This past year was a rough one for me, and I know it wasn’t easy for many others. But here we are on the other side. Now, it’s time to turn things around for 2018.
This year, I’ve vowed to take control of the things in my life that can be controlled. And as I sat down to write a list, I realized there aren’t many things I can truly control. There’s really only one thing on that list: My outlook.
I’m motivated to make 2018 a great year filled with health and happiness, and I know it all starts with a positive outlook.
So with my sights set on a half-full glass, I decided to let go of anything that brought me down in 2017. If you have these things in your life, it may be time for you to give them up too.
5 Things to Give up for a Healthier 2018
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous addictive substances available, and that’s partly because it’s so available. You can’t get heroin at the grocery store, but you can almost certainly buy a 6-pack (depending on your state’s laws).
Here are a few facts about alcohol that may change your mind about having even one more glass in 2018:
Alcohol alters your brain chemistry
When you think about the dangers of alcohol, your mind may conjure images of car accidents and liver damage. And it’s true that alcohol can do some serious physical harm, but it would be naïve to think that alcohol only harms the body.
As a depressant, alcohol can disrupt a delicate balance of chemicals and processes that affect our thoughts, feelings and actions even after we sober up.
Alcohol can increase stress and anxiety
When you drink, you aren’t as aware of your surroundings as you are when you’re sober. This can lead you to misinterpret situations. Such misunderstandings can easily increase your stress and anxiety levels. Could this be why there are so many bar-room brawls? Even if you aren’t prone to fighting, it’s healthier to be in control at all times.
Alcohol can worsen depression
Alcohol works on the dopamine receptors in your brain to trick you into thinking you’re having the time of your life. Unfortunately, alcohol will also deplete your serotonin levels over time. Serotonin helps regulate your mood and keeps you feeling good.
Overthinking seems to be at the root of many problems. At least, that’s the case for me. But overthinking can also be seductive. You tell yourself that you’re just trying to see things from all angles. And then you find yourself re-examining every conversation you’ve ever had. Or so it seems.
Overthinking also goes hand-in-hand with worry and anxiety. These are two things I’d like to avoid in 2018.
Here’s one practice I’ve recently learned that can help keep overthinking at bay:
When the thoughts enter your mind, ask yourself whether this is a problem you can solve. If you can do something about it now, solve it straight away. If it must be solved later, set a reminder to work on it at a future time. If you cannot solve this problem, try not to think about it all.
3. Excessive caffeine
In our coffee-obsessed society, it’s easy to forget that caffeine is a drug. As such, it stimulates your central nervous system.
I’ve been in the habit of having at least three strong coffees each day. This may not put me in the danger zone for major health issues, but it does up my anxiety levels.
If you’re struggling with caffeine intake too, join me in replacing some of those cups with an herbal tea.
4. Skipping breakfast
Yes, it’s cliché, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast can help boost your metabolism, set the tone for a healthy day and give you a quick fix of essential nutrients that will boost energy. With more natural energy, we should crave less coffee, so that’s another bonus.
Try adding something simple like avocado toast or overnight oats.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll procrastinate until the very last minute, and then rush to get everything done. But all that rushing causes so much unnecessary stress.
Create a calendar of all your daily tasks and try to check them off as early in the day as possible.
Although this list is very personal for me, I suspect many people struggle with the same harmful habits. If we can all make an effort to avoid these things in 2018, we may find it easier to handle whatever challenges await us in 2018.
What are you planning to give up to make 2018 a healthier year?