If you want to reduce the stress in your life you need to simplify your lifestyle. Of course, this is much easier said than done, because it’s the ants, not the elephants that seem to get the best of us every time. Instead of tackling the big problems that seem overwhelming, it helps to remedy the small problems first. A few small changes can make a significant impact to overall happiness. The following 147 tips, broken down into ways you can improve your life through your job, around the house, in financial matters, in your goals and beliefs, in romance, in your social life, and through your health and diet, will lead you to a healthier, happier, greener, and better lifestyle.
Delegate Tasks — One of the easiest ways to reduce stress and be happier at work is to delegate some of your smaller tasks to others when possible. Make a list of your tasks and decide what you need to tackle personally and what you can delegate to others. With fewer things to worry about you’ll be able to better concentrate on the important aspects of your job.
Make Friends at Work — It may be conventional wisdom that work and personal life should be kept separate, but most people find that having close friends at work makes going to work more fun. If work stress is getting to you, or you simply want company for a coffee break, a work friend can be a great way to make your work environment, and you a lot happier.
Personalize Your Workspace — You’ll be a lot happier to spend hours at your desk if it’s a pleasant place to be. Put up some pictures of friends and family or get some nice desk accessories to spruce up your space. But be aware of office rules and politics and stay tuned with your overall office environment.
Find a Job You Love —While this may be easier said than done, having a job you enjoy can make a big difference in your overall happiness. You spend a good portion of your waking hours going to work, so shouldn’t it be something you enjoy? Think about what you don’t like and do like about your current job and what you’d truly like to do. It may take some work to make it happen, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Get Outside —A little fresh air can make a big difference. Take some time out of your workday to get away from your desk and go outside.
Sit Up Straight —Sometimes the key to feeling more energetic and productive is to act the part. Stop slouching in your chair and sit up straight. Not only will it help your posture (not to mention reduce back and neck stress) but it will also help you feel more alert.
Don’t Keep Treats Around — Keeping treats on your desk can be a quick way to sabotage what might otherwise be a healthy diet. A few handfuls of candy each day can start to add up over time if you’re not careful. If you feel you have to keep treats at work, keep them out of sight so you won’t face the constant temptation.
Keep Your Desk Clean —A chaotic desk can make completing even the simplest tasks an ordeal. Take a few minutes each day to tidy up papers on your desk. It will help you work more efficiently and reduce the amount of time you spend looking for those important documents.
Don’t Procrastinate —If you have a nagging task that needs to get done, don’t put it off. Get the least desirable of your responsibilities out of the way as soon as you can while you feel energetic. You’ll feel a lot better after it’s taken care of, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on other tasks without the worry in the back of your mind.
Clean Out Your E-mail — Don’t let your inbox overflow with e-mails. Create a simple filing system for e-mails that you need to keep, and periodically move the rest to the trash can. This will make it easier to find what you need, and also help your e-mail function more quickly.
Learn to Say No — Saying no can be a difficult thing to do. It can make you feel guilty or that you aren’t meeting the expectations of others. But sometimes, in order to maintain sanity, no is the only answer. If you’re too busy or already have other commitments just say no- you don’t have to please everyone and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and worry.
Make Things Manageable — Sometimes a big project can seem so daunting you hardly know where to begin. If you break it up into smaller parts it can become more manageable, and you’ll be happier feeling like you are making some progress by checking off each of the smaller parts as you complete them.
Take Vacations —Many people think they simply can’t take a vacation, that their work won’t be able to get by without them and convince themselves that they can’t get away. But taking vacations is part of being a healthy and productive employee. Without breaks from work, you can become burnt out and your work might suffer as a result. So use your vacation time wisely, even if you just spend it at home with kids.
Schedule Around Energy Levels — If you always experience a post-lunch slump in energy then don’t schedule an important meeting or your most difficult tasks for that time. Work with your body’s natural energy highs and lows as much as possible. It will make you more productive and reduce the amount of stress you feel at work.
Ask for What You Want — Think you deserve a raise? Want to work from home a few days a week? Then don’t be afraid to ask. Many people fear the rejection of their requests so much they never bother to ask. It’s true, you might not always get what you want, but it’s better to know where you stand than to waste your time wondering.
Always Be on Time —Some people truly struggle with being on time. The fact is, being late makes you look unprofessional. If you have trouble getting out the door on time in the morning, get up a few minutes earlier or lay out your clothes and work necessities the night before. Not always having to rush will not only make you look better at work, but it will also reduce the amount of stress on you.
Don’t Hide Behind E-mail — E-mail is a great tool for work but there are some things that are simply better discussed in person. Make the effort to go into a coworker or boss’ office to discuss things in person.
