5 Life Changing Habits to Improve Your Life

So maybe you’ve been following some of the great tips shared here at Psych2Go, but want to spice things up even more? Once you get the key tips to having a strong mind down, you can start following a few additional practices to really help turn your life around. Let’s take a look at what they could be! 

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1. Make Your Bed Every Morning

Not to sound parental by any means, but you should definitely try making your bed every morning if it’s not already part of your daily routine. According to exercise physiologist, Jennifer Wasylenko, making your bed every morning can be a great way for a strong start to the day, as it’s the easiest way to achieve an instant feeling of accomplishment. She explains that making your bed “gives you an instant feeling of success… you feel organized and ready to take on the day.” The couple minutes you devote to this daily practice can set the tone for the rest of your day, and can truly contribute to a positive mindset, so why not give it a chance and start every day with positive intentions? Putting your energy towards the right thing at the right time can really pay its worth over time. 

2. Read More Often

I know, these days it gets harder to pick a book as your first piece of entertainment after a long day. You most likely have a binge-worthy show in mind, or a more entertaining video game you’d rather play. But what if I told you that reading can actually be fun? Hear this out. According to a Healthline article reviewed by Heidi Moaward, M.D, the benefits to reading are amazing, including how it stimulates the brain, increases your ability to empathize, helps improve your vocabulary and comprehension, helps alleviate stress, and can prevent age-related cognitive decline. Reading is almost like a form of exercise for your brain, and is a hundred percent worth starting up again for such amazing life-long benefits. So instead of reaching for that T.V remote or tablet next time, grab a book and indulge in it! 

3. Stop Over-Apologizing

Picture this- you need to ask your teacher, or professor, or boss a question, and you approach them with the classic “Sorry to bother you.”- but wait. Why should you be “sorry” to bother them? They’re there to help you, and unless you caught them at the wrong time or a situation in which they are occupied, you can ask them your question without any hesitation or guilt. If you catch yourself doing this, you’re certainly not alone. Everyone can admit to over-apologizing at some point in their lives. But why does this happen in the first place? According to medical director and clinical associate professor of psychiatry, Dr. Joel Young, “People who over-apologize are often anxious and worry about offending everyone around them. They tend to have poor self-esteem… they also may view their relationships as fragile, to the point that one misstep would mean the end of them.” So basically, the need to apologize comes from our inner insecurities and fear of how people view us. But the issue is that trivial scenarios are often unworthy of an apology, and apologies will be taken less seriously the more you apologize when you resort to apologizing so frequently. So when you catch yourself apologizing for something, take a moment to pause and reflect. What are you about to apologize for? Will you and do you have to truly take responsibility for it? Was or is the situation in your control? And most importantly, were you actually in the wrong for your actions? Apologies are so meaningful, but only when you use them when they are needed. When you embrace your imperfections and learn where to draw the line, you will gain more respect for yourself and from others for knowing and understanding your own worth. 

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4. Sleep With Your Phone Away From You

Yes, it can be so tempting to sleep with your phone right by your bed. But whether you realize this or not, your mind will constantly want to check it every once in a while and you’ll be tempted to browse, which can take away from a healthy sleep cycle. Moreover, technological devices are notorious for emitting blue light, which is not exactly the best thing for your eyes to be exposed to for an excessive amount of time. As explained in an article written by ophthalmic research director, David Ramsey, MD, PhD, MPH, being exposed to blue light for long hours before sleep can “disrupt sleep or disturb other aspects of your health or circadian rhythm”. Blue light can have a significant impact on your circadian rhythm, which is responsible for your biological sleep regulation. For those of you that depend on your phones for alarm clocks, keeping it right outside your room can work out even better, as you will have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. Bonus tip, keeping your phone on airplane mode overnight can make it so that you can still use your alarm without being confronted by a ton of emails or notifications first thing in the morning. And if you don’t feel ready to dive in this deep, the best thing you can do to ensure a healthier mind and lifestyle would be to at least cut down on the screen time. This is where the reading and other entertaining and healthy activities come in. Sometimes the right thing is hard to do, but it will certainly be better for you. 

5. Meditate

Meditation may seem overhyped, but it can seriously do wonders for the mind, body, and soul. As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health explains, “meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being”. If sitting still and having to confront your flurry of thoughts intimidates you, just know that mindfulness is a practice that takes time and patience. Start with maybe a five to ten minute session once you wake up in the morning, or before you go to bed. Incorporating meditation into your daily or weekly routine can truly transform your mind positively, reviving it and allowing it to find the strength to battle stress in a far healthier and productive manner. Give it a shot, and you just might be surprised. 

We hope you found these tips helpful. Please be kind to yourself during this process of learning and growth, and as always, good luck with your journey!

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  1. Bialowas, K. (n.d.). 10 Life-Changing Habits To Adopt Today To Start Living Your Best Life. Layered Indulgence. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.layeredindulgence.com/10-life-changing-habits-to-adopt-today-to-start-living-your-best-life/
  2. Breines, J., Ph.D. (2013, June 24). When “I’m Sorry” Is Too Much. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-love-and-war/201306/when-im-sorry-is-too-much
  3. Foroux, D. (2019, September 20). 10 Life-Changing Habits You Can Form in 66 Days. Forge. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://forge.medium.com/10-life-changing-habits-you-can-form-within-66-days-cde61237577
  4. Meditation: In Depth. (2016, April). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth
  5. Ramsey, D., MD, PhD, MPH. (2019, April 8). Will blue light from electronic devices increase my risk of macular degeneration and blindness? Harvard Health Publishing- Harvard Medical School. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/will-blue-light-from-electronic-devices-increase-my-risk-of-macular-degeneration-and-blindness-2019040816365
  6. Stanborough, R. J., MFA. (2019, October 15). Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life. Healthline. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-reading-books
  7. Stop Saying Sorry! Signs You’re an Over-Apologizer. (2017, June 27). A Healthier Michigan. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/06/27/stop-saying-sorry-signs-over-apologizer/
  8. Wasylenko, J., ACSM. (n.d.). After I Read This, I Started to Make My Bed Very Willingly Every Morning. Lifehack. Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-making-your-bed-every-morning-can-improve-your-life.html

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