10 Ways to Improve Your Life TODAY, in under an hour

IMG_3383In order to truly enjoy your life you need to make yourself a priority. You are the only one that will always be there and it is up to you to make sure that you treat yourself well. Regardless of how much work you have, the people that rely on you or how many other things are competing for your time, if you are not enjoying yourself, what is the point? There is no future where you can say, there, I’m done; now I can enjoy myself. This is it. Enjoy today.

1. Recognize that you don’t know anything (1 minute)

A lot of conflict in our lives stems from our convictions. Wars have been fought over differences in belief systems. All malicious gossip stems from the certainty that we know what is right and that someone else is not following the rules. It is not possible to actually know anything for sure. Even facts have often turned out to not be true, or is the world flat? Everything that we think we know is based on our past experiences and our perception. New experiences can change our perception and therefore can change what we “know”, so why are we so sure of ourselves?

Why this is valuable

Once we recognize that we don’t know what others are thinking, why they did specific actions or what is truly, unequivocally true, we no longer believe the stories we are telling ourselves about what is going on. This frees us from judgment and the need to fight to support our points of view. This one change in perspective can transform how you feel about your relationships, your life, your opportunities and your history. It has the ability to free up all kinds of energy for creativity and inspiration and to let you enjoy yourself instead of defending your position.

2. Go outside (2 minutes)

A quick, free gift that we can give ourselves is to simply go outside. This can be done by taking an extra two minutes during the time that you would normally walk between your vehicle and the building you are headed for. Experience being outside, for just a moment, pay attention to the natural surroundings, the sky, the breeze, the temperature…

Why this is valuable

We are all part of nature. We were designed to feel the sunshine, experience the breeze, enjoy the natural scenery or at the very least, scenery different from the interiors that we are used to looking at. This is a reminder that we are part of a larger whole and that we are connected to nature. This can help you relax, feel grounded and like you are part of something timeless.

3. Take the time to “feel” your body (3 minutes)

Start at your toes and work your way up your calves, thighs, up and up, you get the picture. No judgment, just observation. Is there any tightness, pain, vibration, heat, cold, irritation, lightness etc.?

Why this is valuable

Our bodies are great sources of information. Some call it intuition or a “gut feeling”, but the truth is that they are collecting and sorting data at lightening speed and we need to pay attention to it. By learning what your body sensations are, you will develop an understanding of how you feel day to day. When a change occurs, you will notice it more readily and this helps you “hear” what your body is trying to tell you. Being in touch with your body helps you become whole. It allows you to respond to its needs rather than forcing it to behave how you want. This will increase your contentment and your experience of joy.

4. Dream of something that you would like in your life (3 minutes)

What would you like in your life? How would you like your life to look? What would you like to be doing right now? Allow yourself to indulge in pretending that you already have what you just thought of. Be grateful for all of the things in your life that you already have. Indulge in fantasy for three minutes.

Why this is valuable 

All accomplishments require some kind of vision. Before a building can be built, someone had to dream of the building and put that vision down on paper (or into a computer program) so that others would know what to build. Your life is like that. If you want something, believe that you can have it. Picture it. At the very least, it will make you feel good, positive and hopeful for three minutes.

5. Think of something that you would like to do and plan to do it (5 minutes)

This is a more concrete example of what I said above. You know you want to visit a city, see an exhibition, go for a hike, a canoe or a drive or any of a million activities that you already know you want to do. Take five minutes now and plan to do it. Set a date, invite those people you would like to share it with and put it in your calendar.

Why this is valuable

There is nothing more concrete that you can do to bring happiness into your life than doing things that you enjoy. It will not get done if you do not schedule it in (sad but true, often) so do that now. Five minutes, do the work to make a plan and schedule it.

6. Do something that you actually enjoy (5 minutes)

This is even MORE concrete than the examples above. Indulge yourself for five minutes. Look at photos you like, go outside again, watch a video, sing in your car or your shower or where you work (if possible :-)), dance, apply a moisturizer to your face, give someone a hug, tell a joke, do your nails, take some photos, do a puzzle etc., You know what you like to do.

Why this is valuable

It is easy to forget that many of life’s simplest pleasures are right at hand all of the time. When we stop to think about it and indulge, we enjoy ourselves here and now.

7. Do a random favour for a stranger (5 minutes)

An under-appreciated way to bring immediate joy into your life is to commit a random act of kindness. Some popular examples are: “pay if forward”, where-in you pay for the person behind you in line at the drive-through; helping someone to their car when they have several packages; and of course the simple act of holding a door for someone. Be creative.

Why this is valuable

If you do one small gesture for someone today it will make you feel better immediately and it may put them in a better mood as well. This also has the potential to create a ripple effect.

8. Express any emotion that you have for five minutes (10 minutes)

I probably don’t have to tell you that bursting into tears at work, yelling at someone you don’t know or becoming incapacitated by grief or loneliness is simply not acceptable in our society, or more to the point, not acceptable in public. Truth is, we still have to feel these emotions and express them (however loud and uncomfortable that may be).

Why this is valuable

Unexpressed emotions stay in your body and are lurking there waiting for your guard to be down. Just when it is most inappropriate, they are expressed. If they are not expressed they fester. This can manifest as illness, addiction, inappropriate behaviours and depression. The energy required to not express or feel emotions is much greater than the energy required to release them. Letting yourself feel whatever it is you are feeling, for five minutes a day, (no judgment allowed) will increase clarity and inspiration. It is important to realize that you don’t have to know why you feel the way that you do. Just allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. Ten minutes are allotted because you will need some recovery time before you can resume your ‘normal’ life.

9. Walk for 10 minutes (10 minutes)

Your body will respond immediately to this gentle movement. I am not talking about high level exercise, the need for special foot wear or even tracking distance. This is a chance to just move your body in a natural way.

Why this is valuable

We were designed to have some movement and this small contribution will enhance your mood, your immune system and your outlook. Add in good scenery (even if it is the latest styles) or good company (if you can interest a friend) and you double the bang for your ten minutes.

10. Take fifteen minutes to do nothing (15 minutes)

This one is last because it is the largest time commitment and quite frankly is the most beneficial of all of the above. Sit, stand, lie down or do any repetitive activity that does not require too much attention (it’s not very beneficial if you get hit by a car) and just pay attention to your thoughts, your body and the environment (even if you are indoors). Come to appreciate the fact that your mind continues speaking to you regardless of whether or not you need to remind yourself of anything. Pay attention to this moment only. Do not plan for the future or worry about the past. Do not get engaged in the thoughts that appear in your mind, just try to observe the words. Be here now.

Why this is valuable

Doing nothing, sometimes called meditation, sometimes called mindfulness, has been shown to benefit every aspect of your life. It decreases stress (and all stress related bad habits), improves mood (which makes you more productive and more likely to have friends around), increases your immunity (which means less time wasted being ill or not feeling well) and helps you understand the importance of the first 9 Ways to improve your life. It gives your brain a break and allows you to stop thinking obsessively about things. Think of it as rebooting your brain. Rebooting your brain for joy…

Our Thoughts Create Our Perception of the World

Releasing Emotions

The Most Important Moment is Now

Recommended Reading



The Joy Diet 

How to focus on the things that can bring joy into your life today.





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