To be joyful is to be happy, jubilant and elated. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life! Here are 20 small things you can adopt into your everyday life that will do just that…bring you joy!
1. Eat Breakfast - Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, as it will help you concentrate and maintain your weight. Besides breakfast, be mindful of what you are putting in your body. You get out what you put in!
2. Smile - It’s amazing what happens when you smile. In today’s busy world, many of us walk around with our heads buried in our phones. Take a break from your busy day and smile, it will naturally put you in a good mood!
3. Be Present - Be mindful by paying attention to the moment. Throughout the day, just stop what you are doing and realize what is going on around you. It’s so easy to run around in auto-pilot and fall back on our bad habits. If we can consciously take ourselves out of that state a few times a day, it makes a big difference!
4. Slow Down - We all have “so much” to do every day! The problem with being “busy” is we actually end up getting less done, and our work suffers. We like to “multi-task” which is actually counterproductive. Pick one thing at a time and do it mindfully. You will produce a better end result and experience less stress throughout the day.
5. Drink Water - The more water you drink, the cleaner your body and mind become. Start substituting water for what you normally drink. If you drink soda, stop! You will be amazed at how much better you will feel and think!
6. Take Breaks - No matter what your day entails, make sure to take frequent breaks. A recent study shows that your brain works at a high level for about an hour and then slows for 15-20 minutes. So, work for an hour and take a 15-minute break. This will help your productivity, and your peace of mind!
7. Move - When you do take those breaks, move! If you sit at a desk all day, make sure to schedule times to get up and walk around, or at least stand up and stretch. It will help you stay energized throughout the day!
8. Write it Down - Writing things down during the day is a great way to remember things and enforce goals you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is a pen and a pad of paper, or an app on your phone, get in the habit of writing things down. You will be amazed at how much more you remember, and how organized your life becomes.
9. Listen - Start listening to people. No, really listen. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next while they are talking, cut out the chatter in your head. Just sit there and attentively listen to what the other person is saying. You will be amazed at what you learn from what is being said, as well as who is saying it.
10. Take Action - We say we are going to do this and do that, but rarely do this or that! Pick something each day that you want to accomplish, and do it! It’s amazing how good it feels to finally start doing things you’ve been wanting to accomplish, even if they are small ones.
11. Small Wins - It can sometimes seem like we haven’t had a “win” in a long time. This can be because we often work on large goals or projects. If you don’t already, break down your larger goals and projects into smaller ones. Each time you finish your daily goal, feel good and enjoy your win. Small wins add up to big ones!
12. Me Time - You should be taking small “me times” during the course of your day. Me Time can be anything you enjoy, and is something that takes you away from the clutter of information we are bombarded with. Taking me time lowers your stress levels, and allows you to live a longer and healthier life.
13 Be Positive - This is easier said than done. Beginning your day with a positive mindset is very important. During the course of a day your mindset will be tested. If you can mindfully keep a positive mindset throughout your day, you will have a happier and more successful life.
14, Limit Worry/Anxiety - Stop worrying about what happened yesterday and what is going to happen tomorrow. Be present and think about today! There is nothing you can do about yesterday and tomorrow hasn’t happened, so enjoy today!
15. Breathe - Yes, if we stop breathing we die…I get it. I’m talking about mindful breathing. If you start to feel anxiety or overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath! There is also a form of breathing called “box breathing” which helps you relax and strengthens your brain.
16. Listen To A Song - This is actually a mindfulness exercise that is easy and fun. Be in your own space, relaxed, put your earbuds in and put on a random song. It works better with a song you don’t know very well. Sit or lay there for the 3-5 minutes (length of the song) with your eyes closed and just listen. Don’t think about anything but what the music brings. Listen to the different sounds and just observe the power of the music.
17. Avoid Negativity - Don’t surround yourself with negative people! Limit the amount of time and energy you spend with negative people, it will have an immediate positive effect on you.
18. Laugh - Just as smiling has a natural effect on your mood, so does laughing. As you avoid negative people, gravitate towards funny ones. Watch a funny show or movie, anything to get those endorphins pumping.
19. Plan Your Next Day - At the end of your day, sit down and write what you want to accomplish the next day. This transfers your thoughts of tomorrow and puts them down on paper. You will sleep better, as you won’t lie in bed worrying about what is going on tomorrow. When you wake up, all you have to do is look at what you have written down and follow the plan.
20. Sleep - Make sure you are getting enough sleep. We are supposed to get 7.5 to 9 hours a night, and the average American gets 6.8. Start scheduling your sleep and start getting the correct amount. You will be amazed at how easy life becomes when you get enough rest. It has an impact on your energy, mental capacity, mood, emotional intelligence, and overall short and long term health.
So, write down what you will be doing tomorrow, get a good nights sleep, wake up, start adopting these little things into your day and begin to live a happier, more joyful life!
