In a recent blog post, I discussed eleven hard ways to make your life better. In that piece, I suggested that most meaningful, positive changes take time. I still believe that’s true. After all, you don’t learn to play the cello, create a wonderful family, achieve a healthy body weight, write a book, or reach financial stability overnight.
However, I don’t want to imply that there’s nothing you can do to produce substantial, life-enhancing benefits easily and quickly. There most certainly are such things. And there’s a bonus too; many quick and easy ways to improve your life will assist you in the accomplishment of longer-term goals and dreams So, not to be outdone by the list of 11 hard ways to improve your life, here’s a list of 12 quick and easy things you can do that will produce life-enrichment benefits very quickly — even immediately.
1) Practice Yoga: Yes — Yoga! And no — I’m not talking to just the female readers out there! And, I’ve intentionally listed this one first — it’s that important. If you’ve never tried Yoga, you’re likely to be amazed at its positive payback. It’s very powerful and life-affirming. However, in order to really derive Yoga’s benefits, it’s important that you approach it correctly. Tomorrow I’ll do an entire post on Yoga and I’ll talk about the best way for a beginner to approach it. But for now (just in case you intend to run out and try it today) I’ll simply suggest the following; keep an open mind, focus on the mental as well as physical aspects, and find an appropriate level class at a studio where you are comfortable. But check back tomorrow for the full Yoga post. Again, I think it’s THAT important.
2) Enhance Your Sleep: Good sleep can dramatically improve your life (particularly if you’ve been sleeping poorly for quite some time). Over the years, I’ve heard lots of tips for getting better sleep and I’d like to share the ones that have worked for me. First, make sure your bedroom is dark — ambient light from windows or even lighted clocks can make it more difficult to sleep. Avoid reading or watching TV in bed so that your body associates laying down with going to sleep (and, well, that um other thing). Keep the temperature in your bedroom on the cool side. Watch your caffeine intake, especially after lunch time. Don’t use a computer for at least an hour before bedtime — apparently, the frequency of the light mimics day light and can upset your body rhythms. If you live in a noisy area or a noisy building, get a white noise source (an air purifier with an adjustable fan works great for me.) Finally, do meditation, affirmations, or breathing exercises at bedtime, to help clear your mind. More on this last topics below.
3) Do Breathing Exercises: Some years ago, I stumbled upon a great book, called “Thriving”, by Doctor Rob Ivker. While the book is written to appeal to men, much of the information is applicable to everyone. The book is full of revelations. Among the most important, for me, was the value of breathing exercises. I’ve found that simple, five-minute (or even 2-minute) breathing exercises can provide a sense of calm in a sometimes crazy world. For me, these exercises are particularly useful just prior to bedtime. They result in better sleep and, oddly enough, far more vivid and positive dreams. You can find some easy breathing exercise here.
4) Use Affirmations / Positive Self-Talk: I’ve been using recorded, positive affirmations sessions for about six months and have found them to be very useful. They seem to help me remain more positive and motivated, and they help me to keep my important goals at the forefront of my mind. I find that if I listen to the recordings intently right before bedtime, they also seem to improve the quality of my sleep. Given these experiences, I’d recommend you give positive affirmations a try. I would strongly recommend, however, that you avoid falling into the trap, set by some recent, so-called “self-help” books, of believing that positive affirmations combined with wishing will cause your dreams to come true. See my recent post about “The Secret”. Use positive affirmations to help fuel your concrete actions toward a better life. The affirmations and wishing without concerted action, will NOT ensure that you reach important goals. More on affirmations in a subsequent blog post.
5) Enjoy Calming or Invigorating Music: In my view, music is one of life’s greatest gifts. I enjoy a wide range of musical styles, from Amadeus to Zydeco (believe it or not, I’m even an opera fan). Music is a big part of my daily life and, frankly, I have a hard time imagining what life would be like without a nearly constant soundtrack. So, I strongly recommend that you enjoy music and take advantage of its power. It can pick you up if you need a lift, or it can provide relaxation and a bit of distance from the cares of the day. I recently did a post on Lisa Hannigan who can always provide me with a mood boost — or at least a smile. So, find something calming or something invigorating as your mood, your passion, and your needs dictate. Incorporate music into your daily life for greatest impact and change it up frequently. Here’s a personal calming favorite from YouTube and here’s an Invigorating one.
