5 Ways to Improve Your Quality of Life Right Away
The term “quality-of-life” sounds so daunting, so big picturesque. It can be off-putting, giving the misconception that we need to make drastic changes to significantly impact the overall quality of our lives. Contrary to popular belief, that’s not necessarily true. Very often, it’s the small changes that over time have the most effect on our experience of life. The wonderful thing about making small changes is that they are usually fairly easy accomplish, much simpler to maintain and result in visible changes quickly.
Give your brain a rest
This is not a new concept, but while many of us know we need to give our brains a rest, few of us actually do it. Evidence has shown, time and time again that giving your mind time to disconnect and slow down, not only affects the overall quality of your life but it affects your health and level of stress every day in noticeable ways.
You first have to disconnect. This is extremely difficult for most of us. Technology, information, demands, and constant pressures from the outside world are ever present, 24–7. It’s difficult to step away, when it’s right there, within easy reach, demanding our attention. However, if you make it a priority, for a short period each day to disconnect you’ll notice an immediate drop in your stress levels.
Give yourself time to reflect. Set aside your to-do list, your anxiety, and worries too. Give your brain a few moments of quiet. Some prefer to meditate, do yoga or go for a walk in order to quiet or empty the mind. Others find it difficult or prefer to engage the mind. Contemplate your future, your dreams, the feelings, and emotions that are going on beneath the surface. Write these thoughts down in a journal or notebook of some sort if you like or just consider and then let the thoughts go. If you find it relaxing, simply daydream or let your thoughts drift.
Get caught up in the flow
Some people call this “being in the zone,” others call it getting into the flow. It’s really whenever you find yourself caught up in something, so that time flies and you don’t even realize it’s passing. For some lucky people, that happens every day doing work they love, for some it’s a hobby they enjoy, and for others it might be as simple as engaging in an activity that’s just plain “fun.” The only requirement really is that you’re so consumed, engaged, and focused so completely that for a little while the concerns of the world don’t exist. Oh, they’re still there, but your mind isn’t consumed with them.
Broaden your horizons
Make it a point to do something every day that expands your mind and allows you to explore the possibilities of the world. You don’t have to plan it, just take the opportunity when it’s presented to you. It doesn’t have to be a life altering, light bulb moment either. The intent is simply to wake up your mind, and mix things up a bit.
- Learn something new. Choose something that interests you, something that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. There are so many ideas out there to explore.
- Try something you’ve never tried before. Step out of your comfort zone. Find something you always wanted to do; maybe something, you didn’t think you were able to do.
- Have a conversation with someone that you might not normally talk to. You’d be surprised at the interesting things people have to share.
- Explore your creativity. Try new hobby or take a class.
- Try on a different point of view. Pick an issue that concerns you and try to see it from the other side. Really, get into it, research it, and challenge your point of view. The best way to expand your knowledge and develop your mind is to look at something in a new way.
Break negative patterns
This doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of bad habits or cultivating new ones. Though that’s one way of doing it. It might mean changing the way you look at things. Examine negative beliefs that you have about yourself. Argue against your self-imposed limitations. Turn the volume down on the critical voice in your head. Negative patterns are often so ingrained, so natural to us, that we don’t even realize they’re there.
When you’re feeling stressed, don’t react to it, and don’t get caught up in it, look for what’s causing it. Try to change the way you think about stress. Instead of fighting against it, view it as something that’s trying to get your attention or something you need to deal with. Don’t just try to manage it; try to find out what’s behind it. If you’re overwhelmed, try to figure out why. If you have too much on your plate, take something off. If something seems too big for you to handle, break it down into smaller steps. If you need help, ask for it. If it doesn’t make you happy, try to change it. If you can’t do anything about it, stop stressing about it. Why agonize over something you can’t change anyway.
Often the key to improving the quality of our life is right in front of us. We just don’t see it. We’re so focused on the problems, that we don’t notice the joy. Open your eyes. Look for happy moments. Let yourself enjoy them when you experience them. Look for ways to bring more joy into your life. Try to be grateful for the little things. Have more fun. That seems so simple and yet sadly, it’s not.
- Spend time with a child. If you don’t have one, borrow one. They look at the world through completely different eyes. They appreciate everything. They quickly sift through the bad, to find the good. They expressed enthusiasm easily and managed to find delight in many simple everyday things.
- Find some green stuff. Get outside. You don’t need to immerse yourself in the deep forest. Go to the park. Lie in the grass. Sit on the beach. Listen to the birds sing. Watch the Chipmunks play. Go for a walk on a nature trail instead of a sidewalk. Connecting with nature is one of the easiest ways to be happier. Nature expects nothing from you, doesn’t criticize or judge you, it just sits there waiting for you to appreciate it.
- Do something just for the fun of it. Fly a kite. Immerse yourself in a book. Draw a picture – even if you have no artistic skills. Take time to play a game. Do something, anything that makes you smile, for no other reason than it makes you happy.
- Be grateful. Appreciate the little things. Say thank you to those around you. Pay attention to the simple things that happen every day. Focus on the good. Let go of the bad. Don’t hold a grudge. Look for the silver lining.
Quickly improving the quality of your life is not that hard. Making small changes every day can have a significant impact on your level of happiness and your experience of life. Give your brain a rest, challenge your mind, and allow yourself to have fun. Look for the positive things in life and let the stuff you can’t control go. When you examine the causes of your stress and negativity that often overshadows your life, you may be surprised at how much ability you have to change the quality of your life.