You can start with as little as a minute or 10 breaths, then gradually move your way up. Over the years, a great number of studies have shown numerous benefits to meditation: a sense of calmness, better sleep, more self-confidence, less anxiety etc. The best thing about meditation is that all you need is you, no books or retreats or teachers to nourish the most important relationship of your life: the one with your inner self. As Nayyirah Waheed said:
I love myself is the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution. ever.
Especially first thing when you wake up. After sleep, we’re all dehydrated and that glass of water may seem meaningless, but it really starts the day on the right foot for your body, mind, digestion… You can flavor it with fruits, lemon, mint or whatever strikes your fancy for some extra tastiness. Yes, I’m one of the people that think water has taste and a great one for that matter. Fight me
and my superior taste buds.
No matter how much of a breakfast-dreader you might be, you knew that couldn’t be a real hack. Breakfast is important- you know it, I know it, the people at Dunkin Donuts know it… Your brain works better, your body responds faster, you’re prone to make healthier food choices, you won’t have any crashes afterward. Win win win. Extra hack: My friend who works ungodly hours for KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines, makes a batch of pancakes to go through the week, so she has something to look forward to. 10/10 recommended.
Yes, working out releases endorphins, the happiness hormone, but even just moving around your house/office, or taking a walk outside is enough to trigger a similar response. It’s extremely beneficial to your productivity, mental clarity and mood.
Simple, effective gratefulness method
I’m as wary as the next person when it comes to studies found online, seeing as you’re in the dark about who might have sponsored the research, how scientific the methods used are and whether the actual findings are actually applicable and/or beneficial in real life. However, I’m always on the lookout for claims that certain behaviors will make us lead a happier life. I came across happiness researcher Shawn Achor, who’s worked with Google, large financial companies, conducted studies in Harvard, UPS, etc.,
aka trustworthy, who shared his findings on 5 non-time-consuming happiness habits.
My favorite was writing down three (different) things you’re grateful for, 21 days in a row. I shared my own three things I’m grateful for a while back. Why it works: you’re ~actively~ training your brain to look for positives. You’ll be a ray of sunshine in no time (your friends might get worried at first).
Make a conscious effort to include activities you enjoy in your everyday life. Cliché as it sounds, you do only live once. Rules do not apply if you’re a cat or believe in reincarnation.
Kind words cost nothing. Kind words cost nothing. Nothing. This “hack” is low cost- little to no effort/time; high reward- you might put a smile on someone’s face, make them feel more confident, make their day…
More purposefully directed attention
Only a small percentage of our time online is spent mindfully and purposefully. See how checking the news/social media frequently makes you feel and whether it adds any real value to your life. This is an important read.
Say yes/no more often
Advice at its finest. Some quotes I’ve come across often lately:
- all advice is a form of nostalgia
- all advice is autobiographical
Indian food? Spanish literature? Jazz music? You might be missing out because you refuse to give new things a try. On the other hand, you might be finding yourself agreeing to go to that Jazz club you strongly dislike, for the 3rd weekend in a row, just because you can’t say no to your friends. Boundaries are your friend. While stepping outside your comfort zone is crucial for growth, treat your needs and desires and time and self with the respect they deserve.
Look on the bright side
Is there anything remotely positive about your fucked up situation? Any lesson you’ve learned that you’ll cherish forever? Aren’t you proud of at least one thing you did during the stressful situation? Last night The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (5/5) was on tv, and I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes that it reminded me of: “For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald