We humans really like to overcomplicate our lives.
We never make things easy for ourselves.
And although we all want to be happy, we do things every day that stop us from reaching that elusive state.
We pile more and more things onto our plates, thinking that if we work hard now and achieve X, Y, and Z, our lives will be better in future.
But the harsh reality is that the things we’re trying to achieve probably won’t make us as happy as we think.
Whilst it’s obviously important to be smart and have future plans in place, there’s no point being miserable in the here and now.
After all, this moment is all we have.
We never know what’s waiting for us around the corner or how long we have left on this beautiful planet, so we need to make our day-to-day lives as pleasant as possible.
The good news is that there are plenty of small, simple things you can do to make your life better.
Ways to show yourself a bit of self-respect, boost your well-being, help out those around you, and give yourself a chance to live your best life.
You’re the only one who truly knows what changes you need to make in your life, but these suggestions might be a good place to start.
1. Unfollow people who get you down.
You know that one person on Facebook who never stops complaining, that person on Twitter who’s always arguing with you, or that impossibly perfect Instagram influencer who makes you feel terrible about yourself?
Open up your phone now – right now – and unfollow them. You don’t need that in your life.
2. Make your social media feeds happy, but inspiring places.
Once you’re done unfollowing those negative influences, it’s time to go find some positive ones.
Search around and see if you can discover some influencers who’re doing things you can really get on board with.
Follow charities, campaigners, and people fighting for equality, sustainability, body positivity, or whatever it may be.
Make sure you’re getting a good mix of posts that will boost your mood or your confidence, and posts that will inspire you to do better, or do some good in the world.
3. Limit your time on social media.
Just because your social media feeds are now positive places, that doesn’t mean you should spend hours scrolling through them.
It’s time to start thinking of social media as the equivalent to eating processed foods, or unhealthy habits in general.
Whilst it’s fine to enjoy fatty or sugary foods now and again, in moderation, if you eat them for three meals a day, every day, it’s going to have negative effects on your physical health.
Similarly, think of social media as something that has to be enjoyed in moderation to prevent it taking its toll on your mental health.
4. Stop hanging out with people who get you down, or hold you back.
Social media is a big part of a lot of our lives these days, but the people you physically spend your time around are far more important.
Or they really should be.
If there’s someone who’s a negative influence in your life, and is always bringing you down, or stopping you from realizing your potential, and your efforts to discuss it with them have fallen on deaf ears, then make a conscious decision to spend less time with them.
You shouldn’t abandon a friend if they’re going through a rough patch, but it’s definitely a good idea to re-evaluate the amount of time you dedicate to those people who are consistently having a negative effect on you.
5. Say no.
If your default mode is to say yes to everything because you don’t want to disappoint everyone or you suffer from major FOMO, then it’s time to start saying no.
This week, say no to at least one thing that you don’t have the time to do well.
Or, say no to one thing that, in your heart of hearts, you don’t want to do.
Then, start building up your nos.
Don’t just say no to everything for the sake of it, but say no to things that you’re too busy to commit to, or aren’t excited about.
6. Say yes.
On the other hand, if your default mode is to say no to trying new things, meeting new people, or going out with friends, then starting to say yes could make a positive difference to your life.
Push yourself out of that comfort zone. Get out and about, and be around people. Embrace opportunities.
7. Drink enough fluids.
Some of the issues you have might be down to something as simple as being dehydrated.
Most of us don’t drink anything like enough fluids on a daily basis. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and drink plenty more throughout the day.
Herbal teas are great ways to get more liquid into you too.
8. Nourish your body.
Much as you might think that sweet, salty, or fatty foods are comforting and make you feel better, what your body is crying out for is fresh fruit and vegetables.
Nourishing your body with fresh, natural foods is a sure-fire way to make yourself feel better.
By no means starve yourself with skimpy salads, but pile your plate high with colorful ingredients.
Don’t forget to eat your greens, and plenty of them.
9. Don’t constantly deny yourself ‘bad’ foods.
Fresh fruit and veg should make up a good part of your diet, but you don’t have to constantly deny yourself all the foods that you’ve been taught to see as ‘bad’ or ‘naughty.’
Putting a blanket ban on all the foods you love will only frustrate you.
Make sure you treat yourself now and again without feeling guilty, and really savor the flavors when you do.
10. Spend time with animals.
Multiple studies have concluded that people who own pets are happier than those that don’t.
So, if you have a furry friend, make an effort to spend more time with them. Just stroking an animal can be incredibly relaxing.
If you don’t have a pet, this isn’t an excuse to rush out and adopt one. After all, pet ownership is a big responsibility.
But if you’ve always wanted a dog and have been putting it off, and know you could give an animal in need of adoption a good home, you could start considering it.
But you don’t need your own pet to spend time with animals. Offer to look after a friend’s dog, or house sit for a friend with animals on your next holiday.
11. Spend time in the great outdoors.
Human beings weren’t designed to live in cities. Get out of the town and into the countryside.
