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The habits that have most improved your life

The new year can be a fertile time for introspection. We asked Positive News readers: what habits do you swear by? From tried and tested rituals to more eccentric customs, this is what you said

The new year can be a fertile time for introspection. We asked Positive News readers: what habits do you swear by? From tried and tested rituals to more eccentric customs, this is what you said

Curiosity

Having recently retired, I’m finding that continuing to learn is so important for my mental health. I’ve taken free online courses, learned to play a musical instrument, learned to draw better and even paint. It’s not about how good I get. It’s about experiencing new things.

Cat, Saskatchewan, Canada

Self-compassion

Even if I’m having a bad day – made a mistake or did something I wasn’t proud of – I remind myself that I’m a good person and I’m doing my best.

Marisa, UK

Gratitude

The daily practice of becoming aware of what I’m grateful for and speaking it aloud as a family before our evening meal. This powerful practice helps me to remain aware that my life is full of beautiful gifts every day, and that I can choose to see them for what they are, or to ignore them or take them for granted.”

Robin, Canada

Journalling

Journalling has led me to properly identify my flaws, my qualities, my short- and long-term goals, and generally allowed me to go in the direction that I want my life to go in.

Quentin, France

Digital decluttering

I’m in the middle of a digital declutter as outlined in the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. By cutting out some of the noise and being conscious of which apps and information sources I allow into my life, I’m noticing I’m becoming a calmer and happier person.

Alex, Devon, England

Positive News

I’m only a child, but I’m still prone to anxiety. Reading Positive News has really given me a brighter outlook on life.

Julia, England

Not procrastinating

Doing immediately what can be done easily.

Claudia, Vienna, Austria

'Books are like a new world to go into when the pressure of the world we live in gets to you.' Image: Yan Krukau

Birdwatching

Birdwatching is a habit that entices me outdoors and requires me to pay attention to what is happening around me. Watching birds is meditative: simultaneously relaxing and attention-focusing.

Cat, Vermont, US

Accepting all feelings

Embracing all feelings equally – joy, anger, love, sadness, pride, loneliness. I try to pay attention to any feeling that arises, even if only for the briefest of moments, before the cacophony of thought sets in.

Kaushik, Belgium

Botany

Learning the names of the common plants, fungi and animals around me … has cured my ‘species loneliness’ (alienation from other living things) and made me feel that I’m surrounded by friends wherever I go, even if there are no other people around.

Pax, York, England

Reading

Books are like a new world to go into when the pressure of the world we live in gets to you. Not only does it help relieve my stress, but I find that a lot of the main characters persevere through their story and teach us to do the same.

Imogen, Jersey, UK

'[Gratitude] helps me to remain aware that my life is full of beautiful gifts every day.' Image: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Gardening

The connection with nature throughout the year grounds me, and reminds me that whatever craziness there is in the wider world, there is a sense of quiet continuity and hope.

J Gordon, UK

Questioning desire

Asking myself: ‘Why do I want this?’ Understanding how you were influenced to want something is a great way to step back. I find it leads me to a more peaceful mind, and a better understanding of me versus my environment.

Sam Morris, Singapore

Sharing with other men

A weekly men’s circle. I’m a bit biased, but many men say the same thing. I can’t imagine going through life without it.

Pasco, Scottish Borders, UK

Silliness

Me and my housemate take turns to clean the house each week, and recently we’ve been hiding things around the house for the other person to find when they clean. Small silly things like that, which change a chore like cleaning into a treasure hunt, help us to reconnect with our inner child and inject a bit of light-heartedness into life.

Naomi, Northern Ireland

Main image: Solstock

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