We here at Tomodotchi are big believers in mindful thinking. We believe a key to mastering our emotions and giving our mental health the best chance of success is to practice awareness. If we can begin to recognize the things that negatively and positively impact our mental health, then we can be more intentional in setting boundaries and giving ourselves the best chance of success. This is what we wanted to focus this week’s topic on, 3 things that negatively and 3 things that positively impact our mental health!
Mental Health and Mental Wellness Detriments
We always like to end on a positive, so to start let’s dive into 3 things that negatively impact our mental health. While reading, we would challenge you to think of any other negative detriments in your life. If something immediately comes to mind, it may be time to set some boundaries. It’s important to know that your feelings are valid regardless of how others feel. Only you are going to prioritize your own wellness! Trust us when we say, YOU MATTER!
 Toxic Company
We know what you are thinking. Wow Tomodotchi, so original, way to list something that we totally didn’t expect (sarcastic sigh). Trust me we know! However, there is a reason we listed this at number one. That is because so many of us, ourselves included, continue to be friends with people who are toxic to us. Toxic can mean so many things; it can be someone who is negative all the time, someone who talks you down, someone who drains all your energy, and or people who don’t bring out the best in you and so much more.
The first thing that you should be aware of is that you define what is toxic to your life. You don’t need an article like this or anyone else to validate your beliefs. Even if no one else feels like someone is toxic to you, or if they believe you should support that person no matter what, your feelings are valid. You are the one who is mindful of how the other person impacts your mental and emotional health. Trust us, you can’t help someone else if you are not in a good space yourself.
That being said, toxic for us at Tomodotchi is people who don’t want to better themselves, who only want others to feel sorry for them, who only take and never give and who need to bring others down to feel good about themselves. Our emotional and mental state is a direct influence of the company we keep, so for us here at Tomodotchi, it is important for us to keep ourselves surrounded by positive influences otherwise we know our thoughts will go dark and negative. Which we all know starts the downhill spiral.
Now, we know how hard it is to completely cut people off, especially if the person in question is a longtime family friend or even actual family. However, if you recognize the company you keep is sending your mind to a dark space or draining you, our opinion is that it is ok and appropriate to limit your time with those people. If you have a choice, of course it is best to completely cut those people off, but we know in reality this isn’t always practical. You should however set boundaries for yourself to limit the negative time!
Small goals and wins can help you take back control, here are some of our mental wellness examples;
- Set time limits of interaction
- Change topic to light conversation every time it goes negative (example: wow I’m sorry to hear that, oh by the way did you see XXX movie? Crazy right??)
- Focus on something else during the conversation (a technique called grounding can help you focus on something else to remove yourself from the situation)
- Do not waste energy thinking about that person, redirect your thoughts to something more positive!
[In a future post, we will likely discuss our thought process when we employ these examples (leave a comment if this is something you would be interested in!)]
If you have done all you can to try and change the toxic persons mindset and they simply do not want to change. We need to recognize that maybe we are not the right person to change them and that we cannot change someone who does not want to be changed. It is hard for us to change the people closest to us, because after all, who likes getting feedback from someone close to you? Obviously, if you try to help those negative people but they only succeed in bringing you down too, then you have to learn how to let them go from your mind and not spend your energy thinking about them and their negativity. Just accept them for who they are and move forward. Part of mindfulness is knowing that you cannot control your surroundings and that you can only control yourself. You cannot help anyone, especially yourself, if you let the darkness take hold.
 Comparing Yourself to Social Media Avatars
Again, this one is not the most original thought, but it is worth discussing. As humans, we tend to only showcase the best of our lives. After all we spend most of our lives afraid of judgement. This is a huge reason that it’s hard to share stories with one another about our collective mental health and why we feel so isolated. But, that’s a story for another time!
Social media is a place that most of us will only post our greatest hits. We all know that it is a small window into someone’s life. Yet, we tend to think that what we see is the daily reality of that person’s life. We get tricked by all the influencers, celebrities and even our closest friends and family. When all we see is the great moments, we start to think that everyone’s life is greater than our own. Suddenly everyone seems happier, more successful and better than us. We begin to perceive that what we see on social media is reality and that our reality isn’t as great as theirs.
