These days it can be hard to find the good in life. The media is consumed with negativity at the moment. This is why it is important to step away and take time to be mindful. I went for a lovely walk at a park. The scenery was beautiful. It made me see the beauty and good of this world. The Earth is quite beautiful if you really look at it. Moments like these bring peace, joy and happiness. Find those moments that bring you these things. Our state of mind is very important. We must remember to remain at peace, so we can continue to live the best way we can. I always find clarity, inspiration and meaning through my walks. Nature is truly a beautiful thing.
It is easy to fall into the trap of negativity these days, so much is going on that can cultivate negative feelings, emotions and behaviors. We must remember that we have to take care of our minds and bodies. A stressed or negative mind and body can’t solve anything or make a change. Taking care of your mental health is important. So being aware of what cultivates negativity and how it can be avoided is a good step towards a more content and peaceful life.
Negative thoughts, feelings and emotions are ubiquitous, but there are ways you can avoid having them rule your life. There are triggers that can cultivate a negative mindset and lifestyle. I wanted to list a couple of things that promote a negative mindset/lifestyle. The best thing for your well-being is to steer clear of these things as much as possible. I just want you to be aware of the things that create a negative world, so that you can figure out ways to avoid falling into this trap. You may not be able to control negativity all the time, but you can learn to alleviate these negative thoughts/behaviors/habits most of the time if one becomes more aware of these habits.
Ways that create negativity:
Judging looking down on others, talking about others, questioning others lifestyle. This mindset is not helpful for you at all. Focusing on oneself is most important.
Complaining Leads to no solution
Reactive behavior Being cut off in traffic, arguments, angry outburst ,annoyance, someone saying things you don’t like, or does things you don’t like. This can all make one react in a negative manner. It is best at times like these to step back and take breaths. These reactions can cause stress to the mind and body and raise one’s blood pressure, so it is best to avoid these reactions as much as you can.
Gossiping Wasting energy on others does nothing fulfilling or satisfying for oneself. This just promotes a judgmental mentality. Using your time to promote self-growth, learn, talk about insightful, in-depth topics.
Comparisons Looking at the positive of others and focusing on the negative of ourselves. People tend to focus on what we don’t have that others do. Try focusing on what you have that others may not have. No one is perfect. Comparisons can be problematic.
Victim mentality leads to no solution, one can’t improve or change with this mindset. Blaming others, circumstances, and the world takes the power away from you. I am not saying blame yourself, but one must remember that we have control of certain things in life. This mentality reduces that power. People with this mentality tend to feel helpless and the reality is that they are not.
Criticism This is towards oneself and others. It can lead or be a result of low confidence, or self-acceptance/love.
Controlling mindset The need to control others and the world around you is impossible and unrealistic. This can lead to a very stressed and angry individual. You can only control your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Let the rest be.
News/SNS We all know these things can be triggers, especially these days.
Pessimistic mindset Ah yes, the half glass full mindset. Focusing on the bad, negative and wrongs of the world.
It is easy for humans to focus on the negatives. From an evolutionary standpoint it makes sense. It was needed to ward off any foreign dangers, predators, other tribes, dangerous foods/plants. It makes sense that our brains are wired to focus on the negatives, but these days most of our negative thoughts are not cultivated from dangerous situations. They are just perceived that way. This is why it is so much harder to be positive.
Negative thinking is hard to avoid, but we do have control of how we perceive things in life. There are ways to promote a healthier, more positive mindset. I know this is repetitive, as I mentioned these a lot before, but it is important to keep mentioning it, so that these habits become habitual to live life with a more peaceful and positive mindset.
Ways to avoid negativity:
Take breaths Just stop and take deep breaths. This can help calm your negative thoughts and emotions. I always feel a sense of calmness doing this.
Take mindful breaks This is always helpful for me when I am consumed with so much information and negativity from the online world. Just getting back to yourself can create such peace and happiness.
