–Words by Katherine Peach
Spring has sprung and is anyone still begrudgingly clinging to their New Year resolutions? This is the season of reflection and preparation, so take this time to ruminate and reevaluate, looking at those little habits that may be doing more harm than good.
Not only is it a mindless source of entertainment, but they’re costing you valuable time that you could be spending doing something productive or stimulating. Exposing yourself to negative media pressures, whether it’s from magazines or social media, can be detrimental to your mental health. A recent survey of 1500 adults showed that 62% felt inadequacy after using social media, 60% felt jealousy and 30% said they felt lonely.
Instead, why not use the spare time to read a book, or an online blog, something that could make you laugh, teach you something or just generally make you feel better.
You wouldn’t surround yourself with people who make you feel bad about yourself, so why read something that makes you feel the same way?
We all get frustrated by bad drivers, but what does screaming at some stranger behind your shield of glass and metal actually achieve. All our doing is making yourself miserable and putting unnecessary stress on your heart.
Research shows that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to sress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while another suggests that smiling leads to longevity. Research also shows that facial expressions, yours and others, have an impact on the way you feel, even when you don’t realise it.
Unfortunately, you can’t smile your way out of every problem, but by smiling at yourself in the mirror or at a stranger in the street, you might just make the world, and yourself, just that little bit happier.
Aside from the obvious physical health benefits of having a better posture; allowing your organs and nervous system to run more effectiently, and improving certain bodily functions such as digestion, breathing and joint movement. There is also the effect good posture has on your mental health. A study found that students who walked in a slouched position reported increased feelings of depressive moods. This is one of many studies that has shown a link between depression and bad posture. Slouching can also affect how people see you, and therefore treat you. When you are slouching or slumped over at work or school, people may perceive you as lazy or inefficient.
Rehashing stressful events
Thinking about a stressful event from your past whether it was five years ago or five minutes ago isn’t good for your psychological well-being. A 2017 study found that ruminating leads in increased depressive symptoms. It is easier said than done, to not think about anything negative that happened in your past, but moving forward, be aware of how much time you spend thinking about the stressful events in your life. So instead of spending time thinking about negative things you can’t change, focus of planning for the future or enjoying the moment in front of you.
Not regularly decluttering
Apart from the obvious annoyance and inconvenience of having lots of stuff all around you, not having a regular declutter can have a negative impact of your mental health. Whether at home, in your car or at your desk at work, people regularly avoid decluttering. And I can understand why, but aside from the physical aspects, useful clutter can make you feel weighed down and mental blocked, making it even harder to be productive in your day to day life.
Not ever saying ‘No’
It can be tempting to feel like you always have to please people by taking on their favours, but sometimes you just have to say no to free up your time and declutter your mental resources. “Not being able to say ‘no’ makes most people feel bad, which isn’t good for their mental health,” says motivational speaker and life coach Steve Siebold over email. “The key is to be generous, yet selective with your time. Don’t feel guilty about saying ‘no.’
Never accepting compliments
I know as well as the next person that it can be awkward or uncomfortable to accept compliments. But this is something we must try and get past. Aside from the fact that you’re missing out on the wonderful feeling of getting a compliment. The more you push these words of positivity and admiration away, the more your mind will focus on the negative things you see within yourself. Instead of shrugging off these compliments, why not start taking in these compliments and in some time you’ll start to believe in these things yourself. You are a beautiful, smart, bold, fabulous person, let yourself believe it!