What I do every day is determining what direction I’m going in.
If every day, I do things which are not beneficial for me and others in the long run, I will go in the direction I don’t want to go in.
If every day, I do things which are beneficial for me and others in the long run, I will go in the direction I want to go in.
There are several things which a person can do which have been proven by science to improve well-being and sense of happiness, such as:
- Cold showers
- Breathing exercises (e.g. Wim Hof method)
- Waking up at regular times
- A balanced and healthy diet
For me, making these things an everyday habit had amazing benefits. Being more present, feeling happier, feeling less stress, being more productive, improving relationships just to name a few.
I think positive habits are important because each one of us has a negative side, which has the potential for actions which are detrimental to us and others. Solid, positive habits remind us of the value of positive actions and provide us with a system for moving in a positive direction.
I recommend you try it out for a week, it might just change your life. Choose the light.
One of the biggest challenges I faced throughout my life was being stuck in negative thought spirals.
When I was younger, I sometimes spent weeks in loops of health-related worry. People tried to explain to me how useless it is to obsess over something that is beyond my control. I didn’t see it. I remained stuck in my head.
I cared about those negative thoughts, I allowed them to shock me, I invested energy into them. I was living an illusion that I’m solving a problem by endless thinking. This made those unpleasant thoughts bigger. This made a habit of obsessing over negative content of the mind grow stronger.
Recently, I began realising that thoughts are just ideas… movies… images… products of an extremely complex human mind.
Remembering this is a way to not get lost in them. Have the perspective to see what you’re investing your time into right now. And ask yourself, is this how I want to use my time?
When I engage in worrying, I’m actually rejecting reality. I choose to focus on thoughts which are just images in my head, an expression of a mind which is incredibly complex, instead of focussing on what’s around me in the present, on reality.
When knowing this is not enough to keep my worry in check, I try to ask myself the following questions:
In my past, how many times did the things I was worried about later happen?
What is investing energy into unpleasant thoughts (which are not real) actually giving me?
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
When tomorrow comes, I will deal with the challenges of tomorrow. Today is a time to focus on today.
A year and a half ago, when I was in India, every evening I sat outside and discussed deep subjects with my friends. One night, the topic of cheerfulness came up. The prevailing opinion in the group was that we have a duty to be positive towards others. That even when we are having a bad day, we should make an effort to be nice towards others, making them feel good.
My reaction was that… it’s bullshit. I thought it’s a dishonest approach. I thought that by not expressing my feelings at a given moment, I am disregarding what is best for me and doing something to my detriment. At the time, I liked the idea that to take care of others. I need to take care of myself first and what’s a better way to take care of myself than being an honest person and expressing how I feel?
I recently discovered that I was completely wrong.
It comes down to this. When we feel bad, it’s usually because our emotions tell us that. That’s why it’s called “feeling bad”, not “thinking bad”. Since our emotions tell us how to feel, how we feel is not directly in our control. And so giving into our feelings and letting them make us act in a given way is surrounding to our weak, irrational self.
I think the much better approach is to take control of our actions, be above what our emotions dictate us and instead, base actions on values and principles. Act like the people that we are striving to become. Because only if we act like our ideals tell us, we are moving towards those ideals.
And for me, possibly the most important of those ideals, is trying to have the best impact I can on others. Not surrounding to my weak, emotional self.