The following tips may seem rather simple and obvious to most of you. However, I have found that often when people want to make a change, myself included, we think we need to begin with grand, bold moves. This ends up being really overwhelming and we usually throw in the towel before we have even started.
I have slowly adopted these three principles into my life and have gradually started to see a shift. For example, I decided I wanted to start waking up earlier. So instead of setting my alarm for hours before my normal wake up time (which I tried and failed miserably), I began waking up simply a half hour earlier. Eventually I triedout an hour earlier. Gradually I reached my time goal and did so in a manner that wasn’t so extreme.
So start small with these tweaks and see where it takes you.
1.) Switching up the morning routine
The first thing many of us do after rolling out of bed (or perhaps even before getting out of bed if you keep electronics within an arms reach) is switch on our computers to check e-mail, turn on the television to get caught up on the morning’s depressing news, or check our cell phones for any social media updates (who doesn’t love waking up to a facebook friend request)? So many of us are guilty of these daily habits that it is difficult to see how detrimental they can be to the rest of our day. The coffee has not even begun to brew yet and we are already overstimulated! The effects of this media overload are often subtle, making it difficult to even be aware of it. This chaotic routine though can create an element of anxiety that will linger into your daily commute, that big business meeting and the rest of the day’s activities. Instead of switching on the computer and television first thing in the morning, turn on music that will set the tone for the rest of your day. Nothing says a happy, anxiety-free day like a little Bob Marley in the morning. It sounds simple, but it is amazing how the effects last throughout most of the day. Save the e-mail checking and facebook stalking for when you feel mentally relaxed and ready.
2.) Doing one thing for another
Again, this one seems simple and a bit of a no brainer. It is common knowledge that doing something for another will bring us happiness, but can you remember the last time you gave of yourself? It is so easy to get caught up in the daily hassles of work, bills, and numerous other responsibilities, that giving to someone else are easily overlooked. Whether it is volunteering for an hour a week or over tipping the morning barista at Starbucks, the smallest of gestures will be as rewarding to you as it is to the one on the receiving end. Be conscientious throughout the day of opportunities where you could lend your time or resources to improve the day of another. The irony is that your day will be equally improved.
3.) Try one thing outside of your comfort zone
Trying something out of the ordinary can help to broaden your horizons and expand your worldview. I’m not necessarily suggesting taking up sky diving or anything too extreme, but sometimes even the smallest of activities that stir up feelings of minor discomfort, can leave you with a renewed sense of self and awareness. For example, I recently attended a meditation class. Sitting Indian style with a bunch of strangers attempting to quiet my brain was certainly an unusual experience, but it was accompanied with a sense of accomplishment for trying something different. Trying new things can make you feel like a more rounded person and instill confidence. Whether it be taking up baking or training for a 5k, the feeling that you have mastered something new will not only make you more interesting but also happier overall. And isn’t that the ultimate accomplishment?