Take a ten-minute nature walk
For the most part, there’s nothing that can’t wait 10 minutes. Therefore, there is no reason we can’t all prioritise getting outside in nature, no matter the weather.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that spending just 10 minutes a day surrounded by nature increased people’s vitality levels. You should take 10 minutes out of every day to put down your phone and simply go for a walk.
In a world full of bad news, and the distraction of devices, try disconnecting and spending more time outdoors and see how you feel.
Challenge yourself to notice anything that surprises you, that you hadn’t noticed before. Allow yourself to be amazed by simple things. Studies have shown that taking in the small details in nature, can connect you back to yourself which will leave you relaxed and confident. It helps relieve stress and increases happiness. Moving in the outdoors also helps decrease inflammation and increases vitamin D.
Do something social at least once per week with the “right” company
In 2017, researchers from Harvard proved that human connection is what keeps people happy throughout their lifetimes. This means that time invested in friendships is time well-spent.
Darren Hardy wrote that the people you most commonly spend time with influence as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.
“Isolation breeds discontent,” says psychotherapist, Raffi Bilek. “You don’t have to be the life of the party; having just one or two close friends keeps you feeling connected and alive.”
Make a point of spending time with the people who make you feel good. Those who make you feel like you want more when you part. Choose people that challenge you and inspire you to be a better person. As much as you are able, spend more time with the people you want to be like and less time with those you don’t. We are greatly impacted by the people we associate with.
If you’re looking for a little friendship inspiration, check out these 50 Ways to Make New Friends After 50.
Reach out to people you haven’t been in touch with recently
There’s no doubt that maintaining your relationship with close friends and family is important. The truth is it’s totally natural to drift apart from people as you move through life. If you miss someone and want to rekindle your relationship with them, don’t let your nerves get in the way. Sure, it might be a little awkward at first, but chances are they’ll at least be flattered that you reached out to them. And who knows? It might spark a renewed friendship that lasts a lifetime.
Chances are, the person you reach out to will be flattered, relieved and happy to hear from you.
Each week, set a goal to get in touch with one person you haven’t talked to in a while, and you’ll find your personal and professional networks growing faster than ever before.
Here are 30 texts to open the door with someone you haven’t talked to for a while.
Schedule family time
If you always wish you could spend more time with your family, this one’s for you. “Family is all about focus,” says Arman Sadeghi, business coach and founder of Titanium Success. “For most of us, family is the most important thing. However, most of us simply don’t schedule enough time with our family, so that time is what always gets squeezed out.
Family time offers many benefits, including building confidence, creating a stronger emotional bond between family members, improving communication skills, better performance in school and reduced behavioural issues for children, as well as providing an opportunity to make memories built on fun, laughter, and togetherness.
It is too easy to assume that everyone else is too busy for family time and to not want to push the agenda. However, oftentimes other family members just want someone to take the lead and to make the plans, book the table, find a new meeting place, cook them a meal, suggest a film that’s suitable for everyone. Take the risk. Take the initiative.
Visit museums and art galleries whenever you get the chance
There are a lot of benefits that come from visiting museums as often as possible. Since it’s a novel activity, it can boost your brain’s ability to learn new information. Not only that, but an oft-cited 2008 study published in Curator also showed that positive museum visits have major restorative powers, increasing visitor’s well-being and reducing their stress levels.
Visiting museums contributes to emotional wellbeing – providing a sense of connection, optimism and hope, self-esteem and resilience, support, quiet, rest and sanctuary, social capital and relationships, meaningful pursuits and by providing a safe, rich environment with access to arts.
We all like to feel “smarter” and regular visits to museums and galleries does just this, and in an enjoyable way. Additionally, they provide conversation prompts which enables communication with your friends and/or partner.
Change your environment
“Our surroundings can cause us to develop depressive thoughts and feelings, thus causing us to believe life can never get better,” says Saudia L. Twine, a marriage and family therapist with FreshStart Counselling Group.
Your environment can influence mood. Several research studies revealed that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation and sleep.
Similarly, cluttered, or unclean environments can cause stress or feelings of a lack of control.
Additionally, simply changing environments can provide a new challenge, a sense of excitement and interest and therefore happiness.
Surround yourself with the things you like. Your environment should make you feel safe, content, positive and proud. Take control and make changes to ensure your environment is the best it can be to make you feel good about spending time there.
It doesn’t have to be a permanent change. Sometimes a holiday is all we need to appreciate a new environment and re-set your state of mind.
Smiling not only offers a mood boost but helps our bodies release cortisol and endorphins that provide numerous health benefits, including reduced blood pressure and increased endurance.
Yes, really. “By doing so, a positive and open approach is projected,” says Darlene Corbett, a speaker, licensed therapist, and coach. “Smiling often creates greater success both personally and professionally.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to smile is that it may lengthen your overall lifespan. One study found that genuine, intense smiling is associated with longer life by boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
Happy people seem to enjoy better health and longevity, but more research is needed to understand why. Research indicates that happiness could increase lifespan by years—suggesting maintaining a happy, positive mood may be an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
We are naturally drawn to people who smile. While more severe or negative facial expressions like frowns, scowls, and grimaces work in the opposite manner, effectively pushing people away, smiling is seen as more attractive—and people may even assume you have more positive personality traits if you’re smiling.11
Not only can smiling make you more attractive, but it can also make you look more youthful. The muscles we use to smile also lift the face, making you appear younger. So instead of opting for a facelift, just try smiling your way through the day—you’ll look younger and feel better.