Protect Your Private Time — It can be hard to balance work and personal time. But in order to be a happy and healthy person you need time to yourself outside of work. Schedule times when you will be completely work free – no e-mail, cell phone or PDA and do something you truly enjoy doing.
Ask for Help — Sometimes we simply have more than we can handle. There is no shame in asking for help if you truly need it. Let your boss or coworkers know that you’re in need of help and see if something can be worked out to lighten your load.
Control Interruptions —While we all love getting the occasional forwarded e-mail or coworker that stops by to chat, these kind of interruptions can make it very hard to get work done. You cannot eliminate interruptions, but you should do your best to control them. Set aside blocks of time where you don’t check e-mail and let calls go to voicemail so that you can complete the work you need to with fewer interruptions.
Work Close to Home —Working nearer to home can eliminate hours spent commuting. Commuting is essentially time wasted and you’ll be happier putting your energy into something more rewarding.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Stay Organized —If you’ve ever spent several frantic minutes searching for your keys on your way out the door or looked everywhere for that hammer just to hang up a few pictures, you know that being disorganized can eat up a lot of your time. Clean out closets, under sinks, and even your basement and put items you want to keep in boxes or bins with labels so that you’ll be able to find the items when you need them.
Get Rid of Unwanted Items —Inevitably, we all collect “stuff” as we go through life. But sometimes this stuff simply becomes clutter and we need to figure out what is worth the effort to keep and what is simply crowding our space. Go through your old items and get rid of anything you don’t want or things that you haven’t used in the past year. You’d be surprised how little you miss these things, and there will be much less sitting around gathering dust.
Plan the Night Before —Tame your hectic mornings by taking a few minutes before you go to bed to lay out the essentials for the next day. Pick out your clothes, fix lunches, and put your important things in one place. It will only take a few minutes and you’ll help to make starting your day much more relaxing.
Don’t Let Things Pile Up —It’s easy just to throw all the mail into a pile on the table to take care of later but this process can easily get out of hand and before you know it there’s weeks worth of papers. You can save yourself time and trouble by creating a sorting system to manage your incoming papers, deciding what’s important to keep and what can go to the recycle bin before it becomes an unmanageable clutter.
Fix-Up or Rearrange Your House —Sick of your same old living room or the squeaking screen door? You don’t need to move. Sometimes just fixing up or rearranging things around the house can make your space seem like new. Take pride in your home and fix up little things around the house. Embrace your inner interior designer and try moving your couch to the other wall, or changing out the curtains. Have some Feng Shui fun and discover the “lucky places” in your home. Improving your surroundings can often have a big impact on improving your mood.
Cook Ahead — If you find yourself constantly eating out because you don’t have the energy to cook every day after getting home from work, then you could save money and eat healthier by cooking meals ahead of time. Take one day a week and cook several meals for teh week ahead and freeze them. That way, you’ll simply have to take dinner out before you leave for work and it will be waiting for you when you get home.
Schedule Time for Projects —There are always lots of little things that need to get done around the house, but finding time to do them can be hard. Schedule a specific time to do these kinds of tasks so they don’t pile up and stress you out.
Clean House Bit by Bit — Cleaning a messy house can be a big task. Help yourself out by cleaning your house bit by bit. You can start by cleaning one room at a time, or to be more proactive, always take a few items with you each time you leave a room to put away. You’ll save time, and won’t feel overwhelmed by cleaning the whole house at once.
Program Your Thermostat — You can save a lot of energy and money by getting a programmable thermostat. Adjust the settings so that the heat goes down when you leave for work and comes back up shortly before you get home. There is no sense in paying for heat that you aren’t there to enjoy. This is not only greener, but can also save you quite a bit in utility costs.
Sun Dry Clothes — While this isn’t a year round practical option for many people who live in colder climes, in the warm months sun drying clothes can be a way to save on the energy that would have been used by your dryer. Instead of paying for your dryer to do the work, let the sun do it instead completely free of charge. Plus you can enjoy some fresh air in the process!
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies — Cleaning supplies can be expensive and many are filled with chemicals that are harmful to the environment and potentially to your family. Fortunately, you can make many of the same cleaning solutions at home for a fraction of the cost and with things you might already have around the house. For example, you can make a simple glass cleaner from ammonia, rubbing alcohol and water. Always make sure to follow a tried and true recipe, however, as some combinations could produce unwanted reactions.
Do Less Laundry — Do you really need to wash the shirt you wore for 2 hours at dinner? Before you throw that shirt into your laundry hamper, take a second look. Does it really need to be washed or could it go for another wearing? This little action will save time, energy, and help your clothes to last longer.
