Just like time flies when you’re having fun, the days can feel endlessly long when you’re stuck in bed, sick. Sure, catching up on your Netflix queue is fun at first. But when you find yourself refreshing your social media feeds every 5 minutes because the only other option is staring at the ceiling, it’s time for some entertainment.
Luckily for most people, that’s when you start to recover from the flu or whatever virus has been bugging you. But when you’re living with chronic illness, injury or disability, you might not feel well enough to pick up your usual routines and hobbies again. Instead, life may feel like you’re trapped in Groundhog Day – and not a happy one.
Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.
— Chinese proverb
In recent years, we’ve learned to be selective about what we put into our bodies. After all, “we are what we eat”, and the food we consume forms the building blocks of our bodies and health. But how many of us ever stop to think about what we put into our minds every day?
Like the Chinese proverb above explains, we are shaped by our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. When you’re scared, angry, excited or in love, those thoughts and emotions trigger the release of specific neurotransmitters. These chemical messengers tell your body how to respond to the situation at hand – freeze, fight, flight, make love.
Much of the time, your thoughts cause temporary physiological changes, like that rush of dopamine you feel when you score a goal. But when something becomes a mental habit – like constant worrying or practicing gratitude every day – the patterns of neural activity sculpt your brain in more permanent ways. Busy regions in your brain will form new connections, which makes those neurological pathways stronger and more receptive to that specific mix of neurochemicals.
What’s more, what you repeatedly think shapes your deepest beliefs about yourself and the world. Your beliefs steer your actions, and regular actions become the habits that mold your daily life and (in part) your health.
That’s why a thought isn’t just a thought – it has the power to transform your life.
But your thoughts usually don’t appear out of nowhere. They don’t exist in a vacuum either. Your ideas, intentions, opinions, feelings and worries are sparked by the available input around you. The magazines you’re reading, the articles you’re browsing online and the TV shows you watch every week – they all have an impact on your thought patterns, mood, brain chemistry and corresponding physiological reactions.
And now that we’re bombarded with more information than ever before in history, it’s become even more important to mind your mental diet. But in a world filled with both chocolate bars and brain candy, what does a healthy mental diet look like? How can you nourish your mind with ‘nutrient-rich input’ and consume less ‘empty mental calories’?
This article was written by Alice Yoon from ThesisRush.
Everyone’s got bad habits, especially in the digital age, working on online platforms. We know them and despite knowing the consequences of tagging them along, we always find ourselves struggling to stop them. Why stop them? It’s fun to binge-watch Netflix, to browse Instagram and Facebook all day long, or to go online shopping at late hours. In addition, you may be forced to check your email periodically throughout the day.
But these online habits are bad for you. The things mentioned above will lead to eye strain, emotional problems like depression, poor sleeping habits, negative body image, decreased focus and mental energy, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it?
It is not easy to get rid of these harmful online habits, but it is possible. Actually, most of the things we do each day are not out of a decision we have made. They are something that has become a habit. We just find ourselves doing things that we would otherwise not do because they were not in the plan. If you want to get out of this, here are 6 ways to beat bad online habits.
“Don’t take pictures mama – push my swing?“, my two-year old quietly asked when we were visiting the playground recently. Now I had given her my undivided attention all morning until that point. Still, my daughter’s message hit home: stop looking at your screen and enjoy what’s happening right in front of you. Experience … Read more >
Have you ever heard of the Happiness Ratio? Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson found that we need 3 positive emotions for every negative 1 to stay emotionally healthy. That’s easier said than done when you’re chronically ill and your days are filled with painful symptoms, doctor’s visits and social isolation.
Fortunately, there are two things you can do to boost your mood: do more things you enjoy or make the things you do more enjoyable. How? By purposely sprinkling simple pleasures throughout your day.
As it happens, happiness research also suggests that when it comes to happiness, frequency beats intensity. In other words: you don’t have to tick audacious goals off your bucket list in order to feel good; savoring tiny moments of bliss will do.
To do that, you could make a list of 31 little things that make you happy and actively try to do one of those simple pleasures every day. Here are some ideas to get you started:
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