5 Toxic Habits You Should Wipe off to Improve Your Quality of Life

They are as toxic as eating processed foods; here’s how you can change them.

I consider myself four years old.

I believe that I was reborn four years ago when I realized that I had plenty of toxic habits in my life to address.

Looking at my life, I understood that I was heading nowhere, so I started to incorporate many healthy and positive lifestyle changes. Adopting positive mindsets and habits was one of them.

But developing new habits isn’t easy and takes some time.

In 1960, through his research study, Dr. Maxwell Maltz concluded in his book Psycho-Cybernetics that it takes a minimum of twenty-one days to change the old thought patterns and behavioral habits.

I used the same technique. Through willpower, I practiced every healthy habit for a minimum of twenty-one days.

However, the latest research study (in 2009) published in the European Journal of Social Psychology states that it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit.

It’s true.

Some of them took a long time, but I had an uncontrollable urge to change myself, which kept me motivated. I then started to see a change in myself by changing some of my harmful habits.

Now, I feel happier, contented, and more fulfilled than ever before.

“Change your habits on time, or else that habits will change your time.” - Darshak Rana

If we don’t change our bad habits on time, then they’re likely to bring negativity and pain in our lives.

Yet, wiping of these following toxic habits is not going to a piece of cake. Still, by staying patient and motivated through willpower and concentration, you’ll be able to change them and feel much lighter, cheerful, and dynamic in your daily routines.

You Get Disillusioned by Others’ Successes

With the advent of social media, we quickly become aware of our friends’ successes. And that glorified success disillusions us. We start comparing their lives with ours.

We get sucked into the black hole of negative thinking as we feel that we are more worthy of that success. But, since we haven’t attained that, we become unhappy and jealous of that friend.

Isn’t this a toxic habit of getting unhappy without any plausible reason?

What you can do to change it:

First of all, limit your social media usage. It will improve your mood, as you won’t fall into this “comparison trap.” There’s research published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology that states that limiting social media usage lowers the effect of depression and negative thinking.

Next, convince yourself that people only show that part of their life they want us to see because there’s evidence that people fake it most of the time on social media. So, don’t waste your precious time and life getting awestruck by others’ successes.

Have you ever seen someone posting their failure, lay off, or a breakup on social media?

I haven’t.

So, try to increase your self-esteem by celebrating your smallest wins (winning $5 in a lottery, getting a free hairdryer, etc.). This way, you won’t feel jealous of others.

You Don’t Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

When was the last time you did something exciting and adventurous?

When was the last time you tried to face any of your fears?

Most often, we slip into this comfort zone and don’t feel like coming out of it. We think that we’re living a perfect life, but that’s a myth. Let’s not forget that several inventions were the outcomes of a mistake. The famous “cheese” that we relish in our recipes was also a byproduct of an error.

The famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking used to say:

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist”

We are all imperfect, and that’s the beauty of being humans. It’s our imperfections that separate us from each other.

Had we all been perfect, we would resemble machines. Sounds fun?

I don’t think so.

In one of her articles, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., states that the best way to avoid making mistakes is to allow ourselves to make them. Because when we free ourselves to screw up, we work with full caution and the best of our abilities.

Randy Nelson of Pixar says that:

“You have to honor failure, because failure is just the negative space around success.”

What you can do to change it:

First of all, change your thinking. Start perceiving mistakes as creative attempts that quench your curiosity.

Next, sit with yourself and perform a self-compassion talk. Through self-love, acknowledge how you feel, analyze your fears, and find ways to overcome them. Try to face any fear every two months. (One month for preparing mentally and the other month practicing it.)

“The best way to face fears is to see the worst case scenario if you fail.” — Darshak Rana

You’ll be shocked to find out that nothing worse could happen that we can’t mend.

Even if you fail, try to find the positives and move forward. That’ll make you wise enough to tell stories of your life to your grandkids. ;)

You Depend Too Much on Others’ Approval

Has it ever occurred to you that you wanted to wear a particular dress but chose not to because of what others might think?

I have experienced it plenty of times.

Sometimes, we want to impress people we don’t know, while sometimes we want to prove something to someone who doesn’t care about us.

Why should we do that?

Let’s ask ourselves, where are we heading? Does anyone benefit from this show-off attitude?

Most of the time, we try to make others happy, even if it doesn’t make us feel good. People in relationships do it more often. It isn’t a bad thing at all.

But there’s a limit.

You can’t just keep building other’s homes by removing bricks from your own home.

Beverly Engel, a recognized psychotherapist and acclaimed advocate for victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, write:

“If you live your life to please everyone else, you will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for you. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others.”

What you can do to change it:

With every action, ask yourself:

“Am I doing it because it makes me happy or for others’ sake?”

Through affirmations and self positive talk, burn the thought of — “What others might think?”

You can even make a list of what you think makes you happy and what others approve of. You’ll find that most of the thing that makes you happy is against their wish. So, cut loose.

Stop associating your happiness with other’s approval. Firmly believe that it’s your life and you’re responsible for your happiness; no one else is going to live life for you.

Try to figure out your purpose in life and stick to it, no matter what.

You Downgrade Yourself

“Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are always listening.” -Lisa Hayes

How do you feel if someone abuses you?

It’s the same emotion that we feel when we indulge in negative self-talk. Self-doubting is the worst kind of toxicity. It’s like a weed in mind that makes you porous and weak.

Instead of being a negative self-critic, we must be positive well-wishers. Instead of belittling ourselves, we must suggest ways of self-improvement and implement them.

This context reminds me of one of the great William Shakespeare's poem lines:

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”

So, let’s befriend ourselves and motivate ourselves to win against all odds.

What you can do to change it:

Make a list of your achievements that you’re proud of. Whenever a negative thought of self-doubt crosses your mind, pull out this list, and revise. You’ll feel energized.

Start your day with positive affirmations like — “I am a successful person; I fear nothing, I love myself, I accept the way I am, I believe in my abilities, etc.”

Whenever you have self-doubt, think as if you’re consoling and motivating your best friend. Would you talk negatively then?

Try to stay away from toxic people who demotivate you. We can include social media in this category because people judge each other sitting behind the virtual walls very conveniently.

You Spend Too Much Time in the Virtual World

Okay, these are guilty pleasures.

We all sneak away and spend a lot of time scrolling down the social media apps to know what’s happening in everyone’s lives. Whether we accept it or deny it, this is the only reason we are on social media. The next truth is we want to showcase how cool our life is.

Please, correct me if I am wrong.

We all know it but don’t accept it.

If we ask a simple question to ourselves:

“What do we get after spending so much time on the virtual platforms? Do we learn any skill? Do we earn something?”

If we can answer affirmatively, this habit isn't toxic because it adds some value to our life. But, if we fail to respond, then we need to get rid of it.

What you can do to change it:

We must make strong ground rules like no screens during mealtime or after 8:00 pm. Also, refraining from using cellphones in toilets can be very useful.

Besides, limiting the usage of screens on the weekends would kick in some creativity like painting, DIY projects, gardening, etc. I have adopted this rule and have realized that my mood on Mondays has dramatically changed. I became more positive, enthusiastic, and joyful about my work than before.

Moreover, scheduling downtime for each activity like video games, television, social media, etc., is imperative as they are like quicksand; they keep sucking us and our time. We use this time to read books, bake, play board games, go hiking, biking, etc.

✦A positive-minded guy with a peaceful heart ✦ I write about Life and Spirituality to solve the riddle of WhatIsInsideMe ✦ Connect on Social Media@watisinsideme

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