In today's world, many people are overworked, overstressed, overstimulated and unhappy. While we all have to do what we have to do in order to pay the light bill, there are still may places in our lives that could use adjustment to improve quality of life. More often than not, these adjustments require that you buck the status quo, and seek a simpler life with more lasting sources of happiness.
1. Light A Candle
As simple as it might sound, a basic act like burning a candle can have a tranquil, comforting affect. It can help to humanize your work environment. And by exploring different scents, you can add variety to your day. You may discover that certain scents have positive effects on your mood.
Candles work for me. For you it could be a waterfall fountain or a plant. The main point is to be grounded and comforted by something familiar and soothing.
2. Start Off With A Book
The human brain needs to be exercised just like every other part of the body. By reading early in the day, you achieve multiple things. First, you are taken away from your current life worries, and transported into another world of ideas and emotions. You are reminded that in the grand scheme of things, your current troubles are minor blips on the radar. Second, you gain mental focus. Third, you stimulate parts of your brain that might otherwise go unused. Fourth, you might happen upon a novel, exciting idea that helps you in the day.
3. Get The Blood Flowing
Human beings were not designed to be sedentary. Before you sit down to work or watch TV or use the Internet, do a few quick pushups, a few body squats and some jumping jacks. Do this early in the day and before each meal and you will notice a profound difference in your overall well-being, mental as well as physical. This can be especially important for people who struggle with depression.
4. Seek Happiness, Not Things
For the last few centuries, our society has encouraged achievement through non-stop activity. Never resting and never content, we are always trying to grow our wealth, our things, our businesses, etc. What if we governed our decisions based on how happy they made us over and above how much money they make us?
Do you really want to drive an extra 10 minutes to save a few pennies on gas? Is it really better to choose a high paying job that's going to make you miserable over a job that's perfect for your personality, yet only pays just enough?
5. Smaller Can Be Better
Studies show that human beings are designed to thrive in certain sized groups (i.e. for learning, for work, recreation etc.) In a world where people are compelled to show off their high number of Facebook friends, it might be healthier to invest energy into the small circle of close friends you have. We all crave depth and meaning and significance.
If you run a business, sometimes it's better to stay small rather than to pursue growth. It follows from the same historical principle that has led to the collapse of empires that became too big to govern.
6. Get Outside Daily
Studies show that there is a correlation between the amount of time a person spends outside and his or her happiness. So why not just get out for a few minutes each day, smell the roses, admire the stars, breathe in the fresh air (hopefully!) and just get a little dirty.
7. Just Be
Make sure to build in some time each day where you can just be yourself, without responsibilities or stressful thoughts. Maybe this is just some mindless play time with your family. Or a long shower.
Anything that allows you to be human for a moment. Don't ever forget: you are not a machine. You're value doesn't rest solely in your achievements. It's ok to let go, let loose, laugh, play, snuggle or whatever it is that you enjoy.
Meditation doesn't require that you think. It is a restful activity. You can simply go mindless. Or you can use images to focus your attention and gain awareness. More than anything, meditation helps you to slow down and gain composure. It is a great way to reduce stress.
9. Eat Well
As cliche as it may sound, your well being is tied very closely to the food you eat. The general rule that's emerging from studies of human biology is that the human body is most well-suited to consume meat and vegetables. On the other hand, grains, sugars and processed foods have negative effects.
10. Gain A Skill
Take the time to learn something new or improve an old skill. Any skill is good and will build your confidence, but it's especially good if the skill helps you to produce something you consume. For example, gardening is an amazingly rewarding skill. If you can produce food, clothes, music or any other commonly consumed thing in the household, it will give you an amazing sense of freedom.