1) Lose the toxic people
This can be as subtle as unfollowing them on social media, or as bold as stepping back from, or ending a particular friendship or relationship.
There are always going to be negative people in this world, some of whom could be the loveliest of souls – but that doesn’t mean you are obliged to witness their hour long Twitter rant or listen to them slag off their partner every day at work.
And then there are the more obvious people, who really are just assholes; but you hang on like a limpet, because they supposedly bring something ‘meaningful’ to your life. If the negative outweighs the meaningful, it’s time to take a long, hard look at why you are really hanging onto this person. It may be time to let the ocean gently wash you away.
Once you disassociate yourself from toxic people, you will become highly aware of just how badly their negative vibes can affect your state of mind, happiness and wellbeing – like walking into a room filled with poisonous gas, and breathing it in.
2) Spring clean your friendship wardrobe
We grow up believing that the more friends we have, the more successful we are as a human being. Well, this theory is bullshit and as we get older, we realise that quality over quantity is far more meaningful and important.
So why do you still have 500 Facebook friends? Because in reality, just a mere handful will really mean something to you, and vice versa. And those folks who always exaggerate how much they miss you and want to catch up, but bail nearly every time? I hate to break it to you, but they aren’t really your friends at all; they have probably never cleared out their wardrobe, and you equate to one of their old Primark coats, which should have gone to charity two winters ago.
So a little de-clutter every now and then really is good for the mind. You feel liberated and empowered and it may just encourage a spot of personal growth, independence and self love.
3) Ditch the hateful, hurtful media
Stop what you’re doing! Turn off the reality TV shows (which are actually far from real) filled with unnecessary drama and put down the magazines dedicated to body-shaming, bitching and gossip. Surrounding yourself with this kind of negativity is so easy, you’ll not even realise you’re doing it; until you step back and take a good look into your own head. How do you see yourself? Do you love yourself?
Well, if the media has anything to do with it, possibly not. We aren’t born to be so self critical, we are trained to be. We are like poor, helpless circus animals and the media is the mean ring leader holding the giant whip.
Learning to love who you are will not come overnight, it may take years to re-wire your brain, but you can make a start by putting an end to those daily, brutal beatings. You’re a lion; now go maul that ring leader!
Just like when letting go of the toxic people in your life, you will become highly sensitive to the hate, which emanates from the media. So much so, you may even start to feel a slight burning sensation when you pick up one of those magazines in the future.
4) Watch and read less news
Now to some, this may sound rather ignorant. But the news we read and watch on a daily basis is driven by negativity; war, crime, politics, death, corruption, natural disasters, illness. Everyday, we choose to soak in all of this information like concerned little sponges and let the worry and fear permanently weigh us down, but why? On the grand scale of things, there is very little we as individuals can, or are going to do about most of these matters. Watch and read less news and you will begin seeing a more positive side to this confused little planet we call home. You will also sleep better at night, trust me.
5) Digital detox as regularly as possible
Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity. Generally, why do we post things? Because we want likes. What do likes do? They reassure us. They gratify us. They make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This buzz is always short lived, however, so we repeat the cycle, to maintain that ‘positive’ high. What happens when we don’t get the likes that we feel we deserve? We feel a bit disheartened to be honest.
Social media and our beloved smartphones are a sort of love-hate thing for many of us. Yes, they are a fantastic way to stay in contact with people and the world and in this day and age, it can be unrealistic to go offline for good, which is fair enough. So making an effort to have regular detoxes is the next best thing.
Begin small, by having a go at not checking in to a restaurant and instead, turning your phone onto aeroplane mode for a few hours. Then as you progress, maybe you’ll consider not documenting your entire holiday and spamming everyone within reach and one day, you may even just deactivate your Facebook account for a whole month.
6) Do something on your own, by yourself, for yourself
Eat out solo, go to the cinema with yourself, travel, be single. When you come to realise that you can function perfectly on your own, your worries will begin to melt away and you will really start to like yourself and your own company.
7) Be selfless every once in a while
Many people indulge in what they deem as selfless acts, because it indirectly makes them feel better about themselves, thus, not actually being so selfless after all. Next time you do something for someone, question yourself; did you really do it for them, or you? Once you figure out the difference, you will see things from a whole new, positive perspective.
8) Be selfish the rest of the time
Being selfless and helping others is wonderful, but we are all guilty of neglecting ourselves and putting other people’s needs before our own. It is important to remember to look after yourself first, because the positivity and love you create in doing so, can then be mirrored back into your surroundings.
9) Dabble with minimalism
Whenever we get what we want, our brains release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a super supportive guy. He congratulates and rewards us for our actions and generally makes us feel really damn smug. So when you get all giddy about buying those shoes, that’s your pal dopamine saying, ‘OMG! AWESOME!’
Unfortunately, dopamine doesn’t really have time to stick around all that long (he’s a busy guy), so his effect wears off somewhat quickly. What’s more, he’s also quite addictive, so to coax him back, you simply go out and buy a bag, six candles, a new blender and a pet zebra.
Over time, you accumulate a lot of crap. Humans do love to hoard. Minimalism is essentially about keeping dopamine in check. Understanding that what you think you want, isn’t another cactus, but instead, the positive feeling associated with it. When you become more mindful about this, you begin to realise that possessions and what you collect, do not bring you happiness; they are just a quick fix. This then opens you up to the possibility that happiness can come from within. Cheesy, but true.
10) Make your environment a happy, mentally nourishing, safe-haven
Surround yourself with beauty, comfort, warmth, good memories, gorgeous smells, love and colour. Care and respect your environment and it will do the same for you in return.
11) Stop setting unrealistic goals once and for all
New years resolutions, diets, career – anything with a start time and a finish time, is probably unrealistic for the average human being. Why do we set goals? Because as we sit there, listing everything we are most definitely going to succeed in doing, it gives us a sense of purpose, meaning and motivation. Will we see it through? Highly doubtful; unforeseen situations arise, things change, we change. The potential consequences of not seeing these things through? Self doubt, self hate, demotivation, relapse, all round negativity.
Setting strict plans for your life only creates unnecessary commitment, rigidness and restraint. Instead, why not be kind to yourself, learn to accept balance and leave plenty of room for hiccups. Doing this will give you the most wonderful sense of freedom and you are far more likely to remain on track and therefore, stay positive and proactive.