Wash Your Car — Skip the trip to the carwash and wash your car at home. Get some helpers and this can be a great way to bond with family and get you outside for some good clean fun.
Recycle — One of the easiest ways to live greener is by recyclinginstead of simply throwing everything away. Many communities have curbside recycling programs which make it no more difficult to recycle than to take out the regular garbage. If your community doesn’t offer this service find out where local recycling centers are located. For some recyclables, such as aluminum cans, you can actually get money back for the items you recycle. Find a local Freecycle so that you can recycle locally and save on gas!
Maintain Your Car — Keeping your car well maintained not only increases its life, but can also save you money on gas and repairs in the long run. Make sure to monitor your tire pressure, under filled tires can cause your car to use more gas and be less efficient.
Start a Compost Pile — Recycle your kitchen and yard waste by making a compost pile. A compost pile not only provides you with a means to throw away less, but also is a great source of fertilizer and mulch for the rest of your yard. With a small investment in time, you can contribute to the solution to the problem of overfull landfills, while at the same time enriching the soil and improving the health of the plants on your property.
Get a Water Filter — If you’re worried about the quality of your water, get yourself a good water filter. Bottled water might seem like a good solution, but it’s considerably more expensive and also creates a lot of waste. So get your water from the tap (you’re paying for it anyway) and the filter will take out any impurities you might be worried about.
Bring the Outside Inside — Nothing spruces up a room like bringing in a few plants. Find plants that won’t aggravate any allergies or that may be poisonous to any humans or pets. They can add life to a room and provide you with a little bit of nature even when you can’t get outside.
Repurpose Old Items — Just because you’ve lost a use for an item in it’s original purpose doesn’t mean it’s garbage. Experiment with using items around the house in creative ways. Turn your old ice cube trays into places to store jewelry. Have a wine rack you don’t use? Turn it into a magazine rack. Look around your house to figure out your own solutions for reusing items and creating less trash.
Plant a Garden — Having a garden can be a very rewarding experience. You don’t have to go full scale. You can begin with just a few plants in pots if you don’t have the space or time to maintain a large garden. Packets of seeds or young plants cost very little and can produce lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your family. Tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce are great plants to start with.
Learn to DIY — Almost anything you can pay a service person to do you can learn to do on your own. Hemming your own pants, changing your own oil or doing your own taxes can all be things you can learn to do on your own. Not only does this save money, but you will gain the confidence and satisfaction of knowing you did it all on your own.
Bring Your Own Bags — One way to start living greener is by bringing your own bags, preferably canvas, with you when you go shopping. This way, you won’t be bringing home a bunch of plastic bags with you, and cloth bags can often be much more comfortable to carry.
Use Less — The easiest and most simple way to save money and resources is simply to use less. When you brush your teeth, make sure to turn off the tap. When you leave the room, turn out the lights. These are simply solutions that will reduce your monthly bills and save energy.
Take Care of Your Things — So you’ve finally found the perfect sweater/couch/pair of shoes, don’t let your intrepid purchase fall apart before its time. To make sure your purchase lasts as long as possible make sure to take care of it appropriately. Mending holes, taking care of stains and putting things away where they belong will help prolong the life of your favorite things.
Stock up With Bulk — Buying non-perishable items in large quantities can be a great time and money saver. It’s more difficult to run out of toilet paper or paper towels when you buy in bulk, and you won’t get stuck running to a more expensive corner store to pick up a last minute necessity.
Buy Classics — One way to reduce the stress of what to wear is to buy simple, classic clothes that you can mix and match. Classics are also an investment, as you won’t have to get rid of them before they wear out because they’ve gone out of style.
Schedule Bill Paying — Schedule a time each week to sit down and take care of your bills. If possible, set up your major bills to all be due on the same payment schedule. This will save you time, and will allow you to not constantly worry if bills have been paid or not.
Have a Yard Sale — Yard Sales can be a great way to make some extra money from items that you no longer want or need. Make the small investment to place an ad in the local newspaper (save money by sharing the cost with neighbors who would also like to have a sale). Whatever you don’t sell you can donate to a local charity or thrift store.
Make a Budget — The first step to feeling secure financially is to make a budget that can help you pay for everyday needs, as well as take care of debts, and save for the future. The best way to create a budget is to figure out how you’re spending your money right now. Track all of your expenses for a few months down to that morning cup of coffee. Then, figure out how you can make changes to best suit your needs. Be realistic about your changes and it will be much easier to stick to your new spending plan.