Write down negative thoughts I saw this somewhere online, during my research. I thought this approach was interesting. Visually seeing your negative thoughts can be powerful. Letting it out on paper and to the world. Can put the negativity away from you and to these words on paper.It helps release the negative energy within you. Seeing your thoughts on paper may motivate oneself to change your perspective. I may try this one in the future.
Meditate Always a helpful tool when stressed, feeling down, or when negative thoughts consume oneself.
Exercise Known to reduce stress and depression. Gives one a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Go outside/walk in nature Something that is very helpful for myself. I always get a sense of peace coming back from a walk.
Change your language Avoid can’t,won’t, never, always, life is bad, people are bad. Push away negative words and put more emphasis on positive ones.
Practice gratitude Appreciate what you have, what is good, the beauty of yourself, others and life.
Practice compassion Show love for oneself, others and the world can help promote a positive and healthier mindset.
Practice forgiveness This can release a lot of tension and weigh on your shoulders. It will be much easier to move on and find peace if one does this.
Do things that spark joy Taking walk in nature, reading, listening to music are all things that bring me joy and happiness. Find things that do that for you. Feeling of happiness and content will exceed the negative feelings and emotions.
Be creative/productive Gives one a lovely sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and peace of mind. Doing something for your self-growth is always satisfying and rewarding. It can also help boost your confidence and give oneself a sense of appreciation.
Helping others There is nothing more rewarding, than helping others in need. We all can do our part in helping others in any way we can. It doesn’t have to be big, any small gesture helps.
Take action These negative thoughts will consume your life if one does not decide to make a change. What exactly is creating this negative mindset? What can I do to change this and live a more positive lifestyle? It is important to take steps away from the negativity.
I will end this with some quotes on this topic. I hope you all learn to live each day more happily, positively and peacefully. I hope you all have a lovely week.
I have recently felt lonely the past week. I no longer feel this way, but I thought this would be an interesting topic to write about.I haven’t done a post on this topic, so I thought this would be a good time to do so. We all have this feeling, some more than others. This pandemic may also cultivate these feelings, since we have to practice social distancing. I rarely feel this type of emotion, since I am an introvert and love my solitude, but there are times when I do get lonely. It happens to the best of us. We are social creatures. We need to connect with others from time to time. So it is only natural for us to get lonely at times.
So what is loneliness?
I compiled a bunch of different definitions from different sources to get a variety of ideas of what constitutes loneliness.
A common definition is “A state of solitude or being alone”. The other definition is “Loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, “it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most” and is “a state of mind”. “A subjective, negative feeling related to the deficient social relations” “A feeling of disconnectedness or isolation.” etc., are the other ways to define loneliness.(IndianJournalofPsychiatry).
I am happy they changed the definition from the first one stated. Being alone and lonely are two different things. Wanting solitude and alone time does not mean someone is lonely. Me as an introvert enjoys my alone time. I can find peace being alone.
“Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is both complex and unique to each individual. Because it has no single common cause, the prevention and treatment of this potentially damaging state of mind can vary dramatically.Loneliness is defined by researchers as feeling lonely more than once a week. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, if you feel alone and isolated, then that is how loneliness plays into your state of mind.”(verywellmind).
“Susan Pinker, a psychologist and author of “The Village Effect,” said that loneliness is a subjective feeling of being alone against your will. She said that you can be alone and not be lonely or you can be lonely even if you’re surrounded by people. It’s “a feeling of being excluded and of existential angst,” she said.(nytimes).
Although, I was able to meet with my friend and connect earlier in the week. I still felt a sense of loneliness throughout the week. I became aware this was due to my lack of connections at work and on SNS. I have close coworkers, but wasn’t able to chat with them at all that week. I was making posts online, but no one was interacting with them, and I haven’t been able to talk to my online buddies. I saw others at work connecting and talking. I also saw it online, so that made me feel even more isolated.
