House a mess? Kids, or your other half (or both!) driving you crazy? Work stress seemingly endless? Financial constraints and worries? Health, parents, career issues and bills to pay? Or, perhaps, all of the above? Most of us are treading water emotionally a lot of the time and are so overloaded with mental weight that we need a nap after just thinking about all of the things that we have to do each morning.
We recently polled a selection of readers who responded that they’re less concerned about wrinkles as they age and are more focused on wellness and being happy as they get older.
So we have decided to have a look at ways to ditch that mental weight so you can cast off any anxieties and sit back, relax and truly enjoy this year.
Let go of the past: A surprising amount of people are consumed with regret, or anger about something that happened years ago. Everyone has the ex that got away or who mistreated us, parents that were less than perfect (because they’re actually just humans – so try to forgive them for their foibles) or an event which happened that they allow to take up space in their heads in the here and now.
Some of us unknowingly carry around such gigantic chips on our shoulders and have become so used to living with them that we have forgotten how to be carefree. That creates a huge amount of mental weight. Perhaps it was an illness or tragedy, but the chances are that if you think hard enough that something from long ago is serving as a mental anchor that’s heavy and weighing you down in the here and now.
Have a think about the ghosts from the past that you’re allowing to live rent-free in your head and kick them out – for good. Don’t let them cause you anguish in the present day. The best revenge is letting go of the past and enjoying your life.
Focus on the present: It’s really tough focusing on the here and now. How many times have you been in a restaurant with a friend or loved one and allowed a work email or a text from an ex to take you out of the moment, or worse – ruin it entirely?
A really great habit to get into is always keeping your phone off the table and on silent, or tucked away in your bag when you’re out having fun. Those emails can wait.
If you catch yourself reaching for your phone or drifting off and worrying about the housework when you’re meant to be enjoying yourself, make a mental note to pull yourself back into the present.
Instead of worrying about the past, or the future, focus on the day you’re on right now as much and as often as you can. Make each day the best that it can possibly be.
Setting healthy habits that are about you, and you alone, that you do each day will fire you up to power you through the to do list. It can be buying yourself flowers, yoga, meditation, long baths, but try hard to find joy in the toughest of days. Every day is a gift, it’s just we all tend to forget that because life comes crashing in and distracts us from enjoying it all.
Goals: Set some simple personal goals and then when you have achieved them, congratulate yourself. All too often we focus on beating ourselves up, instead of loving ourselves and giving ourselves a pat on the back. You don’t have to be perfect but you can be really good. One of these goals can be focusing on having really great mental health; if you’re feeling down, stressed, anxious, or just fed up, set small goals to help fix that. Mental health is as important as our physical health and all too often we forget to focus on it until we reach crisis point.
Embrace the joy of doing nothing: Sometimes taking a ‘life holiday’ and switching off your phone, resting and being kind to yourself is one of the healthiest things that you can do for yourself. Focus on eating healthy nutritious meals and snacks and enjoying each and every bite, take a long afternoon nap, or laze with a good book. That pile of washing, the bills, the never-ending to do list can wait a day. And, if you’re feeling rested and relaxed you’ll feel better able to tackle it all when you’re back.
Remember life IS short: If something in your life is truly making you unhappy, make steps to change it, no matter how difficult that might seem.
You can do anything if you do it one step at a time. Sometimes though, just a few mental adjustments is all it takes. Happiness is a choice just as focusing on all the things that are weighing you down is too.
Too many people work their entire lives so they can live in a big luxurious house and then when they have that house don’t enjoy it because suddenly they have new worries – huge water and electricity bills, fears over being broken into by burglars and so on.
Often the fantasy is never as good as the real thing. Don’t put your happiness off until a future date or event, the chances are that if you look hard enough you’re doing fantastically and are exactly where you need to be. Breathe in, and out, and let all the anxiety and stress go. If it won’t matter in one year from now don’t sweat it and if it will, take steps to fix it.