Make These Changes to Improve Your Life and Foster Happiness

Who doesn’t want a better life? Regardless of how happy or healthy we are, there’s always room for improvement. Tackling bad habits and replacing them with healthy actions can go a long way toward improving your life and boosting your happiness, but it can be tough to know where to start.

Approaching self-improvement from the position that something about you is “wrong” or “broken” isn’t going to get you very far. Creating a better life isn’t about fixing yourself. Instead, try to acknowledge what is no longer serving you so you can leave it behind and open up space for behaviors, habits, and thoughts that make you feel your best! To help you along the way, counselor Shasta Hickman shares a handful of habits to avoid so you can improve your life.

Don’t Give Up

When life gets tough, how do you respond? Do you crawl into bed and shut out the world? Or do you press on and look for ways to feel better? While giving up can feel a lot more

comfortable in the moment, it will hurt you in the long run. Talking to a counselor like Shasta Hickman can help you confront the “I give up” mentality and find the motivation to overcome feelings of overwhelm.

Working with a mental health professional will also help you determine if something is causing your feelings of defeat so you can take action. For example, you might discover that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is contributing to your negative feelings. In this case, exercising, taking vitamin D, and spending time outside can help you beat the winter blues!

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

The fear of failure can paralyze us from taking action. But when we allow fear to stop us from moving forward, we miss out on some wonderful opportunities. According to Mind Tools, fear of failure tends to create problems with procrastination, self-sabotage, anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, and a reluctance to try new things. Reducing your fear of failing is key to improving your life. Try to think positively, get comfortable with discomfort, and recognize that the worst-case scenario won’t kill you.

Don’t Limit Yourself

 It’s true that change is hard, but sometimes we need change to move forward so we can be our best selves. This applies in many areas of our lives, from work to relationships to friendships. Determining what doesn’t serve us and moving toward that which does can be transformative, so don’t hold yourself back!

If your job gives you the Sunday Scaries, what can you do to make it better? Talk to your supervisor, find a new job or go back to school for a degree that can change your entire career. Do you have a friend who feels like a psychic vampire? If you dread spending time with them, it’s time to eliminate this toxic friendship or at least let it take a backseat. The same applies for a partner who doesn’t light your flame anymore or who you feel is holding you back. You get this one life, right? Make it work for you!

Don’t Underbreathe

Did you know that the way you breathe can contribute to stress? Headspace explains that shallow breathing—that is, drawing a minimal amount of air into the lungs—triggers the nervous system to prime us for a fight or flight response. Over time, shallow breathing can cause fatigue, muscle tension, changes in posture, and high blood pressure. Deep breathing, on the other hand, has the opposite effect on the mind and body. Try to get in the habit of breathing deep into your diaphragm. If your stomach moves when you breathe, you’re doing it right!

Don’t Overstimulate Your Brain

Many of us are overstimulated on a daily basis. Constantly bombarding your brain with sights, sounds, and information can hurt your ability to focus, reduce your attentional capacity, cause impatience, and create addictive behaviors. How many times have you checked your phone today? When was the last time you just sat still and did nothing? Try to be conscious of the amount of time you’re spending in front of a screen and be intentional about unplugging to give your senses a break.

Don’t Judge Others

Being more mindful of your thoughts and actions can benefit you in numerous ways. For example, an honest look at how you judge others can help you gain awareness of your own insecurities. We tend to judge people when we’re trying to make ourselves feel better. Gaining this insight can help you feel more empathetic and compassionate towards others, and as a result, see the world in a more positive light.

There are so many ways to embrace self-improvement. However, we often focus on the activities and habits that make our bodies healthier. Although exercising, eating clean, and getting enough sleep are certainly important, caring for your mental health will give you the energy and motivation you need to foster positive change in your life.



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