Now I know I could reach out to people, but the definitions above explained very well that it can be hard to do so when feeling lonely. You would think we would want to seek out others when feeling lonely, but it is quite the opposite,which can perpetuate feelings of loneliness.I also had this distorted thought that others should reach out to me, instead of me doing so. I wanted to feel needed. But I and everyone else who feels this way when lonely must remember the world doesn’t revolve around us and people have their lives. We can’t wait for others to come to us, sometimes we gotta make the move. Take control.
There are plenty of people I could talk to at work. I chose not to. Sometimes we have to recognize that the feeling of loneliness is perception of the mind and not reality. There are plenty of people we can connect with, but sometimes choose not to for reasons listed above. Maybe it is the feeling of not fitting it, or maybe we think they don’t want to talk to us? We just don’t want to put ourselves out there to get hurt.
“Though our need to connect is innate, many of us frequently feel alone. Loneliness is the state of distress or discomfort that results when one perceives a gap between one’s desires for social connection and actual experiences of it. Even some people who are surrounded by others throughout the day—or are in a long-lasting marriage—still experience a deep and pervasive loneliness. Research suggests that loneliness poses serious threats to well-being as well as long-term physical health.”(psychologytoday).
Loneliness can be described in different ways, including
- feel they lack companionship
- feel left out
- feel “in tune” with people around them
- feel outgoing and friendly
- feel there are people they can turn to
All in all, loneliness stems from a lack of connection. It gets lonely when you have no one to talk to, or communicate with. This is why you can be around others, but still feel lonely, because it is possible you are not connecting or communicating with the people you are surrounded with. You may feel you are not able to be your true self, or talk about your deepest thoughts or concerns.
I want to put this quote in, because I think it is a very true statement about why we can feel loneliness surrounded by others.”Experts believe that it is not the quantity of social interaction that combats loneliness, but it’s the quality.”(verywellmind). Quality over quantity is so important in building connections and relationships. This can be the difference in feeling like you belong vs. loneliness.
There are also situational factors that can contribute to loneliness, such as moving to a new area, a divorce, a loss of a loved one, or a psychological disorder, like depression. This is a natural emotion in those situations.
So how can loneliness effect a person?
“Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University who has studied loneliness extensively, says social connection is something we biologically crave. “We’re social beings and our bodies respond when we lack the proximity to others,” she said. (nytimes)
“Dr. Holt-Lunstad has found that loneliness can lead to serious consequences. One of her studies found that lacking any social connection may be comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day as a risk factor for mortality. “Another study found that loneliness increases the risk of an earlier death by 26 percent. She also found that social isolation, loneliness and living alone exceed the risks of death associated with obesity, physical activity and air pollution.”(nytimes).
According to an article The Health Consequences of Loneliness. They mention a couple of possible negative effects of loneliness.
- Alcoholism and drug use
- Altered brain function
- Alzheimer’s disease progression
- Antisocial behavior
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Decreased memory and learning
- Depression and suicide
- Increased stress levels
- Poor decision-making
Feelings of loneliness can have a very negative effect on the mind and body. This is why it is important to find ways to cope and manage these feelings, so the feeling don’t consume our lives. I found the fifteen cigarettes a day comment very eye opening.
So how do we cope?
There are a couple of things I have done and some others I found online that may be helpful when coping with this feeling. I will list then below.
Be Aware Noticing these feeling is important. Once you notice. You can learn to understand and manage it.
Acknowledge it. Accept it.Name it and accept it. I am lonely and that is okay. Sit with it, let it flow through you. Accept the feeling of emotion is part of being human. When I was able to label it and accept the feeling I was able to move on from these feelings. It is all part of life. The feeling will pass.
Make small talk to make new deeper connections you got to start small. There may be some coworkers you are not familiar with, or maybe talking to a cashier at a shop you go to a lot, or maybe talk to someone at a place you go to a lot. This may be a hard step, but sometimes it may good for you to take the plunge.
Connect with family/friends I had plenty of family and friends I could have reached out to when I was feeling lonely. We should not forget that we have loved ones we can talk. It is okay to reach out to them.