Wanting what we don’t have and comparing ourselves is incredibly taxing on our minds. Many times, this defeats many of us and drives us to thoughts of why should we even try. Or we get anxiety when we compare and think we aren’t doing enough with our lives. But we are here to reassure you, that on the other side of the screen we as people are not so different from one another. We all deal with the stress of life. Things will always go wrong as much as they go right, we all get pimples, step in dog poo or get a flat tire. Afterall, everything looks great with a few filters, edits and music.
So, if you know that social media has these effects on you, then it is completely ok to take a break from social media or even permanent deletion. We here at Tomodotchi actually deleted all our personal social media account years ago, and it was the best decision we ever made for our mental health. Recently we did start again, but only to build this community of Tomodotchi’s. The moral of the story is, life always looks better through the other side of a screen. Be aware of the effects comparing yourself and seeing constant stimulation has on you and make the changes you need to help you be successful in your wellness journey. The people who love you will always be there for you, whether you are on social media or not. We know that we will always be there for you.
When we here at Tomodotchi were at our lowest place, we had just started college and our OCD came screaming in. We had always had signs of OCD, but some reason it came fighting with a vengeance that first year of college. When this happened, we were inundated with constant intrusive thoughts, what if this and what if that. It got to the point where we couldn’t leave the house or even one single spot. We isolated ourselves and didn’t let anyone in to help and suffered alone. Honestly, this was the worst time of our lives and we wouldn’t wish it on anyone. What made it worse though? The isolation we imposed on ourselves and the feeling of wanting to be alone or that no one would understand and judge us.
This was one of the worst things we could have done for ourselves. We were alone with our thoughts and we quickly learned that our rational selves could never beat our irrational selves alone. Once we started spending time with our closest friends and family and explained our situation, we found nothing but love and support. We found allies to beat back the irrationality and we got the medical help we needed (more allies!). After half a year of isolation, we opened up and were able to fight back with the support we needed.
For us, it was key just to have several friends and family get us through the situation. We used our awareness to think about who would really be able to help and we answered their call when they reached out. We hope that if you are going through a tough time and are in a negative headspace that you allow those reaching out to become your ally. Here at Tomodotchi, we are building a community of allies to help promote our collective mental wellness. So regardless of where or who you are, you will always have allies in your Tomodotchi. Don’t go it alone!
Steps to Mental Wellness and Positivity
Ok, enough doom and gloom! At Tomodotchi, we want to always end on a positive, because honestly there’s enough negativity in the world as it is. The 3 things below are steps that we have taken to increase our mental wellness and positivity.
 Pets and Unconditional Love
If you have joined our Facebook family then you have already been introduced to two of the Tomodotchi pets. If you haven’t joined our Facebook family, then you’re missing out! But we here at Tomodotchi have a veritable zoo (1 dog, 1 cat and 1 more TBA very soon!). So needless to say, we are huge animal lovers. Why do we have so many fur family? Well because like friends, pets are family you get to choose! They love unconditionally, they are always there for you and they make the best friends. When you have anxiety or you feel down or lonely, knowing that your friend is waiting for you at home with a smile, a wag or a lick can make everything better. Our first fur pal joined us when we left home after college. Living alone for the first time was daunting and the thought of a quiet apartment with no one waiting was anxiety provoking for us. So, we adopted our first cat!
Knowing that we had a life relying on us and was even excited to see us come home did so much good for our mental wellness. Just the simple sound of the bell from the cat’s collar was enough to make us feel less lonely and relieve some anxiety. There are so many studies on why pets are beneficial to our mental health that we could make a sole post dedicated to this topic. But speaking from experience we can definitely say, pet’s make a great way to beat isolation and they will and do love unconditionally. Even if no one else in your house will get up from the couch to greet you, your pet will always come to say hi when you get home. They are always there and ready for cuddles and help get the serotonin pumping.
