Life is short, but we can do small things to make the best of it. If you start to make adjustments to your daily routine, you’ll start to see powerful changes that will not only affect you but also those who come into contact with you. All it takes is one decision to transform your old way of doing things. Here are five rules for making each day your best one.
1. Let yourself love
Allow yourself to truly enjoy the people in your life. Learn to bathe in the joy of the unique love that develops within each of your relationships. You never know where that love will emerge, so when it does, accept it with open arms. Know that it may not come in the way you expect, but it’s still love all the same.
Love is good for both the heart and soul. Research shows that being in love helps lower blood pressure and even reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. Using functional MRI scans, researchers viewed the brain images of people who were in love. They discovered that those in long-term relationships had reduced activation in the area of the brain that induces anxiety compared to those in newer relationships.
2. Let go
A grudge, much like unresolved anger, is emotional poison. While the person you’re angry with moves on with their life, you’ll still be ruminating over being wronged. Like Elsa said, just let it go.
In Forgive for Good, Dr. Frederic Luskin provides some sage advice:
I have seen that forgiveness helps people control their emotions so they maintain good judgment. They do not waste precious energy trapped in anger and hurt over things they can do nothing about. Forgiveness acknowledges we can’t change the past. Forgiveness allows us not to stay stuck in the past. Forgiveness allows us to land our planes and then make any repairs that may be necessary. Forgiveness gives us a well-deserved break.
3. Be still
Take a moment to shut the world out and sit with silence. Entering a silent period offers a vehicle for you to explore your thoughts and experience a calm moment. Unplug from your tech gadgets. You’ll feel just a little more refreshed afterward.
In The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer notes how important it is to have some peace of mind:
The idea behind Nowhere — choosing to sit still long enough to turn inward — is at heart a simple one. If your car is broken, you don’t try to find ways to repaint its chassis; most of our problems — and therefore our solutions, our peace of mind — lie within. To hurry around trying to find happiness outside ourselves makes about as much sense as the comical figure in the Islamic parable who, having lost a key in his living room, goes out into the street to look for it because there’s more light there.
The simple act of smiling can not only make a world of difference in your mood but also your health. University of Kansas researchers find that smiling can assist the heart with making a quicker recovery from stressful events. Participants who smiled had lower heart rate levels after a stressful event. Even subjects who forced a smile exhibited similar results.
“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress, you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well!” says Sarah Pressman, one of the researchers.
5. Engage with others
Be aware of those around you. Making conversation with a lonely neighbor could mean much more than you know. Reach out. No matter how busy you are, take time for friends and family and get your priorities in the right order. You never know when you’ll need a friend.