Life is a curious paradox: We are just halfway from immeasurably large to immeasurably small. In this article, we invite you to consider 10 ideas for making a difference in life in small steps.
1. Befriend your body
Most of us are usually not overzealous in taking care of our bodies. We use it as long as we can, and if it gets tired, fat, old, or sick, we complain that it doesn’t serve us well.
Traditional upbringing whispers that taking care of the body is a sign of weakness. But neuroscientists remind us that there is a price to pay for mistreating the body, because we are not separate from it and its needs are our needs.
2. Assemble a “box of good things”
In such a box (the real one) you can put items that evoke pleasant memories, help you relax. We often keep souvenirs, photos, notes from loved ones, a used ticket to an unforgettable concert… Keeping things with a story is good for everyone, but especially for those who struggle with anxiety or depression.
3. Take a dip in a natural bath
Throughout most of its history, humankind has depended on and been connected to nature. We are not always aware of this, but the rhythm of our lives is attuned to nature.
Some cultures have long had practices of immersion in nature, such as shinrinyoku, or the Japanese “forest bath”. The practice prescribes a two-hour walk in the woods once a week to reduce stress and anxiety.
That’s why many major cities around the world are now opening more and more parks with ponds. In London, for example, many parks have formed bionic landscaping that encourages people to spend time playing outdoors.
4. Start the morning with yoga
Waking up can be the most rewarding and enjoyable part of the day. Before you get out of bed, take a few minutes to do yoga. These few minutes can change the whole day for the better, because morning exercise stimulates blood circulation, balances the hormonal system and helps the body to get rid of harmful substances.
In addition, various studies confirm that if you wake up and start with a healthy habit, you are much more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the day. The unique combination of active movement and breathing and concentration of consciousness produces an unparalleled invigorating effect.
5. Use laughter therapy
The ability to laugh is considered innate – we can say it is one of the human instincts. When we laugh, the body produces substances necessary for well-being: neurotransmitters, endorphins, dopamine. Laughing, we feel pleasure, cheered up and our muscles relax.
Laughter promotes relationships between people, because it unites them, pushes them to work together, has a positive effect on performance and creativity, helps them relax and open up new perspectives.
6. Find the positive in negative events
Try to transform the flow of your thoughts so that even negative events have positive aspects. Treat it as a game, don’t dwell on failures like bad relationships, financial difficulties, or health problems. Try to find something positive in them. For example:
I am upset because the relationship did not work out, but I have time to formulate expectations from the future second half, to understand what qualities in it I really need.
7. Spare yourself the unnecessary stress of anger
Every emotion affects our body. When you feel neglect or resentment toward someone, you suffer from negative emotions, because they can be difficult to cope with. And so often, when we are angry with other people, we only harm ourselves.
One of the most effective treatments for negative feelings is forgiveness. Through forgiveness, you can effortlessly first express and then let go of a destructive feeling. You don’t have to believe in the effectiveness of this method – you just have to try it. Then the conscious mind, and especially the subconscious mind, will receive latent commands to let go of the emotion.
8. Forgive your parents for not caring about you and start caring about them
Many adults do live their lives with a wounded soul that retains traces of childhood trauma. We are not talking about abuse or parental negligence – such cases should be dealt with by specialists. But even small mistakes and inattention by parents have a huge influence on a child’s development and his or her future life.
It is very hard to believe in other people when your own parents have hurt you, even if they did not want to.
Studies leave no doubt about this: People who can forgive are happier than those who cannot. Why is forgiveness so important in a person’s life? One reason is that psychologically and physically it is much harder to dig down into anger and resentment than it is to leave them behind.
Regardless, forgiving and letting go of pain is one of the most difficult challenges in life. By forgiving, we are essentially giving up anger, to which we have every right, and giving a gift to someone who has no right to expect that gift. In return, we are freed from the things that cause us much harm.
9. Accept your imperfection
We are not perfect. But perfect people do not exist! Everyone makes mistakes, it’s just that some make the right conclusions and move on, while others look for excuses for their failures.
Just accept the fact that you are not perfect. The next time you fail (failed an exam, didn’t get your driver’s license, couldn’t keep a situation or a conflict under control), remember: it’s only because you are acting within your current abilities. But it is within your power to improve them.
10. Try not only to stand your ground, but also to drift with the flow
Many people are so fixated on self-development, on their future, that they completely reject the whole world of ideas and opportunities that the world of the here and now presents to them. This is why, when the goal is to become a better person, sometimes it is better to let the situation go and simply go with the flow, like water in a river.
It is not easy if you are used to being a leader and you are not young anymore. Over time, we become less flexible, take more responsibility, speak out more often, and even impose our point of view on a variety of issues. However, we only limit our worldview by such behavior.
Try to stop controlling everything for a while and imagine yourself as a river stream. Flow where you can, where you can find a way out. Hide your thorns and be tolerant of other people’s opinions. Don’t interfere in what’s going on. Stop giving orders. Listen more. When someone speaks out in your presence, respond: “That didn’t occur to me. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll think about it”.