6) Interact With a Pet: Quite often, I find that an interaction with a friendly, outgoing pet, even a brief one, can provide a pick-me-up. A young woman in my building has recently acquired a puppy of a type I had never seen before; a Chihuahua – Dachshund mix. Strangely enough, with his coloring this little guy resembles a tiny little beagle. In addition to being cute, he is the friendliest, most outgoing dog I’ve seen in a very long time. When he sees a new person, he simply can’t contain himself. Anyone he encounters seems to walk away smiling. So, even if you don’t have a pet, ask the next person you see walking their dog if you can say hello. Or maybe, you could even walk a friend’s dog for them once in a while. All three of you will feel better for it.
7) Make a New Friend: Meeting someone new opens doors and can bring positive change to our lives in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. Who knows what new opportunities might result; an enlightening new perspective, still more new friends, a business opportunity? It’s really impossible to say. By the way, if you’re thinking that making a new friend is a very hard thing to do, simply go to a Meetup.com event: Find something your passionate about (or could potentially become passionate about) then go to Meetup.com and search for a local group. Every group I’ve attended, from an Italian speakers group, to a Bloggers meetup has been very welcoming and open to new members. Since you already share an interest or a passion with the members, making new friends is easy. And the meetups are typically free or very low-cost.
8) Walk: I find that a walk almost invariably changes my mood for the better. A short stroll outdoors, even without a particular destination (or perhaps especially without one) means a change of scenery and some fresh air. It also provides a bit of time to think – or perhaps to not think. For me, a walk in the sunshine is nice, but even a contemplative stroll with the accompaniment of rain on a large umbrella can be uplifting. As a side benefit, if you make a habit of walking, various exercise benefits will also begin to accrue.
9) Change Your Mind About Something: Select a subject about which you’ve made up your mind – perhaps a political, social, or historical issue. Then go to the Internet, or better yet; a library, and research it to see if you can find something that substantially alters your views on the subject. What better way to feel upbeat and to open your mind than to know you’ve made an honest effort and dramatically altered and improved your perspective on a topic. And while we’re at it, another way to change your mind is to think of things that improve your outlook. Making a habit of spending a few conscious moments every morning focusing on things for which you’re grateful can set a whole new tone for your life.
10) Help Someone: In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson; “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” You know what? I’ll just leave it at that.
11) Identify and Visualize a Dream or Goal — and Set A Precise Date to Reach it: I believe that hope and a sense of potential for the future are among the most important aspects of our happiness. So, set a specific date for your longed-for trip to Hawaii, or the start of your business venture, and visualize the benefits as clearly as your mind will allow. It’s invigorating. And, do it NOW! Much more on this key topic later too.
12) Learn a New and Useful Skill: Nothing changes your outlook quite like successfully learning something new; particularly something you never thought you’d be able to do. It’s just one of the reasons that learning to fly a helicopter was so exhilarating for me. The web is chock-full of free resources that enable you to learn virtually anything you desire, from the comfort of your own home. You could choose something fairly brief and specific, like how to do a magic trick on YouTube, or something more involved, such as learning to program a computer in a semester-long course from Coursera.
So, there you have it, twelve sure-fire and EASY ways to quickly improve your life. They’ll not only improve your life now, they make it more likely that you can develop and stick to those harder, longer-term habit changes that make bigger dreams come true! Best of all, they’ve all been thoroughly tested and verified in the famous FLYODI laboratory.! :-))
I’d love to hear your thoughts about these eleven tips. Have you tried them and experienced success or failures? Perhaps you have even better recommendations.© Copyright 2013 FLYODI, All rights Reserved. Written For: FLYODI: Life -- Better!