11 Subtle Things You Can Do To Improve Your Life Right Now
When your life isn't going the way you want, you probably try to find ways to improve it. However, staying indoors and ignoring the outside world isn't going to work. Instead of hibernating, there are a few things you can do to improve your life. I, for one, love to surround myself with things that I know will instantly lift my mood. Whether that's hanging with my loved ones, eating delicious, healthy food, or — brace yourself — exercising. While these things might not work for everyone, there are other subtle things people can do to change their life around.
According to Psychology Today, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Amy Morin said, "The only time you can change your behavior is right now. You can't undo the mistake you made last week, and you can't fast-forward into next week to change the outcome of your life. All you can do is change how you're behaving in this very moment. But you can't change your actions unless you're fully present in the here-and-now. When you're dialed in on what you're doing right now, all your brainpower can be used wisely. And that's the key to performing at your peak."
While that is one way to improve your life, it isn't the only way. Below are 11 subtle things you can do to improve your life for the better.
1. Show Love & Forgive
"I really can't think of the two most important lessons I have learned from my late parents, and they are a legacy that fuels my personal and professional life: to love and forgive. They are subtle, though: you don't need to be dramatically forgiving or passionately loving to make improvements in life. Showing love might be a smile to a cashier, or being patient in a line. Little things, like a pure hug or inviting a friend over for dinner, are all ways to improve your life by helping the lives of others," says zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva in an interview with Bustle over email. Life will probably be a lot better once you stop holding grudges. Even though it sucks to feel hurt by someone, it's better to love with open arms. As cliché as it sounds: treat people how you would want to be treated and you'll reap the benefits.
2. Rescue A Pet
While adopting a dog is a huge responsibility, it's also one the greatest things you could do to improve your life. Thanks to their unconditional love, pets can make you feel better. Plus, if you rescue, you're not only helping your life improve but theirs as well. "I believe that having a pet or supporting a rescue is a way to also increase your life quality," says Paiva.
3. Refrain From Being On Social Media
Even though you know that nothing is truly real on social media, it still can be hard to not compare your life to the ones you view on a feed. "Ingest less social media so you stop comparing yourself to others. Social comparison is one of the number one drivers of anxiety and depression," says holistic wellness coach Pax Tandon in an interview with Bustle over email. Instead of watching other people's lives on Snapchat or Instagram Stories, try to create your own life by doing things you love, like starting your own Etsy business, or, you know, watching endless hours of puppy videos. No judgment here.
Meditating isn't just about making weird noises and sitting in weird positions. It's about building a healthy relationship with a very special person: you. "Incorporate a daily meditation practice into your life. It reboots your engine, gives you perspective, and quiets your mind long enough to listen to your heart and what it really wants," says Tandon.
5. Smile More
Even when you don't feel happy, it's important for you to smile. "[Smiling] tricks the brain into thinking you're happy, and then, [voila]! You are. As a bonus, when others around you see you smiling, they feel happier too. It's called emotional contagion, and we don't mind if it's contagious as long as it's happiness we're catching!" says Tandon.
6. Talk Positively To Yourself
Be the hypeman to your life. Boost yourself up and get yourself motivated. The more you talk positively to yourself, the better you may feel about you and your life. "Keep your self-talk positive. Many of us don’t realize when we fall into the trap of negative self-talk (i.e. telling ourselves what we can’t do or shaming ourselves). Monitor your thoughts and tweak them toward the positive," says psychotherapist and author Karen R. Koenig M.Ed., L.C.S.W., in an interview with Bustle over email.
7. Have Healthy Beliefs
How you view happiness can determine how you choose to live your life. If you're afraid to be in the moment when things are going right because you fear that moment isn't going to last long, then you might want to change your healthy beliefs. "Make sure you have healthy beliefs, as beliefs generate feelings and behavior. For example, if you were taught in childhood that suffering is noble and have difficulty enjoying success or achievement, you won’t allow yourself to be happy or content," says Koenig.
8. Stay In The Present
It's incredibly important to be in the moment. Dwelling about what you said to a cute boy a few days or stressing out about your family reunion is not going to do you any good. "Stay in the present as much as possible. When thinking about the past, return to happy memories. When thinking about the future, anticipate pleasurable events," says Koenig.
9. Engage With Loved Ones
Having a good support system can dramatically improve your life. People who truly care for you and stand by you no matter what will make you feel stronger and happier. "Stay connected with friends, family or people who support and like you a lot," says psychotherapist and author of Your Best Age is Now Robi Ludwig in an interview with Bustle over email.
10. Make Small Improvements
When you have an endless list of things you want to change in your life, it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed. One of the best ways to overcome this fear is by simply taking one step at a time and making small improvements. "Make a small improvement in your day and give yourself credit for it," says Ludwig.
11. Write In A Gratitude Journal
Your life will probably improve the minute you start to notice all the positive things you have going on rather than negative. Whether you write your thoughts in your phone or in your high school notebook that you never threw away, taking five minutes out of your day to do this can lift your spirits. "Identify what you can be grateful for every day," says Ludwig about writing in a gratitude journal.
While it would be great for life to be perfect every single day of your life, it's not really realistic. But don't fret. Life is worth the ups and downs. Appreciate every moment you have — even the bad ones — by engaging with loved ones and buying those pair of shoes you've been eyeing.