Save Your Change — While a few pennies may not seem like much, a whole jar full of them can add up quickly. Make a habit of putting your change in a piggy bank or jar and taking it to the bank periodically. It can be a helpful way to have extra money for treats and personal expenses from money that might have just ended up in the couch cushions or the cup holder of your car.
Create an Emergency Fund — One way to set your mind at ease is to make sure you always have a cushion for emergency expenses. An emergency fund can help protect you from going into debt should any misfortune befall you such as unexpected car repairs or illnesses. How much should you save? This is up to you and depends on your income and the amount of debt you have, or whatever makes you feel secure.
Keep Separate Accounts — Separate accounts can help you save money easily and simply for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it helps to have an account solely for holiday expenses or for a college fund. You can set up a main account that automatically places a set amount into each account so you don’t have to worry about transactions. Create checking or savings accounts with compound interest, and you can make money on those accounts.
Eliminate Credit Card Debt — Credit card debt is a common financial hang up for millions of people, and can cause a great amount of stress. Help reduce your credit card debt by paying as much as you can on it each month, even if it means going without a few other things. You can also help yourself by transferring your debt to a card with a lower APR— there are many cards available that have low or zero APR for the first few months you hold the card. This can give you a chance to make payments on the card without incurring any new interest.
Educate Yourself About Finances — The more you know aboutfinances – including budgeting, investments and insurance – the more confident you’ll be in making decisions that affect you financially. Take a class or read a book about an area you’d like to learn more about. Take advantage of Investopedia’s free information and you’ll save money even further!
Live Within Your Means — Keeping up with your neighbors can be a very expensive endeavor and one that leads some people to financial ruin. Learning to live with what you have is an important step in making yourself more secure financially. A plasma screen TV is great, but only if you can truly afford it. When you are considering making a large purchase, think about how many hours you will have to work to pay for the item- expensive items might require an entire months worth of work to pay for. Is impressing the neighbors really worth a month of your life? Learn to overcome the temptation to buy things you can’t afford and you’ll appreciate it later.
Pay Yourself First — One of the easiest investment strategies is to always pay yourself first. Decide on the amount you can afford and make a payment to yourself- either to you savings, IRA, or other retirement accounts. You can have this amount automatically deducted from your account so that you’ll never miss it, and never be tempted to use it for something else. By making your financial security a priority, you’re setting yourself up for future financial success.
Pay In Cash — It’s easy to overspend if you’re always paying with plastic. Paying in cash gives you a visual representation of every dollar you are spending. You can also help limit your spending by only bringing a certain amount of cash with you when you go shopping.
Evaluate Your Priorities — An important step in financial happiness is figuring out what is important to you. Take stock of where the majority of your money goes – it could be that you are making investments in things that are not as important to you as others. Be honest with yourself in what you truly value and what you can and can’t live without spending on.
Plan for the Future — The sooner you create a plan for your financial future, whether it’s retirement, saving for a house, or your child’s college education, the sooner you can start working towards it. Set some goals for yourself both in the short term and the long term and create a plan that will help you keep on track to those goals. The better your plan is the less stress you will have in thinking about your future.
Cut Back on Treats — It’s hard to resist giving yourself the occasional treat, but consider how much you spend on things like coffee, soft drinks, and candy over the course of a month. It can add up very quickly. You can cut back on these expenses without completely depriving yourself. You might find that the money you save can buy you a better treat in the long run.
Keep Good Records — Keeping good records is essential to keep track of how much money you are spending and how much money you are making. Keeping track of your expenses can prevent you from overdrawing your account and will also help you track where you money is going. It’s also useful come tax time when you are trying to prepare those pesky forms. Keeping track in the first place will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.
Realize Money Can’t Buy Happiness — Studies have shown that those with large amounts of money are no happier than those with less. While money can help reduce the day to day stress of paying bills, no amount of stuff is going to make you happy if you aren’t already happy. Put more time into worrying about relationships and your personal goals than money.
Pay Bills Online — Save yourself time and stamps by setting up bills to be paid online. Most bills that are due each month can be set up to be paid automatically from your account so you won’t have to worry about writing checks or making sure that bills are paid while you’re away.
Invest Wisely — Knowing what to invest in and how much to invest can be a complicated and delicate endeavor. Try to make sure your assets aren’t all in one basket, and avoid investing too heavily in company stocks (if something were to happen to the company you might not only be out of a job, but out of your investment as well). If you’re unsure about where to invest, try getting some professional advice to learn how to secure your future.
Look at What You Already Have — Before you rush out and buy new stuff go “shopping” in own your closet or on your bookshelves to see what you already have. You might be surprised at what you have – books you never got around to reading or clothes hidden in the back of your closet. Rediscovering something you already have can be just as great at getting something completely new.