If you are in an area where you cannot have a pet, or circumstances do not allow you to have pets. Then we highly suggest you join our Facebook page; we are doing a whole series on the tomodotchi pet family. We want you to feel their unconditional love through their pictures. We plan to release shorts and content based on them to help you feel the mood boost of having a pet, without all the clean up! If you have your own pet, please come and share pictures of your pal! We love seeing others pictures and we know the Tomodotchi family would love to see your pictures as well.
 Setting Non-Negotiables
This changed our lives here at Tomodotchi. In the past, we did not set non-negotiables in our lives. The result is that everyone else’s emergencies became our priorities. In most cases those emergencies were not true emergencies and just a result of that person’s lack of planning. We cannot even begin to tell you how many late nights we worked or how much time and plans we sacrificed for the sake of others. However, this all changed when we set non-negotiables in our lives. Simply put, we set simple boundaries for things we must do every day without exception. Obviously, in the case of absolute emergencies, we can be flexible, but only for worst case scenarios do we change our plans.
What boundaries did we set for ourselves? Well during the week, we have 2 simple boundaries. We will get in at least 45 mins of a workout every day and we will have dinner with our family. We have other non-negotiables like going out to dinner at least once a month or going to the dog park at least twice a month. Now, you may look at these as very basic, but in the past, we would skip these things because we needed to help deal with other people’s emergencies. Prioritizing everyone but yourself does not help your mental wellness. It makes you feel less than others, it tells your mind that you don’t matter and it sets the precedent to keep doing this.
Setting simple non-negotiables gives you back control. You may have to do things after your non-negotiables but because your prioritized yourself, it really shifts your mindset. On top of that, if your non-negotiables are activities that positively affect your wellness, then you should not and cannot give those activities up. (Post coming soon on things you can do to affect your wellness positively). For those afraid of the repercussions of saying no, you don’t always have to say no, but always do the favor after or before your non negotiables, do not give up what you love and your friends and loved ones will understand.
 Shifting Our Mindset
Finally, one of the best things you can do for your mental wellness is changing your mindset. Now you are probably asking, “what the heck do you mean Tomodotchi? That’s so broad…”. We know, we know! Sorry, but a perfect example of this would be learning a new skill. For example’s sake let’s say you are learning how to garden. If your plant died, most people would look at this as a failure and let the negativity take over. Well, we should change our mindset so instead of saying we failed, look at it as wow, I gained a new experience in gardening and I have more knowledge than I did yesterday and you leveled up!
Another great example is a quote we posted on our Facebook for motivational monday, the quote said “You’re worried about what-ifs. Well, what if you stopped worrying?” – Shannon Celebi. This is such a simple but powerful statement. A simple redirection of thinking allows you to shift your thoughts in a completely different way. More practically, for us here at Tomodotchi, when our anxiety is at its worst, we find ourselves only thinking of the worst most unrealistic possibilities. We spend all our energy thinking through all the worst-case scenarios. One day, we realized, we never once allowed ourselves to think of the best-case scenario or even the middle ground. We were so fixated on the worst we never even thought any other scenario was possible. When we started focusing and pushing ourselves to think of other scenarios, we found ourselves spending energy thinking more positive thoughts. The negative doesn’t just go away, we know that, but allow yourself to gain some positivity by shifting your mindset and redirect your thinking.
Mental Health Benefits & Conclusion
We hope this post challenges you to think about the things in your life that may be causing you negativity and are impacting your mental health and wellness. Having the awareness to think and challenge yourself critically is important. If you don’t recognize the negative, then you will continue to be drained mentally and emotionally. By the same token, we hope you can start to think about what small changes you can make to allow yourselves more positivity. Think about what makes you happy and what you can control and set non-negotiables. This will yield you so many mental health benefits.
We know all this is easier said than done and as humans we will always be growing and learning. These are simply just our opinion and we would love to hear about both the negative and positives in your life. Let’s all help one another grow by sharing so we know we aren’t alone.
Practice awareness so you can recognize the things that positively and negatively impact your mental wellness and health. Learn to limit the negative and prioritize the positives in your life.