These life hacks will change your world, well, at least positively affect it.
You can start with as little as a minute or ten breaths, then gradually move your way up. Time and time again, studies have shown meditation’s numerous benefits: a sense of calmness, better sleep, more self-confidence, less anxiety, etc. My favorite meditation app is Insight Timer, but the best thing about meditation is that you are all you need.
Apps, books, retreats, or teachers aren’t at all essential to nourish the most important relationship of your life: the one with your inner self.
“I love myself is the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution. ever.”Nayyirah Waheed
#2 Drink water
First thing (after peeing). We’re all dehydrated when we wake up.
That tall glass of water may seem meaningless, but it starts the day on the right foot for your body, mind, and digestion.
If drinking water doesn’t come naturally to you, you can flavor it with strawberries, lemon, mint for some extra tastiness.
Yes, I’m one of those people who think water has a taste, a great one for that matter. Fight me and my superior taste buds.
#3 Skip breakfast
No matter how much of a breakfast-dreader you might be, you knew that couldn’t be right. Breakfast is important: you know it, I know it, the people at Dunkin Donuts know it…
Your brain works better and your body responds faster. You’re prone to make healthier food choices and you won’t have any crashes afterward. Win, win, win.
Life hacks plus: My friend who works early hours for KLM, the Royal Dutch Airline, makes a batch of pancakes to go through the week, so she has something to look forward to in the morning.
#4 Move your body
Exercising releases endorphins, the happiness hormones. You don’t need to be a gym bro to reap the benefits, though.
Just moving around the house/office or going for a walk outside are enough to trigger similar bodily responses like happiness. Staying active is extremely beneficial to your productivity, mental clarity, and mood.
My virtual friends at Psychology Tools recently published The Therapist’s Guide To Exercise And Mental Health. It’s such an exhaustive guide, a necessary read for everyone, not just mental health professionals.
#5 Show gratitude (and a simple gratefulness exercise)
I’m as wary as the next person when it comes to studies from questionable online sources. It sucks being in the dark about who sponsored the research, the methods used and how scientific they were, and whether the findings are actually applicable and beneficial in real life.
However, I’m a sucker for research claiming certain behaviors will make us happier. I’m only human.
Happiness researcher Shawn Achor, who’s worked with Google, taught positive psychology, and had the most popular class at Harvard, aka is trustworthy, shared his findings on 5 non-time-consuming happiness habits. (It states they’re non-time consuming because as a society, we have our priorities straight.)
My favorite habit was “write down three different things you’re grateful for, 21 days in a row“. I shared my process here and here.
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.
#6 Adjust accordingly
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.
The pic below perfectly sums it up.
#7 Compliment others
Kind words cost nothing. (Well, they cost you your mental sanity when you’re not selective with who you choose to be kind to, but that’s another conversation.)
Low effort, high reward. You can put a smile on someone’s face, make them feel more confident, make their day even.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”James Keller
Surprisingly, we feel better ourselves when we compliment and help others.
Joy is one of those rare things that get bigger when shared. You know, like orgasms.
#8 More purposeful attention
The definition of mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally.”
Only a small percentage of our time, especially online, is spent mindfully. If anything, after a scrolling session, we feel worse, not better.
Assess how checking the news or social media makes you feel and whether it adds any real value to your life. Declutter your digital and real-life by paying attention.
Recommended reading: This article by Mark Manson, Everything Is Fake News and We’re All Going to Die, Episode #34: Internet Quote Edition
#9 Say Yes/No more often
Advice at its finest. Speaking of, here are two quotes about advice I’ve come across often lately:
“All advice is a form of nostalgia.”Mary Schmich in Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young for the Chicago Tribune, 1997
“All advice is autobiographical.”Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Here’s what I mean by “Say Yes/No more often.”
Indian food? Spanish literature? Jazz music? You could be missing out if you frequently refuse to give new things a try. More Yes-es.
On the other hand, if you find yourself agreeing to go to that jazz club you hate for the third weekend in a row because you can’t say no to your friends? More No-s.
When you don’t pay attention to what your inner self tells you, you’ll find yourself depleted physically and emotionally.
Boundaries are your friend. While stepping outside of your comfort zone is crucial for growth, treat your needs, desires, time, and self with the respect they deserve.
#10 Look at the bright side
- Is there anything remotely positive about your fucked up situation?
- Any lesson you’ve learned that you’ll appreciate forever?
- Aren’t you proud of how you handled at least one thing during that stressful situation?
Yes, positivity doesn’t come naturally to many people.
Yeah, positivity can be toxic when used to gaslight or belittle our experiences.
Yes, sometimes looking at the bright side seems more unlikely than a flat Earth.
It’s an important skill to have, though, and just like with gratefulness, you can rewire your brain to find that silver lining. It’s been vital for me to make it through.
Last night, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (rated 5/5 in my movie list) was on TV, and I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes from it:
“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.”
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