We all want to create the best life we can, but sometimes getting it can be tricky.
We don’t need to buy a new guitar or a pair of Italian leather boots, get botox, take a vacation, or hook up with that cute, crazy girl at the gym to make our lives better.
Drinking a six pack and calling your ex or setting up four dates with random strangers on OK Cupid might help a little, but more than likely…not at all.
And a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, 12 pieces of candied bacon and a bag of chips are probably not the answer either—well, maybe the candied bacon, but there are countless other easy, cheaper and less damaging ways we can improve our situations, our moods and our lives in general.
Below are the easiest of the easy ways to improve your life instantly. Each one of them takes only seconds, won’t cost a dime and come free of guilt with no chance of regret.
1. Smile. Fake it till you make it. When the muscles involved in smiling contract, they fire a signal to the brain, helping to increasing our level of endorphins, or happy hormones. From there, neurological signals are transmitted back to your facial muscles creating a positive feedback loop of happiness. So faking it can actually result in a genuine, I’m-actually-happier-than-I-was-a-minute-ago smile.
2. Laugh. Laughter really might be the best medicine. Studies have shown that among other things, laughter improves lymphatic circulation, produces hormones that decreases stress, increases oxygen and produces an overall feeling of well-being. Watch a comedy, some stand up, think about that one time you did that one thing and remember laughter is contagious, so spend time with people who can laugh with you. If all else fails, shut the door and laugh like a lunatic. It’s quite cathartic, really—try it.
3. Change your language. Just change a few words. Having to go to work can make it seem like an an annoying chore. Rather than telling yourself “I have to” tell yourself “I get to.” I get to go to work or I get to do the dishes. This is a simple way to practice gratitude.
4. Say Thank you. Say thank you to the bank teller and the waitress, to the person who held the door open for you at the grocery store and to your friend for taking the time to call you. Say thank you to your partner for breakfast and your kids for stacking their plates. Say thank you to everyone, it makes their life better which in turn, will make your life better.
5/6. Music/Dance. Listen to music—all kinds of it—alone or with friends, your neighbors, random strangers or your grandma. Make it, sing loud in the car, the shower or in the street. Make up the words if you need to. Remember using a wooden spoon to bang on a sauce pan as a kid? We are all grown up now and no one is going to yell at us for making a mess in the kitchen, so if you don’t have and instrument, make one and dance. Dress up and dance in heels and a feather boa, a cowboy hat and chaps or dance naked if you prefer, dance in the rain, dance with yourself, a friend or better yet a child if there’s one handy. The worse you feel, the more you should dance and make or listen to loud music.
7. Read children’s books. Go the library, the bookstore or your kids room and read. Maybe stick with Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein and stay away from the heavy stuff like “Love you forever” or “The Velveteen Rabbit”….
8. Stand tall. This one is so simple yet so important. Walk with purpose and just like your mother always said, stand up and sit up straight. It’s next to impossible to feel good slumped over like someone who just lost their best friend, and this is coming from someone who has lost a best friend or two. Your life will improve instantly if you stand tall. You’ll feel better, you’ll breathe better and you’ll look better.
9. Face your fears. Put a picture of a spider on the fridge, ride an elevator alone, stand naked in front of the mirror, let yourself fall in love. Be gentle with yourself but try it. Once our fears have been recognized they lose power.
10. Stop wishing for things to be different. Okay, this one’s not so easy, but it is free. If you wish for something to be different and you can make it different, then get up off the couch and go try with all you’ve got to make it different. But, if you wish for something to be different and you can’t make it different, then stop wishing. Just stop. Find a healthy way to distract yourself but either change the situation or stop wishing.
If you want to improve your life even a little then start simple. Before you buy that new Harley, get a divorce, quit your job or dye your hair purple, try these simple things.
They might not change everything, but I guarantee they will change something.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kimby Maxson
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Mark Vegas/Flickr