5 Ways to Improve Your Day (that you probably didn’t think of)

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Photo credit via Flickr user Carmela Neva

Everyone has good days and bad days. Sometimes all it takes to change a bad day into a good day is to change the way you perceive what’s happening to you. It’s no surprise that people who tend to take failures and find a way to turn them into opportunities tend to be more successful human beings overall. There are also several studies that suggest that people can rewire their brain to be happy. But what can we do to make small improvements throughout our day until we can control our thoughts a little more? Here is a list we’ve compiled that might improve your day, even just a little.

5 ways to improve your day:

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  1. Do somebody else a favor! There truly is something so fulfilling about helping another person. While not everyone can consider themselves altruistic, there are simple ways to receive those warm fuzzy feelings of being helpful. According to a study by Michael Steger, A psychologist from the University of Kentucky, when we act selflessly, it puts us in a better mood. We also tend to like the person we helped a little more because many people just need to feel appreciated. Just like Rainbow Fish giving away his glittering scales, you might be inconveniencing yourself to help someone but seeing others happy because of your deeds will spread the happiness unto you.
  2. Say something nice to yourself in the mirror every day. and mean it. There’s a relatively famous experiment by Masaru Emoto about positive intentions and negative intentions. Emoto cooked rice and filled two jars. Every day for 30 days he expressed gratitude and love to one jar and said hateful things to the other jar. At the end of the 30 days, the rice he expressed gratitude to still looked fresh enough to eat and released a pleasant aroma. The rice he placed negative intentions on was moldy and disgusting. There is a lot of controversy from skeptics on this experiment, however, the point Emoto was trying to make was that there is great power in our words and intentions.  Looking in a mirror and speaking positively about yourself is a conscious way to boost your confidence and self-esteem. This practice can also work the same way as self-hypnosis. It’ll make you more mindful of how you feel about yourself and make you consciously try to change your feelings about it.
  3. Write a to-do list and cross stuff off of it. This sounds too simple to be true but successful people tend to keep to-do lists, goals, or planners on them at all times. Write down even mundane daily tasks that you know you won’t forget to do like “work 8 hours” or “eat breakfast.”  There’s just something so satisfying about crossing off items from your to-do list. Plus to-do lists keep a written record of your productivity. People tend to feel more motivated when they track their accomplishments. When you get some time and you’re used to the habit, dare to go bigger and write a list of long-term goals. You’ll look back on that list in a few years and be glad you wrote them down.
  4. Stay busy. That’s right, stay busy. In the Regina Spektor song (that also happens to be the Orange is the New Black theme) she says “Taking steps is easy, standing still is hard” and while many of us can imagine how this line applies to a prison setting, it’s also a wildly powerful epiphany for our daily lives. Intuitively, we think if we have more free time and take the time to relax, we would be happier people. It turns out people prone to boredom tend to be at higher risk for anxiety and depression. In fact, people who work all the time or stay busy reported higher levels of happiness with their life. It’s also been discovered that being busy is correlated with boosted brain functioning, though it is unclear which causes which. So maybe the next time you’re having a rough day, crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read, start on that craft or woodworking project you’ve been meaning to do, volunteer somewhere, go to work, or clean the house because it may distract you from your unhappiness.
  5. Fake a good mood. Greet people like your day is fantastic, post something on social media that makes people see how great your day is, smile at someone even though you’re miserable. There’s an old saying. “fake it until you make it.” Well, there’s actually science behind this. Sometimes lying outwardly can convince ourselves inwardly. Afterall, many social skills we have as adults came from playing pretend as a child. Sometimes people just become the happiness mask they put on. Some people just fall in love with happy person they pretend to be. Being yourself and expressing your true emotions is still highly encouraged, faking a smile from time to time might just increase the amount of time you smile you for real.
Flickr via user donlreewalker
Flickr via user donlreewalker
Krissie Schmidt is a dreamer of dreams, freelance writer, and mother of three. When she's not busy saving the world from the monsters in closets or washing sippy cups, Krissie can be found questioning her choice of preset workouts while on her elliptical, cooking delicious southern fare, and unintentionally creating crafting fails. Krissie is passionate about writing and aspires to be a successful novelist.