Buy Used — Many thrift stores and garage sales can be a great source of low-cost gently used items. This can be a great way to save money, but can also provide a fun treasure hunting excursion.
Research Big Purchases — While the flashy cars and appliances on TV may be very appealing, it’s best to do a little research before making any large purchase. Many fancier products have more parts that can break, which can translate to more repair costs over the life of the product and the cheapest products might not always be the best investment over long term either. They are probably cheap for a reason. Do some research online or in consumer testing magazines to find out what products have proven themselves to be the best for your money.
Make Use of Free Community Resources — Most communities are full of places you can go for free entertainment and education and you should take full advantage of them when you get the chance. Many libraries offer free or low cost movie rentals, as well as CDs, books on tape, and the standard paper bound books. Community parks can offer many free and reduced cost recreational programs. Give your local libraries and parks a chance, you will save money and get the chance to meet others in your community.
GOALS AND BELIEFS
Keep Visual Reminders — Goals, whether saving for a vacation or losing weight, can sometimes seem far off, and you might forget the reason you’re going without to reach that goal. Keep visual reminders around the house to help you remember what it is you’re working towards. When you get the impulse to order those new shoes take a peek at that sunny beach and remember what you’re saving for.
Never Stop Learning — Whether you’re seeking to advance in your career or to simply explore your interests, learning new things can be a wonderful way to keep life interesting. Learning something new doesn’t always that you need to take a formal class. It can be as simple as picking up a newspaper and reading all the stories, not just the ones that interest you. Learning new things can open you up to new possibilities and ideas you hadn’t previously considered, and this practice could expand your outlook on life.
Volunteer — Studies have shown that we live longer and happier lives if we spend time helping others instead of just thinking about ourselves. Take an opportunity to help out in your community. You can volunteer for an after school program or to help clean up a local park. Giving to your community and others around you can help you to make new friends and feel needed and valued.
Stop Worrying — Many people find it difficult to stop worrying, and worrying too much can start to take a toll on activities such as work or time with family and friends – not to mention give you wrinkles. Much of worrying is about problems that aren’t immediately solvable. Take a step back and stop worrying about them for a while – you might find a solution where you least expect it.
Do a Good Deed — Do something nice for someone around you- helping your neighbor carry in groceries or a few simple words of unexpected praise. Doing good for others can help you to feel good about yourself, and makes the people around you happier as well.
Analyze Your Commitments — It’s easy to fall into patterns of doing things simply because they are habit, but that no longer make sense with your present goals and desires. Analyze your weekly schedule and see if there are any things that you simply aren’t getting any joy from anymore or that don’t suit your goals for the future. Cut back or quit doing these activities to leave you more time for things you really want and need to do.
Accept Your Weaknesses — Nobody is perfect. As soon as you learn to accept that there are some things that you just can’t do, you’ll be happier with yourself and better able to focus on all the wonderful things that you can do.
Take the First Step — Making changes in your life can be a scary prospect, even if they are ones you are looking forward to. You’ll never get where you want to be by standing still, so push yourself to take that first step in the direction you want to go.
Be Grateful — So you don’t live in a mansion and drive a fancy sports car. It’s easy to get caught up in lamenting the things that you don’t have. Take a moment to reflect on all the things you do have. You might find that you are richer than you thought. Focus on these things that you can be grateful for each day.
Don’t Take Things Personally — Criticisms aren’t always meant as an attack on you as a person. Learn to take criticism as a learning experience and use it to become better at whatever you are doing. If someone is truly being unkind, just remember that their words probably have more to do with what’s wrong with them, than what is wrong with you.
Always Do Your Best — Putting your best foot forward in everything you do will help you make the most of your time and effort. For example, if you want to lose weight you need to get up off that couch first. Or, if you want to make more money, learn first how to ask for that raise.
Focus on the Good — Bad things happen to everyone at some point in their lives but that doesn’t mean that you have to dwell on them. You will be happier and healthier if you try to concentrate on the things in your life that are positive.
Put Your Money Where Your Goals Are — Sometimes the motivation to start working towards a goal can be as simple as investing money in that goal. Take the initiative to sign up for that language class or join that gym. Once you’ve made the initial investment you won’t want to waste your money and will give yourself the motivation to start working towards your goal.
Find Beauty in the Everyday — Often schedules are so packed and life is so hurried that there is little time to slow down and appreciate the world. Take a moment to reflect on the simple pleasures in your life which you might have otherwise taken for granted.
