We all want to lead the happiest, healthiest lives we can. But sometimes our own habits are the culprits preventing us from doing so. You may even already know what your worst habits are – but lack the skills to overcome them. On the other hand, you may be completely unaware of a bad habit you’ve been doing for years. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tweak your day to day and set yourself up for happiness?
Here you’ll find the five most common habits which are preventing your happiness in life, and a few tips on getting around them.
1. A lack of healthy coping mechanisms
When you’re feeling a lot of anxiety or sadness, it’s important to have a healthy way of channeling those emotions. Journaling, a good workout, a relaxing bath, or calling a trusted friend are all great ways to unwind when you’re feeling down. Without healthy coping solutions, you may find yourself keeping those feelings inside or turning to unhealthy methods of channeling the stress, like harmful substances or unhealthy foods.
2. Not getting enough exercise
Yes, exercise is great for your body, but what’s more important in this context is how great it is for your mind. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins while you break a sweat, improving your physical health. Research indicates that in some instances, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants for treating depressive symptoms.
3. Toxic relationships
Friends and family are supposed to enrich each other’s lives, not drain the energy from them. While even healthy relationships have rough patches, it’s worth noting if your relationships are a source of constant strife. This can lead to major stress, anxiety, and sadness. If this is the case, it’s time to make room in your life for people who are more supportive, and who you can support in return.
4. Bottling up your feelings
When you’re having a tough time, it can sometimes be tempting to keep your feelings to yourself. As ‘right’ as it may seem in the moment, bottling up your emotions, is a recipe for misery. Eventually, those feelings could explode at the most unexpected time. You may also find yourself turning those feelings onto yourself and experiencing seemingly inexplicable anger, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
Even though it’s hard to face negative feelings, it’s much more rewarding than carrying them around with you indefinitely. Consider writing down these feelings in a journal, keeping track of what triggers them and what helps you calm down. Also, think about opening up to a close friend or loved one about what you’re going through, or seeking out the help of a mental health professional. You don’t have to struggle alone!
5. Untreated mental health issues
Let’s clarify something right now: you can lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life with mental illness. However, mental illness can hinder your quality of life when you let it go untreated. Seeking out a good mental health professional can make a life-changing difference in your overall happiness, functionality, and health. A great therapist or doctor can diagnose what you’re going through and prescribe a healthy treatment like medication or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They can also help you build a support network and an action plan for days when you’re feeling especially low.