If you want to know where you’ll be in the next three years, you only need to take a look at what you’re doing right now. No crystal ball required.
Put simply - your environment is dictating and shaping your future. That’s why you need to start paying attention to what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.
Learning to manage your environment is essential if you want to improve your lifestyle and deal with your anxiety and stress better. Here are five ways you can start doing it from today.
1. Take care of yourself
Sounds like an obvious one, but most of us don’t do it – both physically and mentally. When I was highly anxious and depressed, the last thing on my mind was taking a shower. But the more you let basic things slip, like your hygiene, the more it fuels the fear cycle and the worst the spiral becomes. What are you eating? Are you exercising? How stressful is your job? What are your relationships like? Do you make decisions and take action? The answer to all these questions will tell you exactly what your future looks like.
2. Get rid of temptations
Self-motivation is overrated. If you want to drop a few pounds, get the biscuits and chocolate out of your house! If you want to stop drinking, remove the bottles from your home. When something is put directly in front of us, we easily succumb to the temptation. ‘It’s only one; it won’t harm me.’ Most things in moderation are harmless, but the little things add up, and before we know it, we’re slipping back into old habits. Have a good clear out and get a new routine that you feel comfortable with. Get rid of the temptations and stick to it.
3. Take a look at your job
For those of you who work, how do you feel about your job? Given a choice, I appreciate that most of you wouldn’t work at all, and you’d probably spend your time somewhere on a Caribbean island. But unfortunately, most of us haven’t got that option! I speak to lots of people that describe their job as their number one source of anxiety and stress. I’m not surprised. If you have a full-time job, you spend most of your time at work, and if you’re not happy, it will significantly contribute towards your level of anxiety and stress. I’m not telling you to go and immediately quit your job if you don’t like it – that’s likely to cause even more anxiety and stress - so it doesn’t make sense. What I am saying is pay attention to how your job makes you feel, and if it is the cause of most of your anxiety and stress, ask yourself what you can do about it. Is it your boss? How many hours are you working? Is it the work itself? Are you being taken advantage of? Do you see a future with your company or career choice? If the answer to any of these questions is shaky, take action on it today.
4. Moderate your vices
I don’t want to come across as a party pooper, but there are lots of us out there using vices, like smoking and drinking, as an escape. I get it – I used to do the same. The issue, though, is that these things are done with a very short-sighted view. They are only making your anxiety worse in the long-run. I smoked for fifteen years, and one of the best things I ever did was quit. I also used to drink a bottle of wine a night to try and ease my anxiety. I didn’t need to look at government guidelines to know that was excessive. It’s about using your common sense. I still enjoy a glass of wine like anybody else, and if you’re sensible, most things in moderation are fine. Issues arise when addictions and dependencies start, and it’s easy to become dependant on these things when you’re dealing with too much anxiety and stress. Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason. They’re definitely doing nothing for your state of mind. If you feel that you need professional help to quit any form of drug (legal or illegal), act immediately and get the help you need. You don’t have to struggle alone, and help is available to anybody who wants it. A good place to start is your doctor, who will refer you to the right people. Use your common sense, and if you have a problem with any of these things, that’s the first thing you need to address.
5. Avoid toxic people
Negative people are going to bring you down, and odds would say that you have some in your life right now. They have a problem for every solution and a knack of making a positive day an instantly bad one. No matter how strong willed you are, it’s very difficult not to get sucked into the toxicity - so the best remedy is to avoid it. A negative mind will produce negative results. Give yourself the time and space you need to make a plan and stick to it. Don’t allow anybody else to influence you. Trust your instincts and go with what you know is right.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & well-being.