Mean What You Say — While it may be tempting to say things you don’t mean to placate others or because you are angry try to make everything you say as true as possible. When you are honest and say what you mean, your words will have more value, and others feel that you are worth of their trust.
Don’t Make Assumptions — Our intuitions and first impressions can be a valuable tool but they’re not without flaw. Many people have gotten themselves into pretty embarrassing situations by making assumptions. Take the time to ask questions and delve deeper before you make a judgment.
Find a Cause — Having something that you are truly passionate about can be a great way motivator. Find something that excites or engages you and let it inspire your goals and your life.
Keep Your Perspective — It’s hard to keep perspective when life hits you with an obstacle that seems insurmountable. In reality, few things in life are truly insurmountable. Give yourself time to deal with your problems, but also make sure you look at the bigger picture.
Set Deadlines for Yourself — So you’ve come up with a great plan for your future, but how does it practically fit into your life? Set deadlines for yourself to accomplish certain goals by so that you can keep yourself on track.
Monitor Your Progress — Planning for things far in the future can sometimes be discouraging if you still have a long way to go. So concentrate on how much you’ve accomplished already instead of how much you still have left to go.
Keep Balance in Your Life — Don’t let any one aspect of your life take over. Try to strike a balance between work, home and personal interests.
Keep a Journal — Keep a journal of your accomplishments and even about your troubles. A particularly good ordinary day can be something worth writing about. When you’re feeling bad about life you can look back on these good days as a reminder that things aren’t always horrid.
Take Your Time — Don’t rush into anything that could make your life more difficult down the road. Take your time to make important decisions and don’t let others rush you into situations you’re not comfortable with.
Be Accountable — One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is trust. Part of trusting someone is knowing that they will stick to their commitments and be where they say they will be. Your relationship will be happier and healthier if you make sure to always be accountable for the promises you make to your partner.
Listen — By listening more than talking, you become both more receptive to your partner’s feelings and ideas and you give yourself more time to think of a response. Couples who can communicate clearly with each other have a much better chance of overcoming problems and staying together.
Let the Past Go — The past will always influence who you are and how you perceive life, but it shouldn’t hold you back from having the relationship you want. If you’ve been hurt by past partners or your current partner, sometimes the only way to find happiness is just to let it go. You don’t have to forget, but learn to forgive and move on.
Give Compliments — Compliments can be a simple but powerful way to improve your relationships. Let your partner know the things you like and admire about them- no matter how small.
Say Thank You — It’s important to make a partner feel appreciated in a relationship. It can be as simple as saying thank you. If your partner cleans up around the house or does something nice for you make sure he or she feels that you are grateful.
Be Yourself — It might be hard to do, but put aside what others think of you, and just be yourself. You will get much further in life and be so much happier in just being yourself, and the best part is that you won’t be just like anyone else in the world!
Make Contact — You’ve probably already heard that touching of any kind – including hand holding – can make you happier because it boosts endorphins, which improves your mood. A little contact can also reduce stress and make you more relaxed.
Turn off the TV — You and your special someone might enjoy watching a TV together, but sitting and watching TV together doesn’t grow relationships. Turn the TV off occasionally and spend some time just talking and focusing all your attention on each other.
Be Willing to Compromise — Inevitably, there are going to be times when you and your partner won’t agree. Work to find a middle ground that you both find acceptable.
Be Creative — Relationships are a balance of security and adventure. It’s nice to know your partner will be there day and night but your relationship can also fall into a rut. Try to keep things interesting by surprising your partner with special dates or gifts that you can your partner can enjoy.
Don’t Lay Blame — When there’s a problem it really doesn’t matter who’s at fault, so don’t start pointing fingers (pointing a finger at someone else points four fingers back at you!). Just start working towards a solution, a practice that helps to build a more solid relationship.
Make Dates — It’s important to make time in your busy schedule for your significant other. Even if you live together, make dates to spend time with each other free from other distractions.
Be Independent — Being with your sweetheart can be great, but make sure you’re making time for your own life and interests as well.
Spend Time, Not Money — Anyone can purchase expensive gifts or lavish dinners. It’s not that these things aren’t nice, but you don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to have meaningful experiences. Sometimes, a simple night in of playing board games or a picnic in the park can be much more romantic and memorable than anything money could buy.
Explore Your Surroundings — If you’re bored of the same old places in your routine, get out and explore your city. Chances are that there are tons of parks, restaurants and shops you didn’t even know about and you’ll get to know the place where you live even better.
Embrace Your Inner Child — Who says you have to act your age?Reconnect with the fun loving, innocent, without-a-care in the world part of you. Take a break from your responsibilities to enjoy a childlike activity. Get dirty, blow bubbles, go to the playground – anything that can help you feel fun and carefree.
