Designing Your Environment

There are plenty of external factors that can influence our level of enjoyment in any given moment. The number of cars on our commute and how they are moving; the number of people in line at the ice cream shop we love; the speed and friendliness of the DMV worker processing each customer; the contents of an email we receive; a political social media post, and more. While it may seem we are at the mercy of these externals, we have more control than we think.

Think about drinking water. It isn’t just scooped up from a flowing stream and put in a bottle. It needs to be filtered and cleaned before it becomes a healthy drinking option for us. The same is true in life. You have to filter and clean what you’re consuming so your environment is as healthy and enjoyable as possible. Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – Your attitude has a LOT to do with your level of happiness. Sure, that motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic going 100mph may frustrate you, but that’s not in your control. Ruminating about the senselessness of it and how “people now-a-days only care about where they’re going” isn’t going to change a thing. Instead, send a prayer for safety their way and move on to happier things to ponder.
  • Social media – There is a lot to see on social media threads. How much of it actually makes you happy? Really, think about it. If you were to compare your level of happiness before you started scrolling and after, do you think you’d be happier? I’m willing to bet you would not. In fact, there is a strong likelihood it would make you less happy. Whether it’s a political post that gets your blood boiling, a sad stream of people who have lost loved ones, or the ever-present FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling we get when people seem to be living perfect, exciting lives, there’s a good chance we conclude a social media scrolling session feeling relatively crappy. So, instead of checking the feed every 30 minutes, limit yourself to just a few quick visits each day. Also, remove anyone you aren’t truly trying to maintain a social connection with. A crowd of “friends” brings a crowd-sized amount of “stuff” you may not want to be consuming every day.
  • News Alerts – While there’s certainly a level of enjoyment in being “the first to know” the latest news story, that excitement is usually quickly replaced with a feeling of “how bad things are getting.” Just like with social media, you should be controlling how frequently these notifications enter your world. Let someone else consume this information in excess. If it’s something really important, you’ll find out about it. In fact, KEEP the weather notifications on your phone. Everything else? Save it for later. A 10-minute perusing of your favorite news site will tell you everything you need to know to stay current. By letting a little time pass between the first Breaking News announcement and the updates, your information is likely to be more accurate anyway.
  • Television – If you’re a big fan of TV shows, consider how these may impact your mental state. Are these shows filled with a lot of drama or violence? It doesn’t really matter if it’s fact or fiction – your brain processes the information the same. It all becomes part of the environment you’re “living” in, so choose wisely.

There you have it! Some ways to control your environment and experience more enjoyment and happiness. The more you control what you’re consuming, the more control you’ll have over your inner thoughts. Your mind is your “mental garden” and you want to design it so that it brings you peace and comfort. This starts by controlling what you bring into that “garden.” Bad stuff exists and I’m not suggesting you pretend it doesn’t, but just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to consume it every moment of every day. It’s there, so be aware, but don’t cover the walls of your world with it. There’s plenty of good stuff happening, too!

Share in the comments section which of these you want to work on or something that has worked for you and helped you to keep your environment a happier one.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Comments

  1. I love this post April! It is so true! I have recently started cleaning up my social media and I feel so much lighter.. and the people who were sharing negative things were not things I needed to see. I agree with your statement about consumption.. and I see it my child even.. so many children love playing video games.. we typically control the amount of screen time he has, but there were a couple of times we did not control that and I could see the effects of that on his mood even in a very short amount of time!

    • Thanks for sharing what you’re doing to take control of your environment – I think your message will resonate with many!

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