Would you like to become smarter, healthier, be in better shape, feel more relaxed, and have more energy than you thought possible? Of course you would! If you adopt these 7 mindful habits into your everyday life, your next 365 days will be your best ever!
1. Become Mindful in Your Everyday LifeTo be mindful simply means to pay attention on purpose. Much of our lives are spent on auto-pilot, where our mind just wanders from thought to thought. A good example of this is when we are driving. Have you ever been driving down the freeway, a few minutes go by, you come back to your conscious thought and you can’t remember what has happened in those last few minutes. Yes, you were driving, but you can’t remember what you passed, what you saw, or what was going on around you.
You were in auto-pilot mode, or daydreaming. Auto-pilot is the opposite of mindfulness. When being mindful, you’re aware of your surroundings, in the present and observe without judgement. You can start to practice being mindful right now as you read this article. Don’t just read this article, pay attention, be attentive, and understand what it is saying.
Do me a favor, take 15 seconds right now and look around. Observe what is around you. Really look at things…the computer, tablet, or phone you are reading this on. Acknowledge the size of the room or space you are in, what you are sitting on, and anything that is around you. That is an example of being mindful, just being in the present without your mind wandering off to what happened yesterday or what is coming up tomorrow. Start to do this a few times a day. Stop what you are doing and look around to notice where and what is going on. So, why practice mindfulness? Not only does it increase both your physical and mental health, it is scientifically proven to increase the gray matter in your brain, in other words…make you smarter!
2. You Are What You Eat We put food in our body when we feel hungry, bored, stressed, depressed and for a number of other reasons. Food is essentially our energy source. Food gives us the fuel to keep going throughout the day. Being mindful of what you put in your body will affect your energy level, your cognitive skills, as well as your mood. Just like a high performance car demands high performance gas, if you want your body to perform at a high level you need to put high level food in your body. The old adage “you get out what you put in” says it best. This also goes for your mind as the brain burns 20% of the calories you take in. So, start paying attention to what goes in your body and how it makes you feel.
3. I Want to Pump You Up!We all know we need to exercise. For most, we go in and out of stages of a regular exercise routines, to not remembering where the gym is. When we’re not exercising regularly we find just about any excuse not to…I’m tired, I don’t have time, I think I pulled my back, just to name a few. Whatever your excuse, throw it out the window. Become mindful about exercising regularly, because there is no excuse not to do something that decreases your stress, improves learning capabilities, improves self-esteem, gives you a natural high, makes you feel and look younger, and allows you to live a more vibrant life. Now, go put the gym in your GPS and get moving!
4. Get Your Beauty SleepSleep is one of the most underrated activities that we partake in each and every day. How can you be mindful when you’re sleeping? Look at your sleep schedule or patterns. When do you go to sleep? When do you wake up? How well do you sleep? Do you wake up several times during the night? Do you set an alarm? How many hours a night do you sleep? Are you tired during the day? Do you take naps? Once you understand your sleeping patterns you can then learn to adjust them so that you get on an optimal sleep schedule.
When you sleep, your body and your brain rejuvenates itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t give your body or your mind enough time to fully recover. The average person needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep per night which puts them in a “sleep debt.” Being in a constant sleep debt is basically living a sleep deprived life. If you actually do get the 7.5 hours per night, you will have more energy, think clearer, handle your emotions more intelligently, and just be more productive in general. Basically, you would be a better you!
5. Take “Me Time”“Me Time” is any activity that you love to do. It can be almost anything that you really get into. For example, some people find exercising to be a great “me time” as they become enveloped in the activity without thinking about the outside clutter of the world. Reading a book, taking a bath, watching a movie, sitting in a room or house by yourself in silence, going to dinner with friends are some other examples of “me time.”
Most people have trouble getting “me time” in this busy world. For those who do have trouble finding time, I suggest scheduling it. Taking “me time” reduces stress and allows you to really understand and appreciate who you are. I suggest scheduling a couple small “me times” per day, even if it is 5 minutes in a room by yourself relaxing. If golfing is one of your “me times”, make sure to get out once a week. If exercising is your time, do it several times a week. You get the picture…make sure to get your “me time!”
6. Listen Up!Mindful listening is one of the coolest things you can adopt into your life. You will be amazed at some of the things you learn from not only what you hear people say, but also about who is saying them. An example of normal listening is when you are talking with someone, they’re speaking, and you are thinking about what you are going to say next. Mindful listening is where you listen without that chatter in your head. When you listen intently by paying attention on purpose to what is being said, it is a great learning experience, as well as a mindful exercise. Another great advantage of mindful listening is the relationship that you will build with the other person. They will respect the fact that you are listening which ultimately increases your relationship and trust with that person. Try it with the next person you speak with…it will amaze you!