Play a Sport — Playing a sport can be a great way to get some exercise and make new friends. It’s not always necessary to join a formal team. An informal neighborhood get together at the park can be just as beneficial for your health and social life.
Enjoy Seasonal Activities — While you might be longing for the beach come mid-January, try to make the most of the changing seasons and the special kind of activities they offer. Build a snowman, go sledding, or enjoy the changing of the leaves. Let the world around you entertain you, free of charge!
Create a Babysitting Exchange — Want to get out but can’t afford to pay for a babysitter? Set up a babysitting exchange with some friends or neighbors. In exchange for watching your kids, they can watch yours and allow you to go out knowing that your children will be well taken care of and at no additional charge.
Pick Up a Hobby — If you’re pondering how to spend your Sunday afternoon, perhaps it’s time to pick up a new hobby. Hobbies can be a great way to release stress and possibly meet people with similar interests.
Learn Something New — No matter how much you know there’s always something that you don’t. Take an art class, learn to cook something new, learn to ride a horse. You’ll keep your mind active and be happier in the process.
Send Letters — While phone calls and e-mails might be quicker, there are few things that make people feel as good as getting real honest to goodness mail. If you’re feeling extra creative you can construct your own cards or postcards to send. Letters let the recipient know you were thinking of them, and gives them a tangible reminder of your relationship.
Make Time — While it may seem like a no-brainer, many people forget to make room in their lives to spend with friends and family. Schedule time to meet with your loved ones for dinner, game nights, or perhaps just over coffee.
Give Personal Gifts — While store-bought gifts are nice, homemade gifts can be much more unique and personal, and also easier on a tight budget.
Help Out — One way to connect with friends and neighbors is to offer to help them out. You might shovel the walk of your elderly neighbor or bring soup to a sick friend.
Be Confident — Everyone has flaws, but that shouldn’t stop you from being confident. Your confidence will make you more attractive to potential friends and mates and make you social interactions more fulfilling.
Organize Group Meetings — Organize group activities like book clubs, pub meets, or potluck suppers. That way you can catch up with multiple friends at once, give friends a chance to meet each other, and perhaps make a new friend yourself.
Use Dead Time to Connect — Stuck in a traffic jam or waiting in line at the doctor’s office? Don’t just waste the time sitting there. Use it to connect with those you care about. Give friends and family a call or take the time to write letters. Just remember to hang up that cell phone when that traffic gets moving again, otherwise you could complicate your life with an accident.
Keep an Open Mind — You won’t make any friends if you’re a shallow, close-minded person. People may not always say things you agree with, but learning to at least hear them out can be a great step towards turning an argument into a productive and engaging debate.
Have Family Dinners — Meals are a great time to get together your friends and family. Eating together has been linked to better nutritional intake and children who eat family meals often get better grades and have better outlooks on their future.
Get Involved in the Community — There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to participate in a variety of community events. Becoming more active in your community can give you a greater sense of pride and also help you to meet and connect with others in your area.
HEALTH AND DIET
Exercise — Exercise can help you feel great in the short and long term. It releases powerful endorphins that uplift your mood and can be a great boost to your self-esteem. Exercise also helps keep your weight in check and helps prevent many diseases. You don’t need to join a fancy gym. Just get outside and take a walk, rent a workout video, or go dancing.
Get More Sleep — The majority of us don’t get nearly enough sleep. Lack of rest can affect many aspects of life, not to mention making you cranky. With busy schedules it can be hard to get to bed, but try to stick to a bedtime that will allow you to get enough rest to be at your best.
Care for Your Appearance — For most people, having a positive outlook is closely related to looking good. Take care of your appearance, and you don’t have to spend money. Style your hair, brush your teeth, wear a dab of perfume or cologne – this can be enough to make you feel confident about your appearance and give you a positive outlook on your whole day.
Pray — Prayers can help reduce stress and help you relax. One of the benefits of meditation is that you can practice it anywhere – on the bus, work, or at home. Meditation can help provide a sense of stability, calm and peace and can be as simple as taking the time to breathe deeply. Take the time to add meditation to your daily activities.
Quit Smoking — Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. Smoking can lead to a number of diseases, cancers, strokes as well as chronic lung problems. If you need help, see your doctor for medications or solutions to help you quit. If you’ve never been a smoker, don’t start!
Smile — Becoming happier can be as simple as just smiling more. Smiling feels great and also lets others see your happiness and encourages them to smile as well. So you not only smile when you’re happy, but smiling in itself can make you happier and feel better. Try it next time you’re feeling down.
