5 Amazingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Life from the Inside

Photo Credit: Patrick Emerson/Creative Commons

Dress better, find people with similar interests, be social, join this group or that group, let loose, have fun, take a vacation, etc., etc., etc.

There are hundreds of ideas out there on how you can improve your life.

They don’t always fix anything. They make you happy by putting a temporary bandage on things and cover up what’s happening on the inside.

When I want to fix something or figure something out, none of this has come from doing outside activities or making myself busy.

For me, fixing stuff starts when I start doing the opposite: Sitting down in a quiet environment, thinking, and writing.

It’s not always easy. We’re programmed to be so “busy” that we never give ourselves the space to sit and think.

We cover up our thinking with “busy” activities: Watching TV. Finding a video on YouTube. Spending time with friends we don’t like. Drinking. Binge-watching shows on Netflix. Facebook. Taking twenty hours to make trivial decisions.

It’s scary on the inside, and this is why we avoid it. Spend some time with just you and your thoughts, and you’ll never reach the end of your rabbit hole of thought.

This scary place is exactly where we should head to when we want to fix anything in our lives. (Fun tip: When something is a little scary, that’s sometimes the thing you need to do the most.)

When I need to start analyzing, here are some things I do.

Make a List

Make a list of the things that you like in your life and the things that you are not so happy with in your life.

Start by being thankful for the things that are going well in your life. Spend the time to really focus on each one, and be grateful for them. Don’t just say “that’s nice,” but really give some good, hard thought to it.

Now, look at the things that you are not so happy with. Next to each one of them, write a next step: This is the next step you can take to make them better.

Let’s assume you want new friends. Your next step could be getting on Meetup.com and look for groups that may interest you.

Try Some Daily Writing

Start your day by writing down what’s on your mind. Dump what your thoughts are onto a piece of paper.

What is bothering you that day? What are you thinking about? What is something that you have a question about that you can start writing out answers to?

Write it all out. Just start with stream of consciousness writing. Write whatever comes to mind.

Having self-doubt? Beat yourself up on that piece of paper, listing all of your doubts and any type of self-destructive thought. Use this to get that stupid monkey mind of yours under control.

For me, this exercise allows me to dig a little deeper into what can be really troubling me. Some of my thoughts can be self-defeating, and by getting them down on paper and working them out, you’ll find that there’s nothing really to worry about for many things.

Feel free to discard that piece of paper when you are done. It serves no purpose except for getting your thoughts out of your head and on to the paper.

Other things to add to that paper: What you are grateful for, one thing that you are happy about, something that you can look forward to today to make your day better. Feel free to change this as you see fit.

Analyze Your Thoughts

Your brain is a chatty jerk. It constantly wants to think. Thoughts of the past, thoughts of the future, things that you should be doing, things that you should have said in that argument three years ago.

Your brain’s job is to think, and it doesn’t want to stop.

When you have a thought that brings you to the past or future, try to catch yourself thinking about it and start analyzing it.

What is the thought? How does this thought serve me? Is it a useful thought, or is it just time traveling to the past or future? If it is the latter, let it go. You’ll get another thought later that you will need to analyze. Do the same with that thought. Practice this over and over.

Sometimes the thoughts are questioning you, sometimes they say “your idea won’t work” and are defeating thoughts. Your job is to catch these and not let them get the best of you.

Do Things that Make You Feel Good

It’s sometimes hard to put things like work aside, but always look to do things that make you happy. Maybe it’s reading a book, taking a walk in the park, or playing a game. Something that you know will make you happy. No matter how strange or weird, do it.

Any time I have felt down I work to do something that I will really enjoy, and it makes me feel better. Lately, working on how I write has been the thing that makes me feel better. Journaling and dumping thoughts down on a piece of paper each day made has made me feel better as well.

Pay attention to the little things during the day that make you happy. Is it a cup of coffee or tea? Doing a puzzle? What do you wish you could do more of?

Work those little things into your day. Don’t be afraid to schedule in your calendar some “me time.”

Seek Out Routines or Shortcuts

Certain things make my day go easier: picking my clothes out the night before, getting my coffee items ready for the morning, not having any dishes in the sink when I wake up.

These routines and shortcuts give you more time to do the things that make you feel good.

If you find routines make things easier for you, integrate them into your day. Sometimes these don’t always go as planned, and you need to adjust. That’s OK. Get back on board when you can.

It’s the little things, not huge sweeping changes that have helped me improve my life. Where are the ones in your life that you can start doing?

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