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Do you have a constant stream of whatever going through your head? It’s a common issue that many people like myself deal with.
I have been able to cut down the noise a bit by focusing on the things that were sapping my energy and time.
Let’s take a look at common pitfalls to avoid if you want to clear your headspace and things to replace them with.
1. Excessive Gaming
For a lot of people, playing video games is a healthy release of stress from their life. They do it in moderation, they play a bit and then they’re done. I am not one of those people. But I used to be.
Gaming for me became an outlet of my frustrations in life. I would come home from work, sit down and drain the rest of the hours away. A lot of time was wasted doing that and there’s nothing to show for it.
I would say I haven’t played more than half of my steam library. Thousands of hours were spent on League of Legends, CS: Go, and Dota. At the time it wasn’t a conscious thought why I was doing it, but now that I have some clarity I understand.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does, it’s probably time to sit and think about why you’re really gaming. If it is too much or it isn’t benefiting your life, then you should move on.
2. Working Out
When you start to cut out a bad habit a big slot of time will suddenly appear in your life. Instead of repeating the cycle of consumption and say, switching to Netflix, you will have to find something positive to fill the void!
What I’ve done to fill up this time is switched to working out. I noticed that I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, so working on posture has become a daily routine. For you, perhaps you want abs or some mobility type exercise.
Thankfully there are an overwhelming amount of resources to get into shape. You don’t need a gym membership if you can’t afford it. Get down on the ground and give me 20!
3. “I deserve x”
This attitude of “I deserve” is a tricky way of our brain trying to get quick wins. I would tell myself I deserved this fast food, or that beer, or whatever. All because I worked hard.
But, what I really should have been investing that money in was myself! Positive activities that would have given me a return and not immediate satisfaction. All those consumables were a temporary feeling of fulfillment regardless.
I have very fond memories of being a young lad and brimming with anticipation for the next release of Harry Potter. I would walk down to the local Walmart with my sister and wait until midnight when they were legally allowed to sell them.
Those books set my imagination on fire and made me realize how enjoyable reading is. The story and magic that can be transmuted through words are powerful. Getting away from books is easy to do. But it’s not worth it!
If you finish off your favorite series online, consider reading a book series for your next one.
5. Junk Food
Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew were my Achilles heel. I needed them to function. Maybe it’s chips, fast food, or energy drinks for you. Whatever it is, consider toning it back. I’ve gone from going through a 12 pack to one soda every couple of weeks.
Its one of the hardest habits to break I’ve ever had actually. But I didn’t want to be going to the gym and going home to chug some soda. The funny thing is, breaking this habit goes hand and hand with working out.
You sort of start thinking on autopilot. Just like binging on shows and junk food might go together, so does working out and eating healthy. You’ll just trade them. And you might end up with more energy than all the artificial stimulants were supplying you with.
6. Goal Setting(however minimal)
Part of the reason video games are so addictive to me is the gratification of goal setting. When I got to x power level I was allowed to use y trinket, it unlocked this thing and that thing.
To help parlay this quality into your life, make a reasonable goal you can hit. It could be something simple, like one push-up a week. That’s manageable, right? But where our goals diverge from the online world to real life is consistency.
There is no save file, this real game is always running and it does have an end date. So treat it as such! Set that goal and then build on it.
7. Turn off the Phone
When is the last time you’ve done it? When is the last time you have been completely disconnected from any digital means of communication? If you can’t remember and you’re not an on-call doctor, give it a try.
Shut off the laptop, leave my website(sad face), and be by yourself or someone you love for a while. Something about notifications is compelling to me. A social validation goes off in my head.
I would catch myself craving it. That is not good! So, let me know how it goes for you. A forced way I do this is camping. Boy do I love camping.
8. Being Grateful
Have you ever been to a third world country? Having things like clean water, or access to mental care can be foreign concepts to a large amount of the world. It’s a nice feeling to take a moment to be grateful and accepting of your situation.
Chances are, there are a lot of things you can control and change. I almost feel like I’m talking to myself here(lol). Sometimes I take the positives for granted as well. Life is good, global warming hasn’t melted me yet and I have Postmates.
9. Dial Back on Social Media
I used to see people on Instagram living their life in a continual party. Well, it did make me a bit jealous. The thing is though, it isn’t healthy for us. If you’re in a different place in your life right now, seeing someone who has had a completely different experience is NOT GONNA HELP.
Plus, it’s just a highlight reel. I hope those beautiful beaches have crabs on them to pinch the feet of these people living it up. Then I’ll snicker in my corner and be happy :p
10. Join a Community of ACTIVE People!
This could be a running group, CrossFit, reading, or any hobby really. I love board games so that’s what I’m about. If you’re finding out that friends move away as you get older, join a group!
Get new friends! There are plenty of people out there you can mesh with still, but if you’re not pursuing new hobbies then they don’t know you exist. If you find some new friends you like let me know how it goes.
Meetup is a good resource for finding like-minded people. I haven’t used Facebook groups but I heard they work as well. Let me know how it goes 🙂
Hey everyone 🙂 My name is Conor. I'm passionate about technology, zen, and improving the quality of life so many of us share at a desk!