Hey Psych2goers! Hope things are going well.
Have you ever wondered if you could do anything to improve your day-to-day life? Maybe just to wake up happier or appreciate each day even more? Well, we’ve got you covered! There are some things we do that we may not even realize could ruin our lives. They might perpetuate negative thinking or cloud some of the good things right in front of us. With that, here are 5 harmful things that may be ruining your life.
1. A lack of creativity
In the midst of work, assignments, and responsibilities, do you neglect being creative? Bypassing creativity throughout your day could actually worsen your quality of life.
An article from Bright Side says that creativity can reduce stress levels and depression if you practice it regularly (Bright Side). According to ICS Digital Therapies, being creative lets dopamine–a feel good chemical–surge in our brain and can thereby boost our mood (ICS Digital Therapies 2019).
Now, when we say creativity, we don’t necessarily mean anything elaborate. Activities such as scrapbooking and cooking an elaborate meal are lovely, but quicker activities such as coloring, meditating, and dancing work just as well! Being creative is a fun way to take care of your mental health and make your life better almost instantaneously.
2. An external measure of fulfillment
When you think of fulfillment, what comes to mind? Recognition? Awards? Money?
While striving for external rewards is normal and motivating, it can also cloud your own happiness and fulfillment. According to Life Hack, when you stay at a job you hate or measure your fulfillment only by money, you might neglect other opportunities to make yourself happy (Imafidon).
We say this with sensitivity because we recognize that not everyone is in a place to work their dream jobs. A portion of success is definitely dependent on a sustainable income, and we don’t want to invalidate those who must have careers they don’t like. However, fulfillment can also come from other avenues such as friendships, time with loved ones, and helping others. We can think of fulfillment like self-worth, and measuring your worth solely by something external, like money, can make you feel like you’ve lost control of your own happiness and self-esteem.
3. Neglecting your own needs
Do you make it a point to eat healthy, get enough sleep, go outdoors, and interact with loved ones throughout the day? Neglecting these needs could be making your life worse.
When we’re bogged down by responsibilities and tasks for other people, it’s easy to forget about ourselves. It can seem trivial to prioritize simple things such as relaxing for an hour each day, getting exercise, or even spending time outside. We’re here to remind you that it’s not trivial and that it might actually make those other tasks go by smoother.
For example, when you eat right, you have more energy, and when you spend time outside, you let Mother Nature relieve some stress, anxiety, and depression (Ontario Parks 2020). As days get busier and more demanding, remember that it is never selfish nor a waste of time to take care of yourself.
4. Negative self-talk
Ever heard of self-talk? It’s essentially the way our thoughts create conversations within our mind and impact our self-esteem. Like most things, self-talk can be positive or negative and can drastically change the way we view ourselves and our lives.
According to Very Well Mind, the effects of negative self-talk can lead to depression, perfectionism, and placing limits on your capabilities (Scott 2020). Understandably, it may seem difficult to try and to stop these thoughts. Though we can’t necessarily control the thoughts that come in, we can minimize the effects by mindfully challenging the negativity and remaining compassionate towards ourselves (Scott 2020).
5. Not being present
Do you find yourself living too much in the past or the future? If so, you might be making your present a little worse.
Though it can be tempting to dwell in the past and fantasize about the future, it takes away from loving and appreciating what we have now. Thinking too much about the past can also limit the way you view the possibilities you have now (Brilaki). If you are too forward focused and accept that happiness will only come later, you neglect the possibility of feeling happy and fulfilled with what you have today.
Some of the best ways to be more present are to practice gratitude every day. Thinking about what you are grateful for in each moment will help you improve your life by acknowledging everything great already in front of you.
We hope you found this helpful in learning about some of the harmful things that could be ruining your life. Could you relate? Did we miss anything? Let us know. Thanks for reading!
- Brilaki M (N.d.). “18 Ways Your Thinking Is Destroying Your Happiness”. Lifehack. Communication, Motivation. Retrieved from www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/18-ways-your-thinking-destroying-your-happiness.html
- “How creativity can improve your mental health”(2019, Sept. 12). ICS Digital Therapies. Retrieved from www.icsdigitaltherapies.com/news/how-creativity-can-improve-your-mental-health/6/
- Imafidon C (N.d.). “15 Ways In Which You Ruin Your Life Even If You Don’t Notice It”. Lifehack. Communication, Motivation. Retrieved from www.lifehack.org/294118/15-ways-which-you-ruin-your-life-even-you-dont-notice
- “Mental health benefits of the outdoors” (2020, Oct.10). Ontario Parks. Healthy Parks Healthy People. Retrieved from www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/mental-health-benefits-outdoors/#:~:text=A%20simple%20stay%20in%20the,your%20mood%20in%20a%20moment.
- Scott E (2020, Feb. 25). “The Toxic Effects of Negative Self-Talk”. Verywell Mind. Situational Stress. Retrieved from www.verywellmind.com/negative-self-talk-and-how-it-affects-us-4161304#:~:text=Basically%2C%20negative%20self%2Dtalk%20is,in%20yourself%20to%20do%20so.
- “6 Unexpected Habits That Ruin Our Lives Every Day” (N.d.). Bright Side. Inspiration. Retrieved from www.brightside.me/inspiration-psychology/6-unexpected-habits-that-ruin-our-lives-every-day-655610/