Imagine a man who is starting a new job. He feels socially awkward and nervous, so he avoids chatting with his new co-workers. As the weeks drag on, fewer people try to chat with him when he passes them in the hallway. As a result, he thinks to himself, “I must be socially awkward.” This makes him even more avoidant of his coworkers and makes his co-workers even less friendly to ward him.
Have negative thoughts ever sabotaged your success or happiness? Most people have bad mental habits that drag them down like weights. And even if you are doing just fine, improving your mental habits will help you live up to your potential and be more resilient to future stress.
In this article, you will learn 13 ways to upgrade common mental habits. By the end, you’ll know how to:
- Replace self-pity with gratitude.
- Protect your power by forgiving others.
- Embrace change rather than shying away from it.
- Focus on things you can control rather than things you can’t.
- Become comfortable with displeasing others.
- Learn to take calculated risks.
- Come to terms with your past.
- Avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
- Collaborate with other people instead of envying their success.
- Be tenacious and accept your failures.
- Embrace alone time.
- Focus on giving rather than taking.
Mastering these habits is like building a muscle: It takes concentration and practice, but if you put in the work, you’ll get closer to being your best self, whatever your circumstances might be.
2Protect Your Power by Forgiving Others
Oprah Winfrey could hold a lot of grudges if she wanted to. As a child, she was teased for being so poor that she had to wear potato sacks as dresses. She also experienced repeated sexual abuse as a child and became pregnant at age 14; her child died shortly after being born. But Winfrey worked hard at several media jobs, eventually landing a position as a TV news anchor. It seemed like her hard work and resilience were finally paying off. Then she was suddenly fired. But rather than stewing in resentment for her boss, Winfrey focused her energy on creating her own talk show. By the time she was 32, she was a national hit, and by 41 she had built a net worth of $340 million. She’s used her wealth and influence to help disadvantaged people around the world and inspired others to realize their potential. She could have resented all the people who hurt her before she was successful. But she chose to focus on her future instead.
Choosing forgiveness has been clinically proven to increase your pain tolerance, reduce stress, and help you live longer. To become more forgiving, start by identifying your words and thoughts that make you seem like a victim. Stop talking about how someone made you do something or about how you have to do something you don’t want to do. Instead, think about what you are choosing to do, and take full responsibility for how you spend your time and energy.