Whoever you are, wherever you are, people strive to be better and to live better. We all want to feel satisfied and happy in our lives and in our relationships. Oftentimes, we fail to recognize the small things that get in the way of our own emotional prosperity. These ten toxic habits could be keeping you from living your best and happiest life.
1. You compare yourself to others
It’s true when they say that comparison is the thief of joy. The grass doesn’t get greener by staring over your neighbor’s fence – it gets greener when you care for your own lawn instead of wasting energy wishing for things you didn’t have. Instead, appreciate what you do have and cultivate your strengths.
2. You’re unsatisfied
If you are constantly unsatisfied with your job, your family, your circumstances and ultimately your life, you fail to give yourself an opportunity to truly live in the moment and express gratitude. It’s good to strive for more – but don’t let your desire for better things poison your present. It is possible to be satisfied with your life and still want to improve.
3. You complain a lot
Nobody likes to be around someone who complains a lot. Nothing kills the energy in a group more than a negative Nancy. We know this as it applies to our social circles – don’t be that person for yourself. Even if no one is around, you drag yourself down when you complain more than you talk about anything else – it’s toxic. Either fix it, change it, remove it from your life, or accept it and move on.
4. You make excuses
Being able to blame someone for your problems is satisfying at the moment but it does nothing to develop a sense of accountability and independence. As you learn to take responsibility for your own mistakes you will become more capable of solving your own problems. As a result, you’ll also feel happier and more satisfied with your life.
5. You’re always waiting
We’ve all fallen victim to the “I’ll be happy when…” thought process. It’s easy to think that if only we had a better job, more vacation time, less responsibility, more responsibility (you can insert literally any situation) that we will magically become happier. The secret is that happiness is not a result of circumstance, it’s something we create. Don’t wait around for it, it won’t come on its own.
6. You worry about things you can’t control
There’s no denying that the world is a scary place and the future is always uncertain. However, when you worry about things beyond your sphere of influence you are adding unnecessary stress to your life. Focus on what you can do – volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about or work on improving yourself. Feel the satisfaction that comes as you direct your emphasis towards smaller efforts and achievements.
7. You neglect your health
If you want to feel better about yourself and your life, take care of yourself. You don’t have to go on a strict diet or join a cross-fit club – simply incorporate healthy, balanced meals and regular exercise habits. You’ll feel better and your body will thank you.
8. You lack meaningful connections
While everyone needs alone time, too much isn’t good. Humans need interaction and if you aren’t getting it, you’ll notice a lack. If you notice you spend the majority of your time alone, try meeting up with a close friend or call a family member. Take small steps to get out more. Lessen your screen time and place more value on deeper associations. This also applies if you notice that you spend all of your time socializing and partying but don’t take the time to really get to know people. A few good friends go a long way.
9. You stay inside all day
Many studies have shown that being outside is beneficial to your health and overall wellness. You might not be able to fit in a mountain getaway into your schedule, but visiting a nearby park and sitting among grass and trees can help you with feelings of anxiety, depression, and can even strengthen your immune system (Metzger, 2014).
10. You don’t listen to yourself
Perhaps one of the biggest habits to get in the way of your own happiness is to value the opinion of others (whether that be your family or societal expectations) above your own. This is your life – feel passion for it! Be confident enough in yourself to seek after what you want and listen to your gut. No matter your circumstance, happiness is hard to find if you are not living authentically.
Metzger, C. (2014, September 29). 5 (Scientific!) Reasons Getting Outside is Good for You. Retrieved April 3, 2018, from Health: http://www.health.com/mind-body/health-benefits-of-nature