If you knew you were going into a restaurant and would come out of it feeling physically sick, would you still go in and eat there? This is essentially what we are guilty of when we allow negative thoughts to eat away at our fruitful life harvest. Why allow negative thoughts to creep into your mind and ruin your day, your month or your life? Feeling good is natural. Feeling good feels so wonderful because it’s inherent. That’s why feeling bad is an unpleasant sensation, because it’s not natural for you. The greatest example of this is the fact that babies smile before they even know what it means to do so. It’s natural to feel good.
One of the ways we rob ourselves of feeling good is the preoccupation with things, which are yet to happen. We have this idea that at some point in the future we’re going to be happier than we are now and we forget that crucial little thing called right now. There are probably so many things happening this very moment, which you haven’t noticed because you’re busy, anxious, planning or pensive- all of which prevent you from living in the moment. Here are 50 simple things to add to your repertoire in order to enjoy your life – today.
1. Write a physical letter to someone. Think about the last time you received a hand written letter from somebody. Letters have significance and stand as a reminder that someone has taken time to write, fold, seal, stamp and post something to you. Then, said letter travelled some distance to get to you. That’s a lot more effort than a plain old text and doesn’t take excessive effort. Now, think about whose day would be made by better by receiving a hand-written letter from you? The world would be a much better place with colourful heartfelt letters in it.
2. Spend more time with people who cheer you up.
3. Smile at a stranger just because.
4. Do something nice for someone else. Let someone go in front of you in the queue, give up your seat, leave change in a vending machine. Hold a hand that doesn’t get held as often as it should. Your goodwill may reap greater rewards than the time you invested in others.
5. Inject play into your life. Dress up in your partner or roommate’s clothes and see how long it takes them to notice.
Photo Credit: Robert Collins
6. Take a deeper look. Our sight is our most used sense, but what are you actually seeing? Do you still notice the tiny details? Do you see the same things over and over again? Look at things with fresh eyes. Absolutely anything can be fascinating if looked at with a long, loving gaze. There is an abundance of great sensory details in even the smallest fragment.
7. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
8. Say an uplifting mantra out loud.
9. Be bored. Spend a few minutes each day doing absolutely nothing.
10. Spend time with people younger than 6 years old and older than 70 years of age. These people have a lot of things to say and are usually beyond the point of caring what others think. They either stopped caring what the world thought about them long ago or haven’t yet let the world stunt their imagination.
11. Laugh and smile more. It might feel forced to laugh when you aren’t in a great mood, but smiling can actually trick your brain into thinking you are. Fake it till you make it. Nothing beats the feeling of deep breaths and a sore stomach after laughing that hard. Life is better when you’re laughing
12. Take a walk under a deep blue sky and feel it’s tender warmth. Breathe in the delicious air, look above you and remember how great it is to be alive.
Photo Credit: Sebastien Jermer
13. Say thank you for something someone did a long time ago.
14. Visualise yourself as happy. Create a mood board. Find images of things that resonate with you, places you envisage yourself, things that make your heart tingle, magazine cut-outs, paste them in a book, on your desk, on a wall, on your bedside table or as your screensaver. Positive visualisation goes a long way.
15. Put yourself first.
16. Own your strengths, feel free to make a list of all of them.
17. Learn or try something new every day. Research an interesting topic that’s new to get those curiosity juices flowing.
18. Plan a surprise for someone. Something that will make them laugh, something they aren’t expecting, there doesn’t have to be an occasion. The planning will keep you engaged and the outcome will (hopefully) strengthen your relationship with that person.
19. Listen to your surroundings. There is a sound to breeze hitting leaves and birds chirping. We oft forget to listen to nature’s music.
20. Tell someone you love how much you care about them.
21. Compliment somebody (genuinely though).
22. Create something. Don’t think about it, just do it. Doodle, get your crayons out, watercolours, pencils, stencils, use the nearest thing to you as your apparatus. Just let your hands wander over the pages or whatever happens to be your canvas.
23. Stop complaining and watch your life change.
24. Close your eyes and breathe in, count to ten.
25. Check in with yourself. Do I feel comfortable? Am I happy with what I am doing right now, how I’m doing it and with who?
26. Show someone unconditional friendship.
27. Allow yourself a guilty pleasure- a box set, a piece of chocolate, a kiss. Reward yourself.
28. Listen to your favourite song(s).
29. Wear something bright. It can change your mood entirely or perhaps affect people’s reactions to you. Fuchsia pink, canary yellow, turquoise, scarlet red. Porque no? Grab something from your wardrobe that’s full of life to help make your day sing.
30. Be mentally prepared for setbacks.
31. Teach someone something, transfer your skills.
32. Accept your body.
Photo Credit: Mohamed Nohassi
33. Play more games. Outdoor games, sporting games, board games. Any games, except mind games.
34. Plant something.
35. Read a book.
36. Go towards the sunlight. Wherever you see a glimmer of sunshine, follow it. Walk on the sunnier side of the road and let the sun rays tickle you.
37. Find a way to have fun while doing the drudgery activities. Ironing, cleaning and cooking are tiresome pursuits for many but they needn’t be. Turn on some music, meditate or call someone. You’ll start thinking of those jobs as something other than unsavoury.
38. Ask yourself questions. Be nosey. Think about what makes you tick. “What actually makes me happy” vs. “what do I think should make me happy”. You’d be amazed at the answers.
39. Stretch. Wiggle your toes. Take a cue from cats and dogs who wouldn’t dream of ending nap time without a good stretch. No one taught them how to do it; it’s just a natural skill. Have a good stretch, in the morning, at night, in bed, standing or on the floor. Your body will thank you for it.
40. Smell things. So many rich smells and fragrances surround us, both natural and manmade. Walk past a bakery to get that fresh bread smell, or stop and smell the flowers. It can be ever so therapeutic. Pause, smile and carry on.
41. Reconnect with people who have made your life richer. Just say hi, send a photo, a smiley face, change your profile photo to one with them in it; any means to remind them how they touched your life.
42. Savour your food. Eat slowly, for your food simply won’t’ grow legs and run away. Get your favourite meal. Cook, beg, borrow (but don’t steal) it. Hot or cold. However you like it. Just savour it.
43. Celebrate something for no reason. It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday or the day you got promoted at work. Why can’t you celebrate Thursday for the sake of Thursday? Dress up in something fancy, bake a cake or make some popcorn. Suddenly, a random Thursday won’t feel the same. We are so programmed to commemorate our relationships only on prescribed days that we almost get spooked when someone gives us a “for no reason” gift. Let’s normalise those “just for the sake of it” celebrations.
44. No one is ever too old to hop. Catch yourself skipping and hopping as you walk along, like no one’s watching.
45. Pretend tomorrow doesn’t exist and is a utopian concept. If you’re truly living for each 24 hours, what amazing things will you pack into it?
46. The past happened and it might have been great, but stop romanticising it. The true romance is the sunset you’re witnessing, the person in front of you, the delicious meal you enjoyed, the hug you felt and the smile that was flashed your way. Do you want to miss that? It’s alright to let reminiscent thoughts fill your head as long as they don’t crowd out your mind and subsequent actions today.
47. Really listen when somebody speaks to you.
48. Switch up your routine. Being set in your ways may prevent you from living in the moment as you might be functioning on autopilot. Add something different to your repertoire or alternate your normal path just a tad.
49. Make silly faces at someone.
50. Daydream. Shut your eyes and visualise your happy place or your paradise. How magical it is that we can be in two places at once.
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Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, author of the book “Escape To Self”, and content editor for Club Elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram @TheBeachBell.