Here are a handful of things that can help us each improve emotionally and mentally:
- Fill your mind
Our brains wander. We talk to ourselves. Instead of leaning towards the activity of least resistance, like TV or random social media scrolling, try doing something else instead. Read, write, or go on a walk without looking at your phone or listening to music. Quiet moments can help. Try memorizing an uplifting quote or a short poem. You are the director and conductor of your mind. Fill it with the actors who say the things you write. If the actors in your mind go off script on occasion, that’s normal, but remember you get to direct the play or the movie in your mind. Fill your mind with goodness.
2. Monitor your time
Time slips and time stands still. Time can drag on, too. We can’t control a lot—what others think, say, or do. Sometimes we get stuck and must wait for things we cannot control, but we can control what we do with our time. If we take charge of how we use our time, we can not only have more control over our lives but look back one day and realize how much we’ve accomplished. Tiny, little minutes matter because minutes add up to hours and hours make up days. If you cannot be in control of anything else, be in control of how you use your time.
3. Try something new
Something magical happens when we push out of our comfort zones, when we explore and break routine. We grow. Sure, trying new things can be challenging and occasionally uncomfortable, but trying new things can also be rewarding. Some are more prone to stretching beyond the norm, some less likely. When we explore, we may like that we’ve found a new skill, new hobby, new restaurant, new travel destination, or new friend. The newness of life, things, people, and places help us focus upon all the things around us instead of the dull and drab routine we’re used to. So go explore!
4. Express gratitude
Waking up each morning to ponder or pray for things we’re thankful for is a great way to start off our day. Basking in thankfulness doesn’t need to come once a year at Thanksgiving. No, we can and should focus on the things we enjoy and have. Writing those things down can bring even a greater amount of inner peace—whether it’s writing an expression of gratitude to someone or writing in a notebook the good things that happened during the day. Gratitude changes attitude.
5. Develop your talents
Everyone has signature strengths, things they’re interested in or naturally drawn towards doing. The best way to develop is to try. Too often we fail to try because we fear failure or compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we don’t try because learning new things is difficult as new neural pathways are created in our minds. Yet trying new things and developing current interests can get us energized in a way that nothing else can. You have more capabilities than you may think. Go discover them.
6. Engage with others
We need people. Everyone needs a social support system. It doesn’t matter if we are extroverts, introverts, or somewhere in between—ambiverts—we need people. Having someone to speak with about life is cathartic. Genuine relationships matter. Seek good friends and be a good friend. Ideally, seeing someone face-to-face is best, but technology can help us do video chats halfway around the world. Catch up with old friends and take time to be a friend. Strengthen the associations that matter most.
7. Encourage movement
Exercise is essential for our wellbeing. There’s plenty of scientific data to support that fact. If we held still and didn’t move, our bodies and muscles would atrophy. Well, the same goes for our minds. When we don’t physically move, our emotions can turn negative. While our minds can function when we don’t move our bodies, our minds create feel-good chemicals when we do move. Therefore, regular movement, stretching, and exercise, even if it’s a brisk walk, can do wonders for our mood. So consider scheduling a time to move right now.