If you struggle with negative thoughts, depression, or self-defeating habits, you're not alone. While the debate rages on as to the degree to which the modern world is responsible for our current epidemic of mental health issues, there's ample evidence to suggest that there are things that we can do to improve our wellbeing. There are strategies you can use to help improve your mental wellbeing and escape the self-reinforcing trap of negative sentiment.
Researchers have identified a set of shared but harmful habits that can poorly impact how you feel. The great thing about their discoveries is that they reveal there are steps the average person can take. Here are a few harmful habits you should quit today to improve your mental health.
Believing that You Are a Failure
The idea that we're failures usually emerges from adverse experiences in childhood. Somebody at some time told you that you couldn't do this or that and you believed them. What's more, you applied one instance of failure to all things in your life. You weren't just a failure at school, for example. You came to believe that you couldn't do anything right. Success, you concluded, isn't in your playbook.
The worst thing about believing that you're a failure is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A person who thinks that he or she can't achieve anything won't go for that dream career, relationship, or education that they want. They never give themselves the opportunity.
The results of false beliefs, like you're a failure, are tragic. You miss out on life experiences and end up wishing that you had the kind of life that other people have, leading to new cycles of guilt and depression.
You're A Perfectionist
Perfectionism is a form of self-attack. It's the idea that "perfect" is the only way to live an acceptable life. Anytime you fall short of that, and you've failed to achieve your standards. You live your life in a rigid box, never able to feel the freedom of genuine, authentic expression for fear that it'll reveal your flaws.
Nobody is perfect. Warren Buffett isn't the perfect investor. Bill Gates isn't the ideal businessperson. Mariah Carey isn't even the best singer. However, imperfection is freedom and an opportunity to gain genuine acceptance of who you are.
You Live with Regret
The world is full of random chaos. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. It's just the way that things are. Many people, however, live with regret, feeling that if they had only done something a little differently, their lives would have worked out for the better.
The problem with this approach to life is that you're setting up an impossible standard for yourself. You can't change seemingly insignificant decisions retrospectively. You have to make decisions as best you can at the moment and then take the consequences as they come to you. Living with regret means that you're always looking back, which also means you are missing the opportunities and experiences of the present.
You don't have to live a life dogged by negative sentiment. Try retraining your thinking by believing in yourself, knowing that you are enough, and accepting that sometimes life has other plans. You’re bound to feel a sense of freedom, more love for yourself and excitement at new opportunities.