7. Don’t Forget to Breathe!Breathing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce your anxiety, stress and put you in a better mood. The great thing about breathing is you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you can do it in as little as 60 seconds! One minute of a breathing exercise can take you from stressed out, too “I can handle this.”
An easy but effective exercise is box breathing. This is where you concentrate on your breathing for at least 60 seconds. You breathe in with a count of 4, you then hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4. You then repeat this for about a minute, or as long as you wish. During the exercise you pay attention to your breath and body as the air fills your lungs on the inhale and slowly releases as you exhale. This exercise will not only relax you, but helps you become more focused and mindful in general.
If you adopt these seven mindful habits, I guarantee you will have the best year of your life! It starts out with a single step. Don’t try and jump in thinking you will become the mindful master right away. Goals and habit development are like staircases. You don’t come to a staircase, take one step and you’re at the top. Just like goals you set for yourself, you need to take baby steps in each of these mindful habits and eventually you will reach the top. Mindfully adopt these 7 habits into your daily routines and you will be amazed at where you are 365 days from now.
Almost everyone has things they want or wish to accomplish in life. It could be a possession like a dream house or car, or could be a passion or hobby to that perfect relationship. No matter what it is you are searching for in life, there are usually two ways you go about it...one is to look at the destination and keep your focus on the prize. The other is to look at the journey and how you got to the destination.
A road trip is a perfect example and analogy to be used for the things we want in life and how we look at them. We've all taken some sort of trip in life that we were excited about. Think about what was the best part of that trip. Was it getting there and that is all you could think of was, when I get there it's gonna be like this or that. Or, was it the trip itself...the journey getting to the destination. The excitement of where you were going, but really enjoying everything along the way.
Some will say the destination and some will say the journey. So, which is a better perspective...Journey or Destination? Personally, I am a Journey point of view...I think everything that is done on the way to where you are going makes the destination that much better! But, I know a lot of Destination people and they have a good point that it is the satisfaction of getting to their destination, or goal that makes it worth while.
The reason I wrote this was because one is not better than the other...it's just different! If we can learn to be a little bit of both and balance our point of view, we will be better in the end. If you are a journey person, there may be a lot of destinations you missed because you got off track enjoying the journey and there may be a lot of destination people who got to the destination, but regret not looking around on the way there to see the wonderful things they experienced. So, in the end, try and remember to keep an open mind and see both sides of things...this will allow you to learn and grow more as a person and maybe next time you will see everything you wanted on the way there and enjoy the fact you got to the destination how and when you wanted.
Would you like to become smarter? Remember things easier? Increase your brain’s overall strength? Good news! I’m going to show you six things you can start doing immediately that will improve your memory, strengthen your cognitive abilities and make you smarter!
Before I start with the six, I must tell you about the one thing that relates to all of them…being mindful.
The most important thing you can do to increase your brain power and memory is to be mindful.
This is basically paying attention on purpose. Being mindful is scientifically proven to increase the gray matter in your brain. Gray matter allows you to think clearer and remember more. The reason I don’t have mindfulness as one of my points is because you have to be mindful to do any of these things!
Maximize Your Sleep Cycle
We sleep 1/3 of our life, or at least we are supposed to. When we sleep, we go through a cycle which include 3 stages. Each stage is 30 minutes (90 minutes per cycle), and the cycle repeats itself throughout the night. The first stage is light sleep, the first 30 minutes, and this occurs when we first fall asleep. The next stage is deep sleep, between 30-60 minutes, and in deep sleep our body heals itself. It does this by releasing the hormone HGH which repairs what the body needs repairing. If you are sore from working out, this is the stage that makes you not sore in the morning.
The final stage, or Stage 3, is the famous REM stage which occurs between 60-90 minutes. This is the stage that repairs our brains. REM is known as the dreaming stage, but is also the stage where it categorizing your thoughts and memories. During the night the cycles treat different stages with different priorities.
Your body is the first thing to heal and then it moves to the brain.This is why they say it is crucially Important to get 7.5 – 9 hours of sleep a night. The average American gets 6.8 and lives in a sleep debt most of their life.
Implementing – Do your best to get 7.5 hours of sleep and if you need to take a nap, take one! If you are one of those people that think sleep is weak and you run just fine on your 6 hours, try getting 7.5 and see how efficient you are, how much better you feel, and notice how good your mood is throughout the day!
Maximize Your Food Intake
You get out what you put in! If you want your car to perform at its best, you put in high octane fuel. If you want your body and brain to perform at its best, you put in high octane food. Begin by cutting down on the amount of food you consume at one time. If you normally eat three larger meals, cut those down to six smaller meals throughout the day. Our brain works best with 25grams of glucose at one time…that is basically a banana. There are also plenty of foods that release hormones like dopamine that make us feel good. Some say two handfuls of cashews equals an antidepressant pill. Although they may be a stretch, why are you not snacking on cashews all day?
