It’s easy to get bogged down with daily life. The process of time, responsibilities, routines and the way we see ourselves all have an effect on how we feel. Below is a simple, if somewhat light-hearted list of thirty suggestions on how to feel differently for a while, how to get motivated, how to feel OK about yourself and how to feel better about life.
Replace the word should with could.
Should is a demand, a must do, as in; I must pass my exam, I must behave in a certain way, I must go on a diet. Could is a lovely word. I could pass my exam, I could behave in a certain way, I could go on a diet. Feel any different?
See things as potential challenges rather than certain failures.
Try to look at your goals as something you can have a crack at. If we view things through the filter of, I can’t do it, it’s unachievable. We set ourselves up for failure before we even start.
Demystify your ambitions; they are often smaller than you think.
Try not to see whatever you want to do as an overwhelming task fraught with hardship and disappointment, something that only others can do. Break things down into small achievable steps and do one at a time regularly. You would be amazed at what you can achieve in a relatively short time.
Tell yourself that you are going to have a good day first thing in the morning.
This is amazingly effective. Say it out loud, or even just in your head. Positive thoughts are like rocket fuel for the mind. Start as you mean to go on. Attitude counts.
Own your world, it’s as much yours as anyone else’s.
Wherever you are, at any given moment, you are at the very centre of your universe and you have your own unique way of being and experiencing the world. Live life the way you want to. If it isn’t hurting you or anyone else, what harm can it do.
Be kind to yourself, generally.
Make this a rule of thumb. You might just find that you feel happier, less demanding of yourself, healthier in mind and in general outlook. It’s a good way to be full stop.
Consider an argument a heated debate.
Jeremy Paxman does. So why shouldn’t you. It takes the steam out of things, and if you can both see it this way then it could open up the doors for better communication.
Trust in your judgement.
There is no reason not to trust in yourself. You have everything you need to make the right decisions in life. You are fully equipped with an array of senses and the power of observation and evaluation. Go with what you feel.
Aim for good enough and see better as a bonus.
Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough. Set reasonable expectations on life, from then on the only way is up!
Have a good cry whenever you can.
Whether it is a movie, a piece of music, Britain’s Got Talent, a sprained ankle, a broken love affair, whatever it is, cry it out, you owe it to yourself.
Feel sorry for yourself and don’t feel bad about it.
Whoever said it’s wrong to feel sorry for yourself never experienced any hardship. If you’ve had bad news, lost your job, had your car stolen, whatever, lick your wounds first before you move on. Trying to assign the idea of right or wrong to a feeling is about as useful an activity as pouring boiling water into a chocolate teapot.
But is one of those dreadful words that keeps us in our comfort zone. But is a way of staying safe, never trying anything, never exploring anything, never taking a risk. I could do but. But keeps could at bay. Abolish but. Unless it’s practical of course, (we could fly the old biplane but the wings might fall off is a good example here.)
Make yourself laugh or laugh at yourself.
This is one of the greatest things we can do. Have a funny thought; send your friend a stupid text message. Slip over or drop your phone in the toilet. Walk into a lamppost, get the date wrong, lose your glasses and find them on your head. Laugh at yourself as often as you can. Buster Keaton made a living out of this and as far as I know we are the only species apart from the Hyena capable of doing it. So let’s make the most of it.
Get angry and get even with a cardboard box – Use anger as a way to recycle.
Take it out on something that won’t get hurt. All feelings are totally natural and need expression. Don’t let anger turn into harmful destruction. Use it as a way to benefit the planet.
Do things that YOU really enjoy.
The wonderful sense of identity that comes with a pastime, a hobby, a sporting activity, books we like, bands we enjoy, all things that feel uniquely ours offer us a sense of self that can hold our interest for a lifetime. Isn’t that a good thing to do?
Don’t forget that todays problem is tomorrows memory.
Whatever’s troubling you today will tomorrow or in a month or in three year time be a memory. Something you got through. An experience you learned from and put behind you. So don’t get too down. Time heals.
Marvel at your individuality.
In the whole entirety of space and time, it is extremely unlikely that there has ever been anyone quite like you. Even a Fabergé egg is more common than you are and that is truly amazing!
Once in a while, treat yourself to something you really like or enjoy. Guilt free and in the full knowledge that part of life is not only about giving but also receiving.
Dance when there’s no one else around.
When your on your own, turn your house into a private disco. Stick on your favourite tunes and dance like you mean it. If you’ve done this before you already know how good this feels. If not, then get going, you’ll love it!
Don’t feel guilty or bad about what you think.
It’s just what you think; you will probably think something else in a minute.
Explore all sorts of reasons not just one or two.
As human beings we can have a tendency to think quite rigidly; it must be this. It must be that. Any given question to do with life usually contains a number of possibilities; try not to decide on just one. The irony is, the more potential reasons you explore the more likely you are to hit on the right one.
Examine your evidence in terms of probability.
Get real. Is it really the way you think it is?
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Live by the assumption that most people are essentially doing their best in a tough world. Often their mistakes are just that, mistakes. Viewing people as intrinsically fallible leads to more realistic expectations and can have a significant impact on our ability to empathise and also, to cut ourselves some slack.
Accept as much as you can.
The more we accept things the happier we are. This doesn’t mean we stop seeking to improve things. It’s just that acceptance allows us to cut down on stress and live more in the moment.
Do or say something daring.
I’m not talking about bungee jumping here. I’m talking about joining a dating site, or trying something new. Maybe start a conversation with that girl or guy you like, something that’s yours and can be reasonably overcome. Take a small risk in preparation for the bigger ones.
See procrastination as a way to get the housework done.
Putting things off can be a great way to get the vacuuming done, or the dishes, make another cup of tea or clean the windows. Optimise time wasting into productivity.
Admire someone and acknowledge their difference without diminishing yourself.
Sizing yourself up against the next person and finding yourself failing can only lead to misery. Acknowledge other peoples difference and celebrate your individuality.
Get something wrong and feel OK about it.
Don’t be your harshest critic; let yourself off every so often. You will make mistakes; life consists of a series of Oh No! moments, it’s about how we recover that makes the difference.
Get something right and OWN it.
How easy it is to jump on ourselves when we get something wrong. Yet when we get something right, we fail to recognise it. Stop for a moment and pat yourself on the back (yes, actually physically pat yourself on the back), you deserve it.
Consider life a process rather than a means to an end.
Life is continuous. If we see it in terms of reaching a destination, a place where we’ll be all right in the end, we miss out on the good stuff we’re experiencing as we go along. Try to live each day as a series of mini-lifespans and review your day in terms of recognising the good things that happened.
We don’t have to live our lives through repetition. We can break the mould. Life is rich and incredibly diverse. Sometimes it’s good to question our implicit systems of behaviour and test out some new alternatives. Change a little and often and before you know it, things might start to feel different. Why not write your own list and see what comes up.
Image © David Mao