Smiling is contagious. If you smile at a stranger and they smile back, it’s a wonderful feeling. You’ve instantly made someone else feel good.
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better.
Write down all the things you’ve ever wanted that you already have – gratitude
Feeling like you want more from life? While that’s a common feeling for most people, you should actually be switching your mindset and thinking about all the things you already have.
Gratitude is said to be the root of happiness. It tends to focus you on what you have and replace a sense of what you might be lacking. According to some philosophers, you can’t feel both grateful and unhappy, so when your mind focuses on all you are thankful for, you’re more likely to feel joy.
“Write a list of all the things you have now that you once wanted, such as completing your education, getting married, getting a job, buying a house, having kids, or visiting a certain city,” says Jennie Vila, a life and career coach with Growth Mindset. You’ll no doubt feel satisfied by reflecting on how far you’ve come.
Gratitude is a powerful positive force. Far from a fluffy or frivolous concept, it has real impact on physical health, emotional wellbeing, motivation, engagement and belonging.
Your gratitude habit can be as simple as writing down “3 thinks you are thankful for” each day.
Or, begin and end with intention. Start each day by thinking about all you appreciate and expect from the day, and as you turn out the lights at the end of each day also consider all you’re grateful for.
Acknowledging gratitude, is one of the ways to improve your life immediately and will have a great impact.
Make time to volunteer
“Making a difference”, makes us feel good. A pivotal 2003 study published in Social Science & Medicine shows that volunteering can actually be a mental game-changer, and may even reduce anxiety and depression. So, get involved in a cause you care about, and reap the feel-good benefits.
Try stepping outside your comfort zone and looking for how you can do something for someone else. As you seek to do kindness for others, you’ll find that you benefit too. It feels good to help others.
It can be as simple as volunteering at an animal shelter, talking to homeless people on the street or taking a regular position in a community role. Either way, you’ll be “giving back” as well as meeting new people, expanding your mind and releasing good feel endorphins.
Not just that, A Carnegie Mellon study found that 200 hours of volunteering per year correlated to lower blood pressure among the volunteers.
Decide to forgive
This is one of the more challenging proven ways to improve your life immediately. Anger and bitterness can run very deep and may not be easy to let go of.
While the anger may be justified, choosing to forgive is for your own health and well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you forgive, you experience the following benefits:
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
Emotional clutter can be challenging to work through. Therapy is beneficial especially if you feel like you can’t tackle it on your own. As you take control of your thoughts and feelings, it will greatly impact your life.
A Stanford Forgiveness Project has shown that learning to forgive lessens the amount of hurt, anger, stress and depression that people experience. People who forgive also become more hopeful, optimistic, and compassionate and have enhanced conflict resolution skills. This research also found that people who forgive report significantly fewer physical symptoms of stress such as a backache, muscle tension, dizziness, headaches and upset stomachs. The act of forgiveness also increases energy and overall well-being.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
Self-forgiveness is an important aspect of one’s ability to forgive others, in the same way as self-compassion is crucial to one’s predisposition to be compassionate toward other human beings.
Being kind to yourself and forgiving of your own shortcomings can give us much needed perspective on suffering and imperfections of others.
It allows us to connect to others on the level of common humanity and can often be a humbling experience when evaluating what motivates other people’s behaviour.
Start a new hobby
It’s never too late to take up something new! Setting yourself a challenge and tasking yourself with learning a new hobby is rewarding and good for the soul.
Hobbies force you to take a break from your day-to-day stresses and carve out time to devote to yourself. Not all hobbies are play though – some hobbies like reading, writing, designing, or learning a new language can keep you productive and instil you with a sense of purpose while having fun. And the more time you devote to becoming immersed in your hobby, the more satisfaction and sense of achievement you can get out of it.
Some of the other advantages of taking up a new hobby are:
- Fills your calendar with positivity
- Provides structure and flow
- New social connections
- Makes you more interesting
- Helps you cope with stress by providing a distraction.
Without having a hobby, your life may become boring, seem demanding, and end up in an unhealthy cycle. While having a routine is great because it is so easy, incorporating a hobby into your life can add excitement and spark that it may need to increase your personal satisfaction. This will then flow over to your general performance and ability to maintain a healthy family and other relationships.
Move your body!
Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.
Adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Exercise just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
If you need to feel better at this moment, go change your clothes and go get some exercise.
Endorphins make you happy; they release stress and help clear your mind. If you want some perspective, go work out first then revisit the issue. Chances are your emotions will be stabilized, your mind will be sharper, and you will have less anxiety than you did before you got some exercise.
Here are just some of the benefits of exercise:
- You feel happier – makes you feel a sense of achievement and you look better for it!
- Weight loss – an increase in heart rate means burning of fat and better circulation.
- Good for your muscles and bones – move it or lose it.
- Increase your energy levels – boosts the cardiovascular system and improves lung health, which can significantly help with energy levels
- Reduce your risk of chronic disease – such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, and hypertension
- Improved skin health – stimulating blood flow helps delay the appearance of aging
- Improved brain health and memory – increased bloody and oxygen flow to the brain stimulated the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells
- Increased relaxation and better sleep quality – tired at night and more energized during the day due to the exertion experienced during exercise
Regardless of your version of true happiness, living a happier, more satisfied life is within reach. A few tweaks to your regular habits can help you get there. Lose the bad habits and start thinking about what you can do to improve your current wellbeing. Try and tweak these suggestions and don’t be afraid to take the risk and keep trying until you find what works for you.