Life is full of challenging – and sometimes downright heartbreaking – moments, and oftentimes it’s the little things that really do matter. We’ve compiled a list of 21 small actions that will make your life noticeably better.
Laughing With Your SpouseRelationships take work to maintain, and complacency is often an insidious partnership killer. Whether you and your partner are going through a difficult period or not, taking a moment to laugh with them will not only brighten your day but will remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
Sunrises and SunsetsWatching the sun rise or set is instantly soothing in a way we can’t describe. We understand that sometimes our busy lives can get in the way of the rising or setting sun, but if you can find time to witness one or both at least once a week you will find your stress levels will decrease immediately.
BirdsongWe don’t mean going to the nearest pet store and hooking yourself up with an intricate aviary and filling it with all sorts of exotic birds (although nothing is stopping you if that’s your thing!), but spending a few moments in bed in the morning listening to our winged friends outside tweeting their hearts out is an instant day-brightener.
The Sound of RainFew things are more soothing than lying in your warm bed and listening to the rain tap on your windows or roof. It’s one of nature’s best lullabies! Most of us prefer sunshine over rain, but taking a moment to appreciate the sound of rain is a great way to see the best in less-than-pleasant weather.
A Warm DrinkWhether your brew of choice is tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or anything in between (hot toddy, anyone?!), a warm beverage is an instant comforter. Bonus points if you’re enjoying your drink on a chilly fall day when the leaves are turning golden. This could be at your favorite artisan coffee house or just from the comfort of your couch – either way, take ten minutes to enjoy a warm drink – you deserve it!
Cooking a Meal From ScratchThere’s something almost primally satisfying about creating a meal from scratch. It doesn’t need to be an intricate 7-course gourmet meal – it could be something as simple as your go-to comfort mac ‘n’ cheese recipe – but putting in a little effort to create your meal from scratch and avoiding pre-packed microwave fodder (or ordering in) is so rewarding – and it saves money too!
GratitudeWe’re all guilty of taking things for granted, but a good practice to get into is conscious gratitude – which can be as simple as listing five things you’re grateful for every morning (it doesn’t have to be grandiose – it can be as simple as a smile from a stranger). It’s also a great way to rewire a negative brain into a positive one.
A Good Night’s SleepA good night is the key to a good day. We should all aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. This can often mean relinquishing the habit of doom-scrolling on our phones while we’re nodding off!
A Hot BathA hot bath does wonders for our physical and mental well-being. They are great for relieving stress, loosening tight and knotted muscles, pain relief, aiding in sleep, and so much more. You can make it a real treat by popping some essential oils or magnesium salts in and lighting a few candles.
Children’s LaughterOur little rugrats can test our nerves like nothing else, but there’s also something incredibly sweet – and contagious – about a child’s laughter. When they’re not squabbling and driving you up the wall, listen out for their giggling – it’s the best!
Good PillowsDecent bedwear is something a lot of us don’t realize we’re missing out on. Fun fact: the average human spends 229,961 hours (which equates to a third of our lives) asleep, and if you’re relying on less-than-adequate pillows (or mattresses), it will affect the quality of your sleep, which in turn, will affect the quality of your life.
A Movie NightIn this economy, many of us are feeling the pinch and are finding we have less disposable income. This means having to tighten the belt on vacations, nights out, dinner in a restaurant, and even going to the movies. The solution? Bring the movies to you. Fix a tray of snacks, pour a glass of wine, dim the lights, and snuggle up and watch Netflix.
Visiting WaterOkay, hear us out – there is an otherworldly sense of peace that comes with visiting bodies of water. This could be a trip to the beach, a lake, a river, or even a pond. You may want to aim a little higher than a rain puddle, but you get the drift. You will find it brings you peace and clear-headedness.
The Smell of Cut GrassNothing screams “SUMMER IS HERE” like a waft of freshly-cut grass! It has a simple nostalgic joy to it that can make us feel lighter and a little more excited about life. You’ve heard the expression ‘stop and smell the flowers’ – stop and smell the freshly-cut grass while you’re at it!
Petting an AnimalOur four-legged amigos can truly enrich our lives and are treasured members of our families. Suppose you’re not in a position to welcome a pet into your home. In that case, there are other solutions: visit friends who have a friendly dog or cuddly cat, volunteer to house-sit, visit a petting zoo, sign up to be a dog-walker – there are always options to pet an animal.
A MassageNothing removes stress from the body like a massage. You don’t even need to pay for a professional masseuse to do the honors – your partner or a pal can give you a shoulder rub, or you can invest in a massage wand. Either way, get ready to be super zen!
Working OutMany of us don’t particularly enjoy exercise, but it has so many physical and mental health benefits that getting into a regular routine of working out at least four times a week will drastically improve your life. Don’t enjoy the gym? Take up swimming, martial arts, jogging, or even a 20-minute walk around the block.
A Road TripThere’s something oddly therapeutic about packing up the car with your favorite snacks and a killer playlist. Whether it’s a half-hour drive out of town or a three-day trip across the country – get behind the wheel and make an adventure out of it.
MusicNo matter what you’re going through – there’s a song to relate to it. Music is a lifeline for many of us and it has a way of soothing our souls. Whether it’s screaming along at a concert or just cooking dinner to the tunes playing on the radio, music is an excellent addition to our day.
JournalingJournaling has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and many folks find jotting down their thoughts, musings, irritations, dreams, etc., every morning or evening helps them clear their heads and focus their thoughts.
HugsWe all need a hug sometimes, but actually, as sociable pack animals, daily hugs can bring us physical and emotional support and can help keep us feeling more connected.
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Each generation has its quirks. Most label it as an “old person thing” when asked why grandpa or grandma does something unusual. The defense from the other side is that “it was the way things were back in our day.”