Acknowledge you are not alone-Everyone feel loneliness. The feeling of loneliness can come from feeling like an outsider, that no one understand you, but being aware that everyone has these feeling from time to time can be helpful. Knowing we are not alone can be helpful. Humans love the feeling of belonging.
Reflect-why are you feeling this way,what is the cause,what can be done? These questions can be asked and answered when one is able to be mindful and reflect. Reflecting was really helpful for me to cope with my loneliness. I was able to recognize the cause and analyze what I can do to manage these feelings. I felt much better after doing this.
Connect with self-Now this may be counter intuitive. But taking time to yourself can cultivate clarity and peace of mind, so practicing this may be helpful. You can journal,meditate,do some yoga. This may reduce the feelings of loneliness, or it can give one the clarity to manage their feelings of loneliness and figure out ways to find the connections one needs.
Connect with nature-Go for a walk in nature. So much peace and energy can be found doing this. I always feel a sense of connection when I am immersed in nature. Maybe this type of connection is all one needs to get through these feelings. Trees, plants and flowers are all living things. Lets not forget to connect with them as well.
Reach out-Loneliness tends to keep us from reaching out, but we might learn to try to push that desire to keep our distance and reach out to someone. Connection is all we need,so we need to learn to take control of the situation at this point. It is harder to do, than say, but it being hard isn’t an excuse not to do it if it helps bring peace of mind to yourself.
Join a club/forum A good way to meet like-minded people and connect.
Volunteer Another way to meet like-minded people. You are also doing something rewarding that can make you feel good.
Be creative- Negative emotions can always be used in a positive way. It can be inspirational.Use those feelings as fuel for creativity. Write, draw, paint, compose using the ideas from these feelings of loneliness.
Avoid SNS-can drive the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sometimes a break can be helpful.
Be kind to yourself Show compassion for yourself. Try not to blame yourself for feeling this way. Try not to see yourself as the enemy or someone who can’t connect with someone. Believe there is nothing wrong with you. We all have these type of feelings. You are not wrong. You are not unlovable. You are not a freak. You are human.
We will all feel lonely from time to time. That is normal. It is a part of being human. It is totally okay to have these feelings, as long as it is short-term and not persistent. There will be extreme cases where loneliness is a reality, but in most cases it is a perceived threat. We must remember we aren’t as alone as we think we are.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t quickly alleviate anxiety, depression, or any other negative emotions. It takes patience, practice, persistence and training. I like the comparison of training for a marathon. Just like you build endurance for a race. You got to take the same steps to get to a more peaceful state of mind. My mind is a lot more at ease now that I have been practicing mindfulness for a couple of years. I keep improving, my negative emotions continue to reduce. Things I couldn’t handle before I am much better at coping with it now. Baby steps, how you cope and handle stressful situations, or difficulties in life will get better. You will be able to find more peace, calm, and happiness in your life. It isn’t a quick fix, but it will eventually get you to a more peaceful place with continuous practice. You will see results little by little.
I have written a previous post on this topic Rise From Disappointment I like to talk more on this subject, since I have been feeling a bit of disappointment lately. Disappointment is defined as sadness, or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hope and expectations.
We may have to face lots of disappointments, during these times with lots of plans being undetermined, or cancelled. I had plans, and goals this year, but it will most likely not happen, due to this pandemic, and how things are changing. I am a bit disappointed at the probability of the many concerts I planned to go to this summer not happening.
I will say, it is okay to feel disappointed, these feelings are part of life, and being human. Learning to accept these feelings can help one move forward. Hopes and expectations can lead to a person feeling sad, angry, disappointed, and unfulfilled. It is okay to make plans, hope, and be excited for future experiences. We just have to remember that life is unpredictable, and there is a possibility things won’t work out as planned. When we look towards the future, we are creating a world that doesn’t exist, whether it is an exciting, or scary experience. We don’t know what the future holds. The future experience we create in our minds doesn’t always mean it will become reality.