Drink More Water — Drinking enough water everyday can prevent dehydration, clean out the body, promote healing and help you be more alert and look better. How do you know if you’re getting enough? The average amount recommended for adults is eight 8oz glasses. If you have trouble getting that much water try keeping a glass of water near places you’ll be sitting for a long time or adding a splash of lime or lemon to give your water a little flavor.
Schedule Time for Yourself — It can be hard with so many commitments to work, family, and day to day life to find time for yourself. But it’s important to set aside at least a few minutes for yourself everyday. Go somewhere where you won’t be bothered, take a walk, read a book, or do something you enjoy. You’ll be happier and better able to take care of your other commitments when you’re done.
Ride a Bike or Walk — Ride your bike or walk to work or to run errands and you’ll get fit, save gas, save money and improve air quality. Before you commit to a daily biking routine do a test run when you’re not pressed for time so you won’t be late when it counts.
Eat Less Meat — Meat can be one of the most expensive things to buy at the grocery store and eating too much of it can also have consequences to your health. On average, people who eat less meat weigh less than those individuals who eat meat more frequently. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all meat, but you should exercise moderation when adding meat to your diet. You can also help yourself by choosing leaner cuts of meat or low fat options such as fish when you do eat meat.
Plan Meals — Planning meals can help you balance your nutrition and also help you to not waste food. By planning meals then sticking to the plan, you’re not only guaranteed to achieve your goal, you eliminate the uncertainty about meals and the need for on-the-fly judgments about what, when, and how much to eat that are a prime contributor to weight gain in people living stressful, chaotic lives.
Eat Breakfast — Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It’s tempting to skip breakfast when you’re in a hurry or if you’re trying to lose weight, but people who skip breakfast often eat more calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast revs up your metabolism early in the day so you actually burn more calories. Plus, skipping breakfast can make your body feel starved, actually causing you to put on more weight. If you’re in a hurry, grab a whole wheat English muffin or a yogurt and a piece of fruit on your way out.
Read Labels — Food labels give you information to help you make healthy food choices and compare similar foods. Reading food labels can help you to control portion size, keep track of the fat and calories in each food, and make sure you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
Get Some Sun — Sunbathing, when not done to the point of crispness, can actually be beneficial to your health. The sun helps in the production of vitamin D, an important factor in fighting cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. You don’t need to spend hours in the sun, a few minutes a day will suffice to give you the benefits, and getting out in the sun can help elevate your mood as well.
Eat Slowly — Studies suggest that when you eat slowly you can actually eat less and feel satisfied. Put down your fork in between bites, take time to talk to your dining companions, and savor every bite.
Work With Your Doctor — Your doctor is there to help you live longer and healthier. One of the ways you can do this is by having regular check-ups and having preventative screenings for conditions for which you might have a high risk.
Relax — Everyone experiences stress in their day-to-day life but chronic stress can lead to health problems. It’s important to take a step back and make sure you’re taking time to relax as well. Take a walk, read a book, or take a long bath, anything that helps you slow down and relax.
Shop the Farmer’s Market — Get fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market. These will be locally grown, and many times you can get organic products much more cheaply than at the grocery store.
Find a Partner — Working out or watching your diet can be a lot more fun if you find someone to do it with. Finding a workout partner, for instance, can help motivate you not to skip your classes or help you do that last set of reps. It’s also a great way to spend time with a friend or relative and get in shape at the same time.
Exercise Moderation — Everyone needs to indulge from time to time, but just make sure it’s an indulgence and not a habit. Treats such as sweets and alcohol are fine, just as long as you can enjoy them in moderation.
Dance — Dancing can be a great way to lift your mood, socialize and get exercise all at the same time. Can’t dance? Sign up for a class with a friend or if you’re just too embarrassed, stick to dancing around the house when you’re alone. Just get moving!
Learn to Laugh — Laughing can help lower physical and emotional tension, not to mention simply make you feel happy. A good laugh can positively affect your psychological, social, and spiritual health.
Allow Yourself to Feel — Repressing or denying feelings of sadness or anger can lead to even more stress. It’s ok to have feelings, and you should let them out. Vent them to someone you trust or write in a journal, and then learn how to express negative feelings so that you don’t hurt anyone. Just getting negative feelings off of your chest can help.
Park Far Away — While trekking across the parking lot may not be the most desirable pastime, it’s still exercise. And it will save you the time and stress of circling the lot looking for that elusive close spot.
Remember that you don’t need to tackle the elephants to help make your life healthier, happier, greener, and just plain better. Try a few of these suggestions (just a few—changing everything at once won’t make your life any easier) and watch your life change!
Recommended by Octavio Urzua at email@example.com