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Shed unhealthy habits beginning today

Let the start of the new year be a time to start thinking differently about our mind, body, soul and attitude. It’s also a great time to make the changes towards living a fuller life. And what better place to start than by letting go of these unhealthy habits?

brunch Updated: Jan 06, 2013 12:37 IST
Shikha Sharma

A new year is a time for looking forward to a new life. Perhaps you want yours to be more satisfying and satiating than before. Maybe it’s a chance to approach life with more enthusiasm, find more balance and celebrate life with all its highs and lows. It’s also a great time to make the changes towards living a fuller life. And what better place to start than by letting go of these unhealthy habits?

Self deprecation

GirlMany times, we let ourselves talk down to ourselves. We create a sticky web of thoughts that only serve to make us see the negative side of life, push us into feeling like a victim of every situation and listen only to never-ending loop of "poor me", "poor me". It’s easy to convince yourself that everyone is working against you; that the universe is giving you a raw deal; and that life seems to be singling you out for unhappiness and stress. Snap out of it. Let your power of positivity be greater than your situation. Someone somewhere is probably worse off and still able to find the silver lining.

Unfair, unfavourable comparisons

Sometimes, people tend to see only the negatives in themselves, look at themselves in the mirror and frown over how terrible they seem in comparison to their perception of others. Much negativity comes out of this; a person might find themselves wanting in areas where they really have no control. It could be beauty (often a person’s imagination of how ugly they see themselves to be), their height, their shape or even their capacity to memorise or their ability in a particular field. A constant unfair comparison undermines a person’s self confidence and makes them oversensitive to comments from others. Negative, demotivating self talk impacts our subconscious, causing us to sometimes lose faith in our own capabilities.

Negative body image

Men and women tend to view themselves poorly when it comes to body image. In fact, among women, running oneself down on the basis of shape and size seems to have become shockingly acceptable. Healthy eating and exercising habits are essential for a healthy body. But even a healthy body can be undermined by unhealthy thinking.

I have seen beautiful and slim women considering cosmetic surgery to rectify problems that exist only in their head. Liposuction is being abused because of this unreasonable desire to satisfy a low body image. It is important to accept that no one is perfect and to accept oneself as one is – literally warts and all. Living in the past or future

Fresh startNostalgia is wonderful. But so many people tend to live their present life as though it is a poor, unsatisfying replica of the days gone by, obviously deriving much unhappiness from it. While some such behaviour is very natural and human, turning this tendency into a habit can make the present lose its charm and make life seem dull and drab.

As life unfolds before us, it presents many situations that turn into experiences – wonderful ones too. But if we refuse to see them for what they are, we really are letting today’s precious moments lip by. Remember that life always seems rosier for a young person or a child – you are shielded from unhappiness and terrible experiences by loved ones, you have less responsibilities, but the past was a place where terrible things happened too.

Similarly a lot of people live in the future created by their imaginations and desires. This creates anxiety and diminishes one’s bubbling life force. It breeds uncertainty and tremendous anxiety. And that takes away the joy of living.

Holding on to it all

Let go. It will divest you of excess emotional baggage. Each one of us has faced situations where things were unfair, but hanging on to every hurt, every slight, serves no purpose other than making you a bitter and angry person. Often the only one with the memories and unhappiness is you.

Life is for enduring. Life is for living. For celebrating your achievements, acknowledging your mistakes, revelling in the power that you are you and no one else and experiencing every moment as it comes. The life you live is the one you were meant to live. So make sure you embrace it with the enthusiasm of a child and the experience of an adult. That’s what makes it a wonderful life.

From HT Brunch, January 6

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