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On average, we are awake 16-18 hours a day. All of which we are surrounded by different things. When looking at how many hours a day we have to be influenced by our surroundings, it makes sense that it matters. So, the question today is, what are you surrounded by? What we chose to be surrounded by impacts our mental health, our physical health and well-being. If you were to take an inventory right now of what things you see, hear, touch and do, would you say they are mostly positive and life giving? Life giving is defined as things that sustain us or revitalize us. Let’s dive in.

What Am I Seeing?

The things we see can trigger emotions within us. They also affect what we think and do. So, when considering the things you see every day, do they trigger an emotion? Do you find yourself thinking positive thoughts or heavy negative thoughts? There are some indicators that you could be surrounded by too many negative sights. Below are some of those. Will you take an openminded inventory of what you are seeing? Do you find yourself struggling with the these?

  • Excessive worry
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Substance abuse
  • Anger
  • Indigestion

There are other reasons that we experience these symptoms, but being able to take honest inventory on our surroundings is healthy. Do you need to take a step to incorporate more positive experiences for yourself?

What Am I Hearing?

Like what see, the things we hear can also trigger emotions within us. Studies have shown that when we hear peaceful or positive things, dopamine is released. The other side of listening to things can also affect us. Studies have shown that listening to negative words in music can increase depression and even intensify negative or self-harm thoughts for those that struggle with them. Often times we want to listen to music that will validate what we are feeling, but the effects can be more damaging than helpful. Below are some suggestions of things you can listen to that can improve your mental health.

  • Positive mental podcasts
  • Music that improves your mood or lifts your spirits
  • A movie that makes you laugh
  • An audio book with a positive teaching or storyline
  • Meeting and talking with a friend who encourages you

We are surrounded by media that thrives from the shocking story or the negative narrative. If you feel you are affected by what you are hearing, try something new for a change. You may enjoy it.

What Am I Doing?

Like what we see and hear, what we do is crucial to our mental health. It is important to remember to schedule things that you enjoy. If we fill our days with tasks that have to get done and we repeat that over and over, t could lead to poor mental health. What does your days look like? What are you doing? Below are some suggestions of things that help reset our mental health and boost our positive input.

  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated
  • Get outside to see some grass and sky
  • Write things you are grateful for throughout the day
  • Buy a new song that inspires you positively
  • Spend time with someone who uplifts you and encourages you
  • Have obtainable short-term goals and track achieving them
  • Share your goals about improving your positive environment with someone

Changing what we have allowed ourselves to be surrounded by doesn’t happen overnight. Changes can, however, happen when make the choice each day to change one thing. Are you surrounded by things and people who are a positive influence in your life, or do you feel you have mostly negative influences? What step are you willing to take today to pour a little positivity into your life?

If you struggle to find balance in your life, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here is to help.