We often think that to make ourselves happier or healthier requires major changes to our life, but while those big life changes can be really fulfilling, don’t neglect the small tweaks you can make today. In fact by concentrating on those tiny, perhaps unhealthy, habits you have and altering them, it can lead to more considerable changes.
The following tweaks don’t take much time or effort, but they are impactful and will make you feel better pretty quickly. Then maybe you’ll be inspired to make those bigger adjustments to your life…
Make your bed. It’s a small thing but if your bed (and consequently your bedroom) look nice and tidy, then you’ll feel better about yourself. It might even make you more productive.
Write a gratitude list. Every night, jot down three things you’re grateful for. Nice memories help create endorphins – happy hormones. If nothing else, it will remind you that there’s more to life than bins that need emptying and horrible commutes.
Make time to eat. Sit down and eat. Make a meal out of eating your meal. Not only does sitting down to eat aid digestion, but it also makes you more mindful of what you eat, enjoying every moment and not over-eating.
Go outdoors. Studies have shown that walking in nature can not only boost your mental health and make you happier, but it can also make your healthier by lowering your blood pressure.
Hug someone! Physical contact can increase your serotonin levels, making you feel happier. Make it a seven second hug and you’ll brain will release a dose of oxytocin – the love hormone – which will calm your nervous system.
Pretend to be an optimist. Sounds odd, but if you make yourself think positive things about your future, you will feel more hopeful. It may even become a self-fulfilling prophecy where your dreams really do come true.
Buy some plants. Research has shown that looking at something green for just 40 seconds can make you happier and more productive.
Do something nice for someone. Buy your best mate some flowers, compliment a stranger on their stylish shoes, make your other half breakfast in bed. Do something just to make someone smile – and you might be surprised how good it makes you feel.
Give yourself a set bed time. Work backwards to ensure you’re going to bed at a time when you’ll get enough sleep. Not only does a regular bedtime help you fall asleep quickly, but it can also make you smarter!
Write a to-do list every night. In our busy modern world, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the many hats we have to wear, so make a to do list every night before bed. Not only will it make you super organised the next day but you’ll be able to relax at night knowing you’ve got everything covered tomorrow.
Do not disturb! Take a step away from technology for even an hour a day. Either switch your phone to airplane mode or make use of do not disturb settings and forget about your phone. If you can’t resist it, lock it in a cupboard and just pretend it doesn’t exist! Taking a break from your phone can help lower your stress levels while also making you feel present in the moment, something we’re all guilty of neglecting.
Learn to say no. If you’re a people pleaser, this one is for you. While it may be really hard for you to utter, saying no can lower your stress levels, give you more time and energy and also get rid of those toxic people in your life. You know, the ones that are always asking for help but never returning the offer. The more you say no, the easier it gets - we promise.
But don’t forget to say yes sometimes. Saying yes can be life changing. We’re not talking about the dreary favours you get asked time and time again (see above), but saying yes to new and exciting opportunities such as a first date, a promotion or a break without the family. Saying yes to stuff you’d normally dismiss will also make you feel more confident and positive about life.
Laugh more. In these gloom-filled days of Brexit and miserable news, having a laugh has never been more important. However, laughing doesn’t only improve your mental wellbeing, a good giggle can also boost your immune system, increase blood flow and lowers your stress. Someone pass us that Modern Family box set!
Drink more water. Ideally you should be drinking about 6-8 glasses of water a day (about 1.5 litres) to ensure your body and mind is working properly and that you’re not dehydrated. If you struggle to glug that much down, buy yourself a nice water bottle and set a reminder on your phone.
Move more. We’ve become a sedentary bunch but even if you have a desk-bound job, try and add a little movement every day. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Get up every hour and walk around the office. Walk to a sandwich shop that’s further away from your office. You get the idea.
Eat veggies first. If you struggle to eat a healthy diet, then this is a super easy tweak to make your meals healthily. Gobble up the veg or salad first before you attack the rest of your dinner. Not only will you feel fuller and less likely to over-eat, but you’ll also ensure you’re getting your veggie intake for the day.
Follow the 30-day rule. This is a good one if you’re a spender. If you see something you really have to have, wait. It’s tricky but master this one and you’ll save yourself pounds. Often, once the initial desire has passed, you’ll find you’re not that bothered about what you wanted to buy.
Check your bank statements. It’s boring we know, but checking your statements regularly means not only are you in control of your finances, but you can also review all direct debits and standing orders that we sometimes forget to cancel, saving you pounds.
Train your brain. Whether it’s reading a good book, doing a sudoku or playing a game like Scrabble with the kids, your brain will get an instant burst of stimulation. This helps to sharpen your mind and slow down memory loss. An essential if you’re going through the menopause – or should that be the mentalpause?!