to walk away, it’s not okay to use excuses as a substitute for a valid reason.
Lead From Within CEO and President Lolly Daskalm, also an author, makes it clear that if you really want to do something, you will get it. The things that are most important to you are those that you will find a way to get to. Settling for less and making excuses means it didn’t matter enough on your priority list, and if you don’t like that fact, then it’s time to stop making those excuses!
Most people I want to be happy, but few really understand how to get there. It may seem overwhelming at first, but start by looking inward and find the things that it is time to release. Letting go can be cathartic and can be the catalyst for your ability to finally feel the happiness you seek!