If you really want to live a happier life, start doing these 10 things

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You often read about things you can do to live a happier life.  But what about things you shouldn’t do?

Believe it or not, avoiding certain habits can actually boost your happiness levels too.

What I’m talking about is ditching that pesky negative self-talk and embracing your inner coach. You know, the one who cheers you on instead of dragging you down.

The one who supports and encourages you, not the mean, inner critic who takes every opportunity to berate you and put you down.

It’s something far more within your reach, something that starts and ends with…you!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Changing patterns of thought seldom is. But with patience and commitment, you’d be amazed at what you can achieve.

So, are you ready to say goodbye to negativity and welcome a happier, healthier you?

Great! Then read on.

1. Recognize negative self-talk

First thing’s first, we’ve got to spot the problem before we can fix it. Negative self-talk can be a sneaky little pest, hiding out in your daily thoughts and comments. It’s those little whispers telling you “I can’t,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I’ll never manage that.”

You see, this negative chatter is a bit like background noise – always there but often unnoticed. So, your first step towards a happier you is to start paying attention to your inner dialogue. Listen out for any negativity. Catch it. Call it out. Only then can you start to challenge it.

Remember, this isn’t about beating yourself up for having negative thoughts. It’s about awareness, because only when we know what we’re dealing with can we begin to make changes.

So, sharpen your ears and get ready for some self-talk surveillance! You might be surprised at what you find.

2. Challenge negative thoughts

Now that you’ve started noticing your negative self-talk, it’s time to challenge it. Let me tell you, this is where the real fun begins!

Think about it this way, if a friend was constantly feeding you negative comments, wouldn’t you question it? Your inner dialogue deserves the same scrutiny.

When a negative thought pops up, don’t just accept it as truth. Ask yourself, “Is this really true? Is there evidence to support this?” More often than not, you’ll find that these thoughts are based more on feelings than on facts.

Also, consider if there’s another more positive way to look at the situation. For instance, instead of thinking “I messed up,” you could say “I made a mistake, but I can learn from this.” Such a switch might seem small, but it can make a massive difference in how you perceive yourself and your life.

So, get ready to play detective and start challenging those negative thoughts.

3. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being present and aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. And here’s an interesting fact: a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that mindfulness can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In other words, by being more mindful, you can help quiet that negative self-talk and create space for more positive thoughts.

How do you practice mindfulness? You start by focusing on your breath, or the sensations in your body, or the sounds around you. The goal is to bring your attention to the present moment, instead of getting lost in past regrets or future worries.

So next time you catch yourself spiraling into negative self-talk, take a deep breath, ground yourself in the present moment, and try to observe your thoughts without judgment. It might take some practice, but like any other skill, it gets easier with time!

4. Surround yourself with positivity

Sometimes, the world around us can influence our inner dialogue more than we realize. If we’re constantly surrounded by negativity, it can seep into our own thoughts and feelings.

So here’s a heartfelt suggestion: make an effort to surround yourself with positivity. Find people who uplift you, inspire you, and make you feel good about yourself. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Read books that inspire you. Watch movies that make you laugh.

During a particularly challenging time in my life, I found solace in a group of friends who were always there for me. They helped me see the silver lining in every cloud and made me realize that it was okay to stumble as long as I picked myself back up.

Remember, positivity breeds positivity. When you fill your life with positive influences, it becomes much easier to silence that negative self-talk and tune in to your inner coach. It’s a journey, but every step you take towards positivity is a step closer to a happier you.

5. Write it out

Now, here’s something I have been doing for years and it has worked wonders for me. It is such a great habit to get into. I generally journal every second day but it really is up to you how often.

There’s something therapeutic about seeing your thoughts on paper. It’s like having a one on one conversation with yourself. It helps your problems become more real, tangible, and easier to tackle.

So, grab a notebook and give it a try. You might find that it helps you clear your mind and you are more able to see a way forward.

6. Be your own best friend

We all mess up. We all have bad days. We all fall short of our own expectations at times. And you know what? It’s okay. It’s more than okay – it’s normal, it’s human.

We often expect perfection from ourselves and when we inevitably fall short, that negative self-talk starts to creep in. But here’s the thing: no one is perfect. Not your neighbor who seems to have it all together, not that celebrity on Instagram with the perfect life, not even you.

Let’s cut ourselves some slack. Let’s celebrate our efforts, no matter the outcome. Let’s be kind and caring to ourselves when we stumble and fall as if we are our own most supportive and encouraging friend.

Remember, it’s the journey that counts, not just the destination. So, take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and acknowledge the efforts you are making. 

7. Stay active

Let’s finish off our list with something that’s not only good for your body, but also your mind: physical activity.

Here’s an interesting fact: according to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because when you work out, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, also known as the body’s “feel-good” hormones.

By staying active, you’re not only keeping yourself healthy physically, but you’re also helping maintain your mental wellbeing. It can be a walk in the park, a quick yoga session, or even dancing around your living room. The key is to find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.

So, next time you find yourself falling into a cycle of negative self-talk, why not try getting up and moving?

You might just find that it helps quiet those negative thoughts and brings out your inner coach!

8. Embrace failure

This one hits close to home. For the longest time, I was terrified of failure. It was the big, bad wolf hiding under my bed, the monster in my closet. I let this fear dictate my decisions and hold me back from stepping outside my comfort zone. The negative self-talk that came with it was relentless.

Then one day, I decided to face the monster head-on. I started to see failure not as a dead-end, but as a detour to a different path. I realized that every time I failed, I learned something new – about myself, about the task at hand, about life.

I won’t lie and say that fear of failure has completely left me. It hasn’t. But these days, when it comes to pay a visit, I welcome it as an old friend rather than a feared enemy. Because I know that with every failure comes growth.

So, don’t be afraid to fail. Embrace it. Learn from it. Grow from it. And remember: Failure is just another step towards success.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others

We live in a world where it’s so easy to look at others and feel like we’re falling behind. Social media feeds are brimming with people’s highlight reels, making it seem like everyone else is leading a perfect life.

But here’s the truth: Comparing ourselves to others is like comparing apples to oranges. We all have different paths, different strengths, and different challenges. Just because someone else seems to have it all figured out doesn’t mean they actually do.

When I catch myself falling into the comparison trap, I remind myself that I’m on my own unique journey. And that’s something to be celebrated, not compared.

10. Accept yourself

This is perhaps the most important point of all and the hardest to embrace: self-acceptance. We’re all works in progress, and that’s perfectly okay. You’re allowed to have flaws. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to be imperfect.

The journey towards self-acceptance isn’t a smooth one — but it’s worth every step. When you accept yourself as you are, you silence that negative self-talk because there’s no room for it anymore.

Remember, you’re human. You’re unique. You’re perfectly imperfect. And that’s more than okay.

So here you have the ten ways to kick negative self-talk to the curb and start embracing your inner coach. It won’t always be easy, but I promise you, it’s worth it!

Jeanette Brown

I have been in Education as a teacher, career coach and executive manager over many years.
I'm also an experienced coach who is passionate about supporting people in finding real meaning and purpose in their lives, building a resilient, grounded inner self and achieving their desired goals.

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