Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Own less, be happier

In a society filled with expensive technology, designer clothing and flash cars, you can see how tempting it is to want the best of everything. But do we want these things to make us feel good or is it ultimately to impress the people around us and post about it on social media? Sadly, much of the time, people crave belongings to increase their social status rather than to make themselves happy. Although our possessions might impress some people, generally, most of us are more impressed by how a person behaves.

Imagine, if you were the only person to exist on the planet, would you really strive so hard to possess all the same unnecessary belongings? Would you still wear designer clothes, or would you opt for something more comfortable?

What many of us don’t realise is that we also buy unnecessary things to fill a void within ourselves or to cheer ourselves up when we’re feeling down. However, these are just temporary fixes and even though you might feel good initially, the feel-good factor soon starts to wear off and the after-effects of splashing the cash can make you feel worse than you did to begin with.

The realisation that the expensive Rolex you just bought, but you can’t actually afford and don’t really need, sets in. Similarly, with sugar cravings, once you’ve indulged, you’ll start to experience a slump.

If you feel down, insecure or depressed and your mental wellbeing is generally out of sorts, you need to work on yourself in other ways.

Ways to ditch the excess

  1. Look at what you own and what you actually need. Make a list of excess belongings that don’t bring you any kind of pleasure or serve any purpose. 
  2. Start to de-clutter. Perhaps you could sell some of the belongings you have listed online or at a car boot sale. The extra money could pay towards your bills or you could even book a holiday, which, in turn, will reduce the stress of financial burdens. 
  3. The extra money could also mean you don’t have to work as hard and you can start to feel more relaxed. With the spare time, do things that you enjoy and make memories from experiences. Maybe make a bucket list and when you’re tempted to buy something you don’t need, tick something off the list. Experiences can improve your mental and physical wellbeing by making you feel alive and appreciating precious moments. You’ll begin to see how your mood changes, your confidence builds and how carefree and happy you feel. By sharing experiences with the people you love, you’ll soon start to care less about possessions and you’ll wonder why you ever spent so much money on meaningless ‘things’.
  4. Reflect on what you need, what makes you happy and what reduces stress and anxiety. Maybe it’s a sport, going out for dinner, socialising with friends, long walks outdoors or days out with the family.

Try to forget about keeping up with the Jones’s and create a richer life that’s filled with happy experiences.

For further information, read the study by Springer Nature, which looks at materialism and how this can affect wellbeing and personality.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

How to maintain your identity in your relationship

Being in love is a wonderful thing but there are times when being in a relationship can make us feel as though we’ve lost a part of our identity. It’s important to recognise when this happens to prevent any feelings of resentment and to protect our mental wellbeing. When we neglect ourselves and sacrifice too much in a relationship, it can seriously harm our mental health and we might start to feel anxious, stressed or depressed.

Signs you might be losing your identity

  • You feel like you can’t be yourself all the time
  • You feel drained
  • You stop socialising with friends
  • You neglect your hobbies and interests
  • You feel insecure about your appearance
  • You dress for your partner not for yourself
  • You make too many sacrifices
  • You’re afraid to be open with your thoughts for the fear of causing an argument
  • You stop chasing your dreams

To make a relationship work, it’s vital that you stop neglecting your own desires and the things that make you happy. Remember, your opinion, feelings and wellbeing matter. It’s understandable that you want to make the person you love happy, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of losing your own self-identity and self-worth. It’s okay to compromise but it’s not okay to compromise your own happiness.

Ways to rediscover yourself and regain your identity

  1. Spend time doing things you enjoy whether that’s a hobby or a sport. In a healthy relationship, having your own time and interests can help you to respect each other’s individuality. 
  2. Agree on a time each month or week when you can spend time with friends, either alone or as a couple. Friends make up an important part of who we are, and they provide us with love and positivity that makes us feel more confident in ourselves.
  3. Take it in turns to choose holidays or nights and days out. This can prevent feelings of resentment in the long term and can also add excitement to a relationship.
  4. Share the housework. Decide between you, which chores you wish to take on as your responsibility as this can often be one of the biggest causes of arguments in a relationship. 
  5. Have a personal bank account as well as a joint one if you wish. Agree on how much money you both put into your account for household bills and make sure your partner doesn’t control your own personal money.
  6. Learn to express your feelings and emotions and communicate openly on a regular basis. Communication is key to any healthy relationship so if you find yourself bottling up your emotions, you should make time to be open with your partner about how you feel.
  7.  Be kind to yourself and show as much love to yourself as you would to your partner. Try not to always rely on your partner to make you feel good about yourself. 
  8. Make a list of what you need emotionally, mentally and physically and ways that you can achieve this. Make sure if there are things that you don’t want to compromise on, you convey this to your partner. 
  9. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It’s not uncommon to seek approval from our partners from time to time, but if you find yourself dressing only for your partner or acting in a way that doesn’t reflect your true self, then this is something that needs to be addressed. 

Remember, you’ve spent your entire life learning about yourself and understanding who you are in order to love yourself, so don’t throw all that hard work away. Keep your identity alive as it is likely to make you happier in the long run.