1. Be present
No matter who you are, or what you’ve done, you can’t control the future or change the past. Worrying about what has not happened’ and may never happen, is a waste of breath. And being regretful over past events won’t change them, and won’t make it easier to live with the consequences of the past. All there is then is the present. By focussing our attention on the here and now, on what is right in front of us, we can avoid the destructive anxiety or regret that can control us when we let our minds wonder. If you’re loading the dishwasher, focus on loading the dishwasher. If you’re at your desk doing your job, focus on doing the best you can right here and now. The present is all we have. Live in it, and you’ll feel better.
2. Learn to listen
When we’re with others, we love to talk. Sometimes, we are so keen to say what’s on our mind that we fail to listen to what the other person is saying. Not only can that come across as thoughtless and selfish, but we also miss the opportunity to make a real connection, and get the most out of our relationships. So, listen. Let the other person finish, respond to what they’ve said. Not only will you become a better person, but you will also learn more, and see more opportunities in life.
3. Keep a journal
Having some time set aside every day to reflect on the events of the day, and most importantly, your reaction to them and feelings about them, makes it easier to cope with life. Reflecting on what has happened to you, and what you have done, can help you plan for the future, can help you avoid making mistakes, and can help you generally feel better about yourself and your life.
4. Get more exercise
Not a surprise this. A daily habit of 10 minutes moderate exercise – a brisk walk for example – can have beneficial effects on your weight, your lifespan, your resistance to certain diseases, and your energy. It also gives you the opportunity to pause in the day, to do something completely different, and to go back to work more refreshed and buzzed. Make it a habit, and within a short time, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel all round.
5. Practice gratitude
With all the problems in the world, both big and small, global and personal, it is very easy to lose sight of the good things in life. In any life there is always something to be grateful for, and to take time to acknowledge that can enhance your enjoyment of them. Friends, family, health. Once you stop taking these for granted, and start being grateful for them you will find that there is a lot in life that is deserving of your gratitude, and you’ll appreciate life a whole lot more.
6. Make your bed
With the press of events, with all the things that we have to do every damn day, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Getting into the habit of making your bed as you get up is a small way of asserting control. It also allows you to start the day with a feeling of accomplishment, and if you accomplish one thing, why can’t you accomplish others. It seems trivial, but getting up and straightening your bed puts your mind in an action oriented mood, and after that, who knows what’s possible?
7. Be kind
People can be dicks. We all know that. We encounter idiots in every walk of life. But here’s something you may not realise – you can be a dick too. When the barista screws up your order and you snap at them sarcastically, you’ve just made their day a little worse. When you drive selfishly and harass that cyclist who won’t get out of the way, you can be sure that the cyclist thinks you’re a dick. When you can help with little cost to you but your time, but you’d rather walk by and not get involved, the people looking for help probably think you’re being a dick. It doesn’t take much to ruin someone’s day, but it also doesn’t take much to be kind. How you treat someone says more about you than you can guess. So be kind, people will think more of you, you’ll feel better about yourself, and the world will be better place.
8. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself
While it always pays to be kind, you mustn’t lose sight of your needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you be of help to others? If you don’t look after your own needs, or work towards your own goals, how will your life be happy. It’s not selfish, it’s part of life, and you should not neglect it.
9. Spend more time with friends and family
Spending time with people we love and people we like can be relaxing. It can sharpen us up and stop us becoming dull. And it can introduce a wonderful element of unpredictability into life. Among people we love and trust we can be ourselves, and see that life is sweet after all.
10. Get more sleep
Parents of young children can attest to the effects of getting too little sleep. You lose all energy, all enthusiasm, and can only think about when you might get some blissful sleep. Sleep more. Aim for 8 hours a night. You’ll find your productivity will increase. Also your personal relationships will improve as you won’t be too tired to do anything or to focus on the other person. It’s magic – more sleep = more energy = more stuff done. And accomplishing stuff leads to happiness. Simple.