Listen to the sounds, appreciate the colors, and feel the wind or the sun on your skin.
12. Spend time alone.
This is one you could combine with the previous point, but wherever you spend time alone, make sure you make it quality time.
Sometimes, we just need our own space to sit back and take stock of everything that’s going on in our lives.
Treat yourself to an evening in, with a face mask and your favorite film.
Book yourself a solo holiday. Take yourself on a solo day out. Go to the cinema.
Spending time alone can help you get back in touch with how you’re feeling, and get better clarity about the things you’ve got going on in your life.
Stretch out those muscles. Touch your toes. Or try to touch your toes. Get back in touch with your body, and get rid of some of that built up tension.
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It doesn’t matter what form your exercise takes, getting your heart rate up will always make you feel better.
Swim, run, walk, dance, skip, climb, or just do something that gets you active that you enjoy.
You’ll never regret a workout, but you might regret not doing it.
15. Go to bed earlier.
You probably aren’t getting enough sleep. Going to bed just that little bit earlier could make a huge difference to your quality of life.
There are many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, including having more energy, being less tempted by unhealthy foods, and being in a better mood.
16. Reduce your plastic use.
Want to feel better about yourself and the state of the planet?
Start doing your bit to stem the tide of plastic by finding ways to reduce your plastic use.
Plastics are bad for the planet and they’re bad for us, and only a very small percentage of them are actually recycled, so start putting your energies into reducing the amount of single-use plastic in your life.
Having too much stuff can really weigh a person down. Liberate yourself by getting rid of all the things you just don’t need.
Even just donating one bag of unwanted clothes will free up some space in your life.
18. Call a friend.
Life is all about the relationships that we have with our fellow human beings. But we sometimes forget that, and neglect the most important people in our lives.
Call a friend. Call a relative. Call your mom.
19. Compliment a friend.
The next time you think someone’s looking particularly nice or has done a good job on something, just tell them.
It’ll make their day, and knowing that will make you feel better too.
20. Learn something.
As we get older, we often stagnate with our learning. But it’s in our nature to always want to be learning and absorbing new information, otherwise we get bored.
So, buy yourself a book on a topic you’ve been curious about.
Sign up for an online course, or even an evening course.
Whether it’s all theoretical or you’re learning something practical, you’ll get a wonderful sense of satisfaction from expanding your knowledge.
21. Practice gratitude.
Focusing on the things you’re grateful for can transform your mindset, whatever you’ve got going on.
Try writing down the three things that you’re most grateful for today, or in general.
Focus on everything you do have, and all the worries about what you don’t have will melt away.
22. Forgive someone.
If you hold a grudge against someone, the main person that suffers is you.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to forget the things that have happened, but it means you can put them behind you and turn over a new leaf.
If you’ve been beating yourself up over something you did or didn’t do, it’s time to let it go.
Accept that you can’t change the past, recognize what you’ve learned from your mistakes, and start being kinder to yourself.
24. Do something kind.
If you’re losing faith in humanity, you need a reminder that there’s good in the world, and you can be that reminder.
Perform a random act of kindness for someone. There’s no better feeling.
One act of kindness nearly always leads to another, so you’ll know you’ve set off a chain of goodness, which should be a comfort even on the darkest of days.
25. Take the high road.
Next time you get into a disagreement with someone, whether personally or professionally, don’t be tempted to resort to low blows.
Take the high road, and swallow your pride, rather than getting into an argument over something that really isn’t worth it.
26. Start a job search.
If you’re not happy or fulfilled professionally, then do something about it.
Start searching for a job you can genuinely get excited about.
Sure, we can’t all have super exciting jobs, but we should all be able to enjoy what we do every day and find satisfaction in it in our own way.
Start putting out feelers for new job opportunities, slowly but surely, or start considering other options, like self-employment.
27. Read the news.
Reading the news can be a very simple but effective way of putting our lives into perspective.
No matter what’s going on, the fact that you’re reading this means you are significantly better off than a lot of people on the planet.
But don’t only look at the bad news, or you won’t feel all that much better. Make a point of searching for good news stories, too, to remind you that there are wonderful people out there, and that there’s always hope.
28. Start a good book.
You know that feeling of getting completely sucked into a good book, and not being able to put it down?
It’s one of life’s greatest joys.
If you love reading but haven’t made the time for it lately, get your hands on a book that you know you’ll love.
29. Treat yourself to that thing you’ve been wanting.
Much as our happiness shouldn’t depend on material things, there’s no denying that occasionally the things that we buy do actually improve our lives or boost our happiness.
Don’t do it for the thrill of casually buying something you’ve just plucked off the rail in a shop…
…do it for the feeling of finally buying the one thing you’ve had your eye on for months, or maybe even years.
Make it something you know you’ll use all the time.
30. Tell someone you love them.
Whoever you’re feeling the love for, whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a partner, just tell them. Simple as that.