Want to be happier? Try a mental detox

We all want to be happy, successful and confident, but the reality is we have no idea how to achieve this. When it comes to our physical fitness, the formula is simple – workout regularly, eat a clean diet and get lots of sleep. We even have a plethora of digital tools and wearables to help us track every step taken and calorie burned to reach our wellness goals. But when it comes to our mental health, the rule book isn’t as simple. While our physical diet, activity and sleep are all important aspects of our mental well-being, a large part of our happiness is derived from our environment.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat”. Just as important as diet is to physical fitness, what we feed our minds has an impact on our emotional well-being. If you surround yourself with negative people, you’re likely to find yourself in a worse mood.

Thanks to technology, the mental diet we’re eating is full of crap.  We’ve become dependent on our devices, and as much as they add value to our lives, they also deplete our energy and dissipate our focus because of the fractured and abbreviated nature of the content they expose us to. Tweets, Instagram posts, and Snapchat clips have significantly displaced novels, movies and other lengthy and substantive forms of content. As a result of this shift towards bite-size, mindless content, opportunities for self-reflection and growth have diminished.

Furthermore, we spend hours a day analyzing other peoples’ lives that we forget to fully live in and appreciate our own.  We feel sorry for ourselves that our lives aren’t as fun and glamorous as they appear in other people’s feeds (news flash: it’s all a mirage).  We live such curated lives through social media where we are (literally!) filtering out only the good, happy times and hiding the real struggles that build character and help us feel more connected to others.

Unfortunately, these changes are here to stay, so the solution isn’t to pine for the good old days. Instead, it’s up to us to make a conscious effort to eliminate these digital distractions and seek out content that aids in our personal growth. Take a mental detox by turning off the news, deleting Instagram from your phone, and avoiding anyone who creates negative energy around you. Seek out content that inspires and educates you. The healthier and more positive content you feed your mind, the more emotionally fit you will become.