Truth be told, the internet has a hundred blogs about what habits you should follow for a positive mind set. It’s all good advice, but following it word for word is like asking someone else to place an order for you at a restaurant; you don’t have the same taste as someone else!
Develop A routine: It is ludicrous to suggest that you should sleep early, wake up early, get 8 hours of sleep, and have a morning routine and/or bedtime routine. Everyone gets caught up in the day to day hustle and sometimes we sleep later because at the end of the day we just want to relax and maybe watch some TV. Some days we have more work than others or house chores that have been piling up. Instead try to build one routine. If you are sleeping at 1am and waking up at 8am, try to do that every day. If you eat your meals at a particular time, ensure that you stick to that time. Hormonal and enzyme secretion in the blood fluctuates in conjunction with our body’s circadian rhythms, it also regulates metabolism, digestion and bowel movements. Having fixed timings helps synchronize the physiological functions of the body, like a smooth working machine. This will help avoid problems like constipation, thyroid dysfunction, PCOS, diabetes, acidity which will ultimately make you feel better on a daily basis. Changing routines frequently disrupts these biorhythms and decreases your ability to cope with stressors and overall efficiency.
Take personal time: Being outside and constantly surrounded by people or being at home with family members or house help can often overwhelm you and make you neglect personal needs. Try to find sometime during the day even if it is while bathing or doing laundry or driving to work, when you are by yourself and you have time to organise your thoughts. You can chose to spend this personal time in any way you want, listen to music, sit in silence, do some deep breathing, eat a snack, stretch or write in your journal. Try to actively dedicate 10-15 minutes in a day to yourself.
Analyse your thought process: to determine if you fall into a negative thought loop under stress, if your thoughts are self-deprecating or uplifting, are they rational/practical and appropriate to the situation, towards others, towards the world. Do you find yourself often having ill-feelings towards people, assuming the worst case scenario, jumping to conclusions? This may mean you might need to restructure your thought process and actively try to counter every negative thought with a practical rationalization OR a positive thought. Example
Negative automatic thought: What if she hates me and is talking behind my back about me? Counter thought: I should just ask her if she has a problem with me, else I should ignore her OR Positive thought: She is my close friend, she wouldn’t talk behind my back. This is important since repetitive thoughts lead to anxious behaviours such as nail biting, hair pulling, constantly shaking leg, insomnia etc. which consumes a lot of energy and leads to tiredness.
Hydrate and Balance your food intake: Hydration helps prevent oxidative stress (inflammation), improves insulin sensitivity, prevents protein breakdown, and improves the cells’ ability to turn foods into fuel, lubricates joints, regulates body temperature and blood pressure, improves liver and metabolic functions, transports nutrients, removes waste, and protects your organs. Hydrating regularly during the day consciously is medically very beneficial, especially when you wake up in the morning because you are replenishing your body’s water content after almost 7-8 hours. Eating a balance diet essentially means enrichment of the carbohydrate, fat and protein, vitamins and minerals stores in your body all of which are used in generation of ATP, which ultimately provides energy to do all your daily activities. Any deficiency in a balanced diet can lead to illness, hypoglycaemia, dermatitis, poor immunity, muscle wasting, generalised fatigue, irritability, decreased concentration etc. So in order to stay healthy you should drink enough water and ensure your diet has all the food groups to avoid deficiency diseases.
Be mindful: In the day to day hubbub, days often pass you by and all of a sudden its Friday and then Monday again. There is always going to be work, chores, deadlines, responsibilities and things on your to-do list. Next week is not going to be any less hectic or tiresome. In this chaos, remember to be present and aware of yourself, your surroundings and the people around when you are doing something. We are always trying to multi-task, never giving full attention to the current task at hand, always distracted by our to-do lists and need for productivity while trying to get the most done in less amount of time. Organise your time such that you try to single-task at any given point of time and are fully present and giving 100% to the task without any interferences. This will reduce amount of stress you experience on a day to day basis. Avoid over-scheduling your day and not giving yourself any breaks or trying to multi-task all the time.
Changing habits is up to you. Don’t try to replicate someone else’s habits and routines, because it may not necessarily work for you. If your biological clock is accustomed to sleeping late you won’t suddenly be able to become an early bird, if you prefer meditation instead of physical exercise in your personal time it is your choice to do it. Come up with a system that supports your efficient engagement in daily activities. Ask for help when you need it, don’t try to over burden yourself and organise your time better.
We can guide you to find a nutritionist to facilitate healthy eating habits or a counsellor who has certification in Cognitive behavioural therapy or rational emotive behaviour therapy to help you break down negative thoughts and change the way you process information coming from your external environment. Some things you can try for yourself are: Mindful meditation, physical exercise, movement therapy, relaxation, engaging in hobbies, etc. If you want to get started on mindful meditation there are some more tips available on our blog page.