Implementing – First, cut down on the size of the meals you are eating! Next, simply think about what you are putting in your body. Everything you put in makes your feel differently, so put in the good stuff! Finally, if you are not sure, look it up. Google is at your fingertips, so use it… your body and brain will thank you!
Write it Down
When you physically write things down your brain looks at it differently than if you type it into your phone or computer. When you actually write it down, it cements it into your brain. When I was in high school I wasn’t a very good student and when it came time to take tests, I always made cheat sheets.
The fascinating thing was I never used them. About an hour before the test, I would look at the possible questions and write down the answers on a small piece of paper. I would then put the paper in my pocket and plan on pulling it out when it was time to retrieve the answer. The thing was, when I would read a question, the answer would come right to me because I had just written it down. I could visualize how I wrote it, and where I wrote it down on the cheat sheet.
Implementing – There are several ways to start doing this. My favorite is write down tomorrow’s activities/responsibilities the night before. What this does is release any worry about what you have to do the next day and you will sleep like a baby! It also allows you to wake up the next day and just follow a schedule…no-brainer! Even though it is better to write things down by hand, have an app on your phone where you can always jot things down when they come to mind. We have so many great ideas that come and go, if you don’t capture them, you may lose it forever!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, or putting yourself “out there” has an effect on the way your brain sees things. Your brain reacts differently in new environments than when you stay in the same place. When your brain sees the same things all the time, it goes into auto-pilot. It has seen it before so it doesn’t have to work to understand. When you change your scenery, your brain starts to see new things and perceive things differently. It does this because it has to “pay attention.” This is where the magic happens.
What I mean by that, is there are things we all have in our heads which we have no answer for. We may be working on a project or just something you know you are missing and when we introduce our brain to new environments those missing pieces sometimes come to the surface…it’s amazing!
Implementing – This can be done so many different way, but the easiest answer is switching up a routine a bit. A few examples are driving home and working out. Instead of driving home the exact same way, even if it takes you another 5 minutes, take an alternative route to shake up the brain. If you exercise, that’s next; you should change up your routine a bit. Instead of running the same route or the same time and miles per hour on the treadmill, shake it up a bit. You can also add in a new form of exercise to do the same.
Besides being great for our body, exercising is amazing for our brain. When we exercise, our brains release endorphins that make us feel good. It also decreases our stress which eliminates the bad hormone cortisol, which I like to call the “dumb” hormone. Cortisol clouds our thinking and decreases our cognitive ability. So, to feel better and think clearer, jump on that treadmill, lift those weights, get to that yoga class or whatever form of exercise you choose is right for you.
Implementing – If you don’t already, start exercising! You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise, there are plenty of workouts you can perform in the privacy of your own home. Beyond that, make conscious decisions to be more active. Take the stairs not the elevator, park away from the building instead of hunting for the best spot, and get up and take a walk every now and again…your body and brain will thank you!
Slowing down may sound like something a lazy person would tell you, but in fact here is why it helps. Being “busy” or “multitasking” are two of the least productive things you can do. When you slow down and mindfully concentrate on one task at a time, you give it 100%. When you multitask two things, you do each at 50% and when you do three, it is 33%, you get the picture. Besides doing the job better and more efficiently, you become less stressed which, yes, eliminates the cortisol in your brain. As we know this allows you to think clearer which will produce less errors. So, in fact, when you slow down you actually increase your productivity.
Implementing – This one is pretty simple, but for some reason one of the hardest. We are so “trained” to go fast, and get things done, but it is that mentality that creates the mess! So, write down the things your are going to do in the next hour/day and mindfully do them one at a time. You will find that you feel better as you get each one done and more relaxed. Slow down and enjoy life!
Start implementing these six habits and you will not only see your brain power and memory increase, you will see your mood lift like never before. So be mindful, put these to work and I’ll see you at the top!
Most have heard the story of the tortoise and the hare. But, in case you haven't, or you've forgotten, it goes something like this...
One day the Tortoise got tired of hearing the Hare boast about how fast he was, so he challenged the Hare to a race. The Hare, laughed and gladly accepted the challenge. As the race started the Hare took off and left the Tortoise in the dust. About halfway through, the Hare got tired, so he decided to sit, rest, and ended up falling asleep. When he woke, he got up and ran swiftly to the finish line to find the Tortoise already there.
There are many interpretations to this story, but the one I want to point out is consistency. You see, the Tortoise had a slow and steady pace and took it one step at a time. He was consistent in his life. The Hare, on the other hand, went full speed and ran out of gas halfway to the Goal line.
The Goal line represents what we want in life. For most of us, we are taught to go after things at full speed and get there as fast as we can. But, for most of us, we fall short because we run out of gas, or willpower. If we can be more like the Tortoise, and move at a methodically consistent pace, we will end up crossing more Goal lines and getting more things we want in life.