Wouldn’t we all like to slow down, just a little, to stop and smell the roses from time to time? Savor those moments and live in the now, rather than hurriedly responding to yet another mind-numbing email or fighting another menacing morning commute?
Have you noticed some people seem to live in a perpetual state of peace while others race through their day like a dog chasing its tail or a car stuck in first gear? If we become a little more conscious of our day-to-day activities and how we operate, we may be able to incorporate a few changes here and there that just might make an impactful, positive difference over the long haul.
Understand one important concept - no one is more of an expert in the subject of you than you. Things that work for some people may not work for others, but incorporating one or more of these concepts into your life will likely make a positive difference if you turn a new action into a regular habit. Try just one of these things and see how it goes. If it works, and makes you happier, than incorporate another. Remember, doing something consistently for at least seven days helps an act to become a habit, so stick with it!
We live in a world of instant gratification and part of that instantaneousness has to do with our connectivity. If we want to know something or talk to someone right now, we generally can. The problem with that is that it puts us all perpetually “on call.” We become slaves to our email inbox or our continuous interactions to our latest Twitter post. Connectivity can be equal parts blessing and curse. How do we put the balance of power back in our favor? Unplug every so often.
Even if it’s just one hour per day, turn off the phone and shut down the computer. Not only is it good for your device, it’s even better for you. Use that hour to do something to help ensure relaxation. Whether you choose to go for a walk, meditate, listen to music or enjoy a fantastic home-cooked meal, dedicate that hour to yourself so you can recharge. Working in a little “you time” will help your productivity increase tremendously while putting you in a better state-of-mind..
Quickly overcome conflicts
While we can all certainly benefit from caring a little less about what people think about us, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to our loved ones. No matter how easygoing you may be, conflict inevitably arises at some point for some reason.
According to a recent article from best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, who writes about happiness and forming good habits, working through that conflict as quickly as possible will eliminate a lot of mental baggage and help you get back on track. When we are at odds with someone we truly care about, it can put our entire world out of order.
Figure out the cause of the problem, talk it through, truly listen to the other person’s point of view and find a resolution. Remember, there is not always a right and wrong in a disagreement. Sometimes, two legitimate, but opposing, points of view can come into play. The key is getting past the disagreement and getting back to a place of peace. This advice applies equally in the workplace as it does at home.
Work when you are most productive
Last time I checked, all people are not the same. We all approach life differently and have unique ways of accomplishing the things we set out to achieve. Some people are “morning people” while others thrive as “night owls.” Neither is right or wrong, they are just different.
My daughter, for example, seems to have an aversion to the time of day known as morning. In fact, she doesn’t have a lot of experience with the subject because she usually wakes up well past noon. But her artistic tendencies seem to increase as the day gets longer and turns into night. By the time I’m getting ready to call it a day, she’s just getting warmed up. When I wake up the next day, she’ll have a brand new masterpiece created that didn’t exist when I went to bed the night before.
My wife, on the other hand, is an early-riser. She is most productive first thing in the morning and likes to just relax and unwind when she is done with her workday. If something needs to get done around the house, it either has to happen first thing in the morning, or it will probably have to wait until the weekend. That’s what works for her.
These are two diametrically opposed ways of doing things, but each person knows when they are at their best and learns how to be productive within that timeframe. Not only does that get the job done and done well, it creates a more peaceful state of mind because they are living life on their terms.
Get enough sleep
Just as an engine is integral to the operation of your vehicle, performing with ample sleep is absolutely vital to being the best you can be. A lack of sleep can inhibit us in so many different ways. Our mental clarity simply isn’t as sharp when we are tired. Our bodies also do not respond as well as when we are properly charged, putting us more in tune with our daily aches and pains that we may not notice after a night of refreshing sleep.
Just as it’s important to unplug from media to give our brains a mental break, it’s equally important to do the same thing for our bodies to ensure we can function at our peak.
Recently I read that Americans are becoming more and more unhappy. While this hypothesis may be entirely unscientific, I can say that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I am a much happier person after a good night of sleep compared to those Mondays when the alarm rings at 5:30 and it’s about two or three hours too soon.
Plan a trip
I call it “the light at the end of the tunnel.” My secret weapon for ensuring that I stay in a positive frame of mind most of the time is to know that I can look forward to an upcoming vacation. There’s nothing like knowing that just over the horizon you have a trip coming up that will allow you to see loved ones, close friends, a cherished place or experience something fun and new.
When the stresses of the day start to become too much, drifting into a daydream about that upcoming vacation can instantaneously reduce the stress and make whatever it was seem much less important. Life is all about living, after all, so having something to look forward to should be on everyone’s short list of things to do. Whether it’s a full holiday overseas, a weekend getaway or even a staycation, having that light at the end of the tunnel can be one of the most therapeutic things you can possibly do for yourself in your quest for finding and maintaining happiness.