7 ways to improve
By S. Kirk Walsh
You're having one of those days where nothing is going
right you're late for work, your computer crashed, you spilled coffee on your brand-new shirt. By the end of the day, you
find yourself zombie-like in front of the television, asking yourself "Where is my life going? Where did I go wrong?" Indeed,
a simple shift in attitude at some point during your waking hours could have turned your day around. But how do you do it?
Set realistic, achievable steps, suggests Stephanie Marston, Ph.D., a family therapist in Santa Fe. Start with small things
to improve your attitude and well-being.
- Take a Friend to Lunch: Try taking a friend to lunch or dinner. Not only will you get a nice visit
in with a friend you care about, but the act of generosity will likely boost your spirits.
- Listen to Your Favorite Song: Carry a portable CD or tape player with you and listen to your favorite
tunes. A recent study in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia found that music decreased anxiety experienced by patients
- Discover the Extrovert in You: "Merely acting extroverted will make you feel happier," says William
Fleeson, Ph.D., a psychology professor who studies happiness at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Fleeson
suggests acting assertive, bold, adventurous, and talkative to practice being an extrovert.
- Take Ten: Give yourself ten minutes out of every day to re-connect with yourself, suggests Marston.
"We live in fast-paced culture where we're all moving at warp speed with ridiculous to-do lists," she says. If we take time
to be quiet, we can get in touch with our values and priorities. "With some adjustments and time, soon our outer life will
be matching up with our inner life," she says.
- Count Your Blessings: A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
found that individuals with a more grateful outlook on life exhibited a heightened state of well being. According to the study,
"research has shown that gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope." At some point
during day, make a simple list of five or ten things that you are grateful for in your life.
- Shake It Off: Try not to take things personally. Instead, develop the habit of looking at other people's
actions as just the way they are and less of a personal statement about you. Keep in mind that you can't make another person
change but you can change your own thoughts.
- Just Say Om: Cultivate your spiritual side. This could mean checking out some meditation classes (often
yoga studios are a good source), exploring the local religious centers in your neighborhood or asking your friends for a good
recommendation of a spiritual book.