Our physical and mental wellbeing can be affected by many things, but there are ways to improve both. By making simple changes we can enrich our lives with more of what’s important, clear the “chatter” in our brain, brought on by information overload and live a healthier, wealthier life. Read on and find what I’ve been incorporating into my life to improve my wellbeing.
1. Stop listening to the news
This is number one on the list because if there’s one thing that can harm your wellbeing and psychological health it’s taking negativity on board. Admittedly, if you’re going to reduce or cut out your news intake then you’ll have to commit to it as we’re bombarded constantly. If a news bulletin comes on when you’re in the car, turn the volume down on the radio. Whilst you might feel it necessary, (and normal) to stay up to date with current affairs around the world, remember that the main news channels promote an exaggerated, biased viewpoint to meet rating criteria and publish negative images as a form of fearmongering.
If I happen to inadvertently hear the news, or part of it, I always ask myself “why did I need to know that? I don’t know the people involved so what can I take from the information? I must admit, I used to be a news buff and become fixated with certain articles, and follow the story as it unfolded. I’ve since realised the negative impact it was having on my wellbeing. I’m an empath (basically, an emotional sponge) so hearing sad news stories really affects me emotionally.
I would listen to the news whilst driving to work (because like everyone else I’ve been brainwashed into thinking I must know what’s happening in the world). Once I’d heard all the negative news stories, I would continue on with my day with a less than positive mindset, emotionally disturbed and with lingering thoughts of death and destruction. Not the best start to the day.
If you have children, it’s a good idea to protect them from hearing unnecessary negativity and keep their young, impressionable minds from being corrupted as much as possible. If someone starts to tell you about something they’ve heard in the news, just stay “stop, I don’t want to know about it“. You’ll be surprised how often you need to do this as inherently, people just can’t help wanting to talk about the news. I know, I used to be exactly the same.
The more we’re subjected to negative news stories the more fearful we become of day-to-day living with an over-blown or distorted vision of the “big, bad world” we live in. Next time you hear the news, focus on how it made you feel, how it’s affected you emotionally and what you can take forward into your day from it. Do something positive today – turn off the news. Of course, cheerful news is allowed!
2. Take 3 deep cleansing breaths
On average we take 25,920 breaths a day, all of which are taken for granted as our body just gets on with it. I’ve become more conscious of my breathing recently and I’ve been taking three cleansing breaths every morning after reading about the benefits. Our breathing is, of course, being monitored constantly by our brain and is (amongst other things), a complex process of the tightening and relaxing of our “breathing muscles” Also, as our breathing pattern alters due to anxiety, upset or exercise our brain is essentially deciphering how our body needs to react or respond to the cause.
Three cleansing breaths will drench the cells of your body with oxygen which is said to improve both cardiovascular and reproductive health. It also helps to trigger a feeling of calm.
Remember, a healthy person’s blood is already rich in oxygen with around a 95-100% saturation level, so you only need three cleansing breaths – It’s not recommended to continue with more. However, it is good to become conscious of your breathing in general. Try and get your regular breath into your belly (not just your chest) a few times throughout the day.
Want to start your day with some feel-good endorphins? Here’s what I do…
I like to take my cleansing breaths in my garden, first thing in the morning when I let my dogs out. I consciously breathe in the fresh, morning air deep into my belly and hold for 4 seconds. I then purse my lips together to control my breath as it leaves my body and repeat this a further two times. You can do this anywhere or anytime but preferably the cleaner the air, the better. Try it and see if you feel a change in your wellbeing.
To get an extra boost of oxygen on the go, find out how I got on with Boost Oxygen – said to be Hollywood’s best-kept beauty secret!
3. Declutter your inbox
What’s this got to do with improving your wellbeing? I hear you ask. You’ll be surprised. If you’re someone who feels overwhelmed by a lot of incoming information then decluttering your inbox might help. Mine was home to thousands upon thousands of emails, important/junk/spam/unread you name it. I always had a very large number notification shining away on my email app on my phone which was a constant reminder of the chaos. I would miss emails as they mingled in with all the others and this carried on for far longer than it should’ve.
Finally, I decided to face it and set the time aside to log onto my email accounts on my laptop and really get to grips with it. I flagged important emails then bulk deleted pages and pages of read emails. I then looked at my junk folder and blocked all the spam senders. Next UNSUBSCRIBE this is the best thing you can do for your inbox. Ever since the world went crazy about GDPR we now have the ability to hit unsubscribe. This is a gift from the gods so do make use of it.
Now my inbox only contains emails from friends/family/PR and a few beauty and fashion brands which I allow. I’m now able to monitor my emails and respond without feeling overwhelmed by so many unread or spam messages. If your inbox/s isn’t such a problem, apply the decluttering technique to other areas of your technological life and free up some memory – in more ways than one!
4. Stop wasting your money on pointless “stuff”
Are you fuelling consumerism? Ever looked around your house and thought to yourself, all this clutter used to be my money? If so, start changing your mindset today. During the latter part of the year, I became more and more aware of my spending habits, turning pointless purchases into considered ones and cutting down on the mindset of leaving the house, and needing to return with “stuff”. I’m leaning towards a minimalistic lifestyle and learning to live with less Find out how I’m achieving it.
A positive to take from this new way of life is seeing my money remain in my bank account. This has done absolute wonders for my wellbeing and I’d highly recommend you try it. I live by the rule “if you stop spending money on things you don’t need, you’ll have more money for things you do need” Consider every non-essential purchase and ask yourself “Do I actually need this”? Before heading to the till. My previous mindset was the using the below issues…
I used to “pop” into Homesense and leave an hour and a half later, yes you read that correctly. I’d come out pleased as punch, with my purchases, loaded up with items such as plastic articles to store avocado or lemons in. Of course, I’ve not used said article and the one time I did, my avocado half was as blackened as it is when I store it in cling film so again, a pointless purchase. Another example – all kinds of bits and bobs to use for my blog photography but what a waste of my money! I already have plenty of items around my home perfectly suitable for my photos and actually, Less faff often works better for my photography these days. I’ve stopped wasting my money on pointless purchases and I’m now far better off – both physically (more money), and mentally – (no guilt).
Another mantra to live by “it’s not your salary making you rich, it’s your spending habits“.
5. Try being nothing but positive at least once a week for a whole day.
I’m guilty of being on the negative side as a person but I’m fully aware of it and I’m taking steps to alter my mindset. For example, we live rurally which involves navigating narrow lanes on a daily basis. More often than not when I’m driving I find myself ranting at other drivers, particularly those who can’t (or won’t) reverse! I’m pretty sure I’m not alone there. Try “thought stopping” – when a negative notion pops into your head, check yourself and literally stop the negative thought in its tracks. You can even physically say stop if you prefer.
My teenage daughter is often sitting next to me in the car, taking in any negative rants. However, she will always question my voice, rationalising the other person’s behaviour in a way only she can. I always counter with – wait until you start driving, you’ll feel my frustrations”. My aim is to try stopping negative thoughts before they manifest and be a little more patient with people, checking myself every time I feel the need to berate other drivers; I mean, I’m not exactly perfect myself!
What do you do to improve your wellbeing? If you have any tips of your own then please do share them. I’d love to know what works for you.