I found something interesting online that discusses the set-up of disappointment. They mention five steps.
1.You are in a situation where the outcome is uncertain
2.You hope for a positive outcome
3.You feel you deserve the positive outcome
4.You’re surprised you didn’t achieve the outcome
5.You couldn’t control the outcome through personal achievement
Number 3 is a key point. We tend to feel things are owed to us in life, but the reality is nothing is owed to us. Good things are not owed to us. Great experiences are not owed to us. Being aware of this can help one from not feeling anger, or bitterness towards oneself, or the world. It will stop you from asking why questions, like why me?, or why does bad things happen to me?, or why does the universe hate me? Questions like that, which necessarily doesn’t serve you in any way.
The last point is also important to look at. It sucks when something is out of our control. We don’t like when we can’t control a situation. It makes us feel powerless. Although, we can’t control the situation. We can control how we handle it, and how we can move forward from it. And that is also a powerful thing.
My plans may not happen, but I know there are plenty of other joyful experiences out there that I can experience, like taking scenic walks, going to the park, and going on hikes. I will just hope that I can experience these concerts someday in the future, that is all I can do. I know the excitement of the experience was created in my mind, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen the way I envision it, and that is okay. This mindset can also work towards stressful, or scary future situations that make you anxious. It may not be as bad as you think it will be, just like a fun experience may not be as exciting. Reality is different from our mind’s expectations. I will try to focus my energy on the experiences I can control.
Disappointment is a reality we should try to face, so we don’t end falling into a world of despair, sadness, and anger. In the end, with mindfulness, and life’s unpredictability. It is about facing reality, and the acceptance of that reality. This will help set your mind at ease, and create a more peaceful and happy life for oneself. It definitely helped for me.
What exactly does being mentally healthy mean? We talk about physical health, but emphasis should also be put on mental health. How is one mentally healthy. There are many ideas of what constitutes as mentally healthy. The world health organization defines it as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to society.”
I have a couple of ideas of things that can fit into what defines a mentally healthy individual:
- Ability to cope with difficult situations
- Having a more positive, realistic approach to life
- Acceptance of life’s situations
- Ability to keep negative emotions at a minimum
All these factors can promote a healthy mindset. Mental health is about having clarity, awareness, understanding, and acceptance. The ability to practice mindfulness can cultivate a healthier mental mindset.
Helpguide.org mentions some other key components of being mentally healthy:
- A sense of contentment
- A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
- The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
- A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
I just like to mention that having a mental disorder does not mean one can not be mentally healthy. It can be a disruption to one’s life, but it doesn’t define the person, and one can learn to cope with it, and live a mentally healthy and fulfilling life.
It is important to focus on our mental health. Being mentally healthy helps us navigate and cope through this unpredictable and stressful world we live in. It allows us to see things more positively, and gives us the opportunity to figure things out, and problem-solve.
In the article of Building Better Mental Health by Helpguide.org they define it wonderfully, they state ” Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.” I truly believe it is important to put just as much emphasis on mental health as physical health. I holistic approach to our well-being is important to living a peaceful and fulfilling life.
There will be a something in life you would like to work on in your journey to self-growth and improvement. It may be eating healthier, working out more, being more positive, or productive, or being more kind to yourself, or whatever else it may be. I just like you to know there will be days on your journey when you will fall off track.
I write this because, although I like to be more mindful. There are days I fall into distractions. The thing is you must remember to remain kind to yourself, and not beat yourself down for one bad day. You are not perfect. I did feel like crap by the end of the day of being full of distractions, but instead of being hard on myself. I told myself I will be more mindful the next day, and that is what I did. I gave myself a pass, because I know I am human, and missteps will happen. I learned to move on from this, and keep moving forward.
