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7 Things In Your Life That Need a Filter 

Provided by BRITA 

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Filters aren’t just for Instagram, you know

1. That passive aggressive (or just plain aggressive) text you’re about to send.

Even if you’re feeling pissed at your friend/boyfriend/roommate for leaving you with a sink full of dirty dishes or forgetting to empty the litter box, resist the urge to send that text you know won’t actually improve the situation, says Mike Dow, Psy.D., psychotherapist and author of Healing the Broken Brain. There are selfish reasons to take the high road: “If you text back (aggressively or passive aggressively) you’ll increase your cortisol levels, which ages you and wreaks havoc on your immune system,” he says. Not to mention, it’s unlikely any text you send will actually do anything to change their behavior. 

Use this mindfulness technique instead: Notice the anger, jealousy, or whatever negative feelings you have, and teach yourself to tolerate the emotion without reactivity, Dow says. “Imagine that it's a leaf floating on a stream. Let it be there for as long as it's there, and then let it float by you.” 

2. Your over-packed schedule. 

“Filter out non-essential activities to make time for yourself, your goals, your desires, your hobbies—whatever it is you want to do that you never think you have time for,” says life coach and author Susie Moore. Because the reality is, you do have time, as long as you trim the BS.

Before you hit accept on that Google cal invite to an event you feel lukewarm about, ask yourself: “Do I feel excited about this? Or obliged? Or even worse, resentful and stuck?” If it isn’t a ‘heck yes!’ make it a ‘no.’ You’ll be thankful for all the time and money you’ll save, she says. 

3. The pointless message you’re drafting to your ex.

It happens to the best of us: You find yourself alone with a glass of wine, looking through old photos of your ex, and the next thing you know, you’re stalking his new fling on Facebook and drafting a slightly incoherent email that you’ll hate yourself for in the morning. This situation calls for the heaviest of filters. 

You need to get ‘love sober,’ says Dow. “Breakups actually light up the pain and addiction regions of the brain,” he explains. Cut your ex out cold turkey, like an alcoholic would alcohol. “Don't look at your ex on social. Resist the urge to text.” Instead, fill your days with activities and friends so you’re less likely to end up reaching out. It will pass, but you have to take care of yourself in the meantime. Believe us: Your future self will thank you. 

4. Your Facebook rant.

Even if you’re in the mood to vent about the person who was totally rude to you at the DMV this morning, remember that your Facebook wall simply isn’t the same as writing in a diary, and most people don’t care about your problems as much as you do (sorry!). 

If you’re in the habit of using Facebook to call out your high school friends and distant relatives who don’t agree with your political views, remember Dow’s advice before you start furiously typing up that status that serves just express your anger: You won’t be able to change the opinions of those who fundamentally disagree with you, and your own cortisol levels will only spike in the process of trying to do so. Instead, go channel that aggression into something that will actually serve you, like a heart-pumping workout.

5. That TOO honest advice you think your best friend needs to hear.

We know—sometimes your friends pick bad partners, or they choose hair colors that are really un-flattering for their skin tone. But, your super-honest advice isn’t always what your friend needs in that moment, even if you desperately want to give it to her. “When deciding how much you should filter, trust your instincts in terms of how much this friend can handle at the given moment,” says Dow. If she’s already feeling hard on herself, it’s important to know when to avoid the ‘tough love’ and opt for some TLC, he says.

6. Negative ‘friends’ who no longer add to your life.

We all have that terrible friend we keep around just because we’ve known her for most of our life. But guess what? It’s time to filter. “When you're 21, it's easy to have 12 good friends. As you get older, it’s more difficult as you balance kids, career, family, etc.,” Dow says. But "trimming the fat" is actually a healthy part of adult relationships. As you get older, it's healthy to have just three close friends, he says. (Sex and the City was onto something!) And don't feel guilty about filtering these people out of your life; by saying "no" to an acquaintance you're actually saying "yes" to a closer friend, he says.

7. The way you talk to yourself

If your friend talked badly about her body or her accomplishments in front of you, you’d sure as hell tell her to stop putting herself down, right? Yet, somehow, the same doesn’t seem to apply to the way we talk to ourselves. The time a self-critical thought pops into your mind (you'll know it by the sinking feeling you experience), stop and ask yourself, "Would I speak to a friend the way I am speaking to myself in this moment?" Moore says. “I bet you a million dollars the answer is ‘no.’” Consider what you would tell a person you love in your position, then speak to yourself that way too, she says. Even a "hey you're doing your best, these things take time" is a thousand times better than, "I cheated on my diet—I'm a screw up!" Moore says.

Did you find these tips helpful? If so, Brita invites you to choose The Filtered Life. When you filter out the bad you get to the good, in life and in water. Find more stories of people living The Filtered Life at FilteredLife.com.