Failure will happen from time to time. Try not to let that one bad day defeat you. It is one day you slipped up. There is always the next day to get back on track. You did nothing wrong by slipping into old habits, it happens. Habits are hard to break. Habits are part of who we are. As long as you are mindful of the bad day, and learn to accept what happened. You can move forward to getting back on track. Doing this can steer you away from beating yourself up, and punishing yourself for a human thing. You will fall many times, but it is important to learn to get back up just as many times.
Keep moving forward on your journey. Treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve. Learn, accept, be kind, and move forward. This failure to be mindful has invoked inspiration to write this post, so there can be good in failure. It isn’t a bad thing if you learn from it, and continue to focus on evolving and improving oneself.
My anxiety sprung up a bit yesterday night, and last morning. Worrying about how to deal with HR related stuff for my leave of absence, having to make phone calls that I normally don’t like to take. Phone calls are stressful for me. I had to deal with more phone calls these past two weeks, than I had all this year. It can be overwhelming, but for the most part, the exposure has made it easier to deal with phone calls. I normally do my best to ignore phone calls, but have been answering all of them lately with little hesitation, so there is a positive. Anyway, back to the anxiety.
Anxiety is our minds way of preparing for the worst case scenario. It is for our survival. It doesn’t recognize that our everyday fears are mostly non-threatening, but our minds see it that way. The logical part of our brain recognizes that, but the amygdala, and limbic part of our brains overwhelms that part.
There were three things that helped calm my mind. One was, taking a step back, and just letting things be. I realize things our a little overwhelming right now, but worrying isn’t going to solve anything, and it is just going to ruin the rest of my day. I want to enjoy the moment as much as possible. I tell myself, things will come together. You will not die. It isn’t the end of the world. I will figure things out. Just let it be. My worries seem to dissipate, and weaken when I think this.
Another thing I did was meditate. I did this last night, after feeling nervous about making the phone call. This helped calm my mind and body down. The thoughts kept coming in, but I kept letting them in, and letting go. Eventually, things calm down, and then clarity comes along. The amygdala was no longer ruling my mind. The logic and reasoning part overruled it. I realized that it won’t be as bad as I think it will be, and that I will get through it, like the many other phone calls I got through. I was able to sleep peacefully with no worries. I did make the phone call right when I got up, because even though I was calmer. It is best for me to get things done and over with.
In the morning, I became a bit stressed again from all the things I needed to get done from that phone call. I decided again that stressing wouldn’t help, so decided to do something good for my body and mind. I decided to do some yoga. This gives me a chance to put my focus on my body and my breaths, by doing that, it keeps my mind away from all those negative thoughts. Once I was done, I was able to find calmness and clarity. I was able to be aware that everything will be fine, and that now that my mind is clear. I can figure out what I need to get done, and that is what I did. I also felt refreshed from getting a nice and relaxing workout.
I did not want anxiety and stress to define my day. I wanted to make use of my day in the most productive way. Worrying doesn’t help. It gets nothing solved or done. I found some ways to help calm my mind from those stressors. Maybe they can be helpful for you, or maybe there are some others way that help you. Either way it is best to find calm and peace as much as you can possibly can.
When I was reading this passage last night from my Mindful Evening book. I chuckled a bit at that part it mentions, “Life just sucks sometime.” Because it is so true. I decided to outline that part, because it is important to remember. Life isn’t always the way you think it will be. It isn’t always how we plan it to be. It sucks sometimes. It is annoying, and burdensome, but it is how it is. Best to accept , and keep moving forward. Life isn’t always roses and happiness. Its okay to have tough moments, challenges and struggles. Just remember there is something to learn from it, and that you will get through it.
Be proud of yourself. See the light within yourself. Help others see the light. Bring positivity to yourself and others. Show love, compassion, and acceptance for yourself and others. Times are tough right now. It may be easy to fall into the bubble of negativity. Remember life is unpredictable, and things won’t always go the way you want it to. Try to remain positive and accept what is. Always strive to remain empathetic, appreciative and compassionate. Stay safe everyone.