Houston, we have a problem…
The news headlines are often daunting. Even if you try, it’s impossible to fully escape it. The evening news, phone alerts, and social media continue to feed us turbulent daily news.
It may feel like our world is chaotic and the only thing you can do is to be an innocent bystander.
But that’s not true – there are things you can do to make life a little better for yourself and others.
Pause, take a deep breath, and rethink.
Yes, the news is nerve-racking. But I refuse to believe and live like our future is all doom and gloom. In fact, I choose to believe that we are going to take our current state of chaos and use it as a bouncing off place to help us thrive.
Instead of succumbing to the negativity and chaos around us, reclaim your own power and be the change you want to see in the world.
When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.
PIN IT AND SPREAD THE JOY!
Do you share my wish for a more peaceful and kind world? If I had an idea for a big bang of a change, I’d certainly share it.
What I do have are ideas for making life a little better for ourselves and others. Slow and steady wins the race.
Good things happen for you when you make good things happen for others. Each of us has the power to change this world into a more kind place.
7 Daily Habits to Make Life a Little Better for Yourself & Others
If we all aim to make life a little better for ourselves and others, it WILL have a positive effect on humankind.
The following list is of ideas for habits that can’t hurt, and just might make your life a little happier.
The good feeling each of these sparks will be the reward that will help make the habits stick.
1 – Be friendly!
It doesn’t take much of a change to find opportunities to be friendly.
Wave! Sit on your front porch rather than in back. You’ll be more likely to have the opportunity to smile, wave, and maybe have a friendly chat with passers by.
As you drive by your neighbor, give them a wave. (Here in northern Wisconsin, we tend to take that to an extreme!)
Smile! As you’re walking wherever it is you’re going, lose the “I’m busy” face and acknowledge people with a smile. Top it off with a nod or even a quick hello.
It seems too simple to make much of a difference, but there is science backed research that shows smiling not only helps the recipient, the act of smiling actually makes you feel happier. Read more about why smiling is good for you.
Body Language! What kind of vibes are you giving off? Do you look approachable?
You’ll appear more friendly and interested in people if you look people in their eyes. Crossed arms, aloof or bored looks, or paying more attention to your phone rather than people will make you appear unfriendly.
Good posture, a smile, and nods of agreement feel A LOT better than slouching with a frown. Try both right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
This habit is a win-win.
- You’ll feel more confident with your shoulders back and a smile on your face.
- The person you’re talking with will feel good that you’re interested in them.
- They’ll feel more comfortable and you’ll feel good about yourself.
Be the Initiator! Be the one to say hello and introduce yourself. Be the one to get the gang together.
Compliment! Make any positive, genuine comments, and it will make people feel good about themselves.
- If you like someone’s hair style, tell them.
- If you like their sweater, tell them.
- If they did a good job, tell them.
Whether it’s a wave, smile, or hello, people like to be acknowledged. It makes them feel good and your friendliness will not go unnoticed.
2 – Let go of the small things.
You have a choice… are you going to let a small thing ruin the rest of your day? Or are you going to let it go and not waste time on drama?
- Pick your battles. Is the situation really worth getting all upset over, making someone angry, or even possibly damaging a relationship?
- Refocus. What seems like a big deal in the moment may quickly be diffused by simply refocusing your thoughts.
- Focus on the present. Stop thinking about the past. You can’t change the past, and it will hold you back from mending and strengthening relationship.
- Save your energy. Holding grudges sucks up a lot of your energy, so move on to bigger and better things.
For more tips, read my post 3 Tips for How to Let Go of the Little Things.
3 – Pay attention to your focus.
Choose your thoughts wisely. In any situation, you have the choice of making the best or worst of it. You have the option of making it hard or easy.
Have you ever had somewhere you needed to go and you didn’t want to go? Maybe to work or a social event? You might think it’s going to be uncomfortable, boring, or things will just not go well. You may even contemplate calling in sick or whatever excuse will work to avoid the whole situation.
Think about your thoughts in that situation. Those thoughts might be as far from the truth as possible. You might have a great time at that social event and meet some new, interesting people. Work may be very productive and you’ll feel good about your accomplishment.
My point here is…. realize your thoughts are not necessarily reality, and you can change your thoughts.
- Focus on the positive side of life, it feels so much better than being a Debbie Downer.
- When you catch yourself thinking negatively (and we all do!), change your thought to something more in line with appreciation. Read more about controlling negative thoughts.
- Talk less about things that are going wrong, and talk more about what is going good. Get so focused and excited about what you DO want, that you forget about what you don’t want.
As I’m writing this, I realize I’ve been slacking on this one and indeed need to change it before it becomes old habit.
4 – Act kind, and you’ll be kind.
When you start something kind, know that it will be infectious and people will join in.
Hopefully when someone sees you do an act of kindness, they’ll decide that it seems like a good idea and copy your act. Kindness feeds on itself in a positive way.
The feeling in response to doing an act of kindness is really uplifting, and hopefully it will make you want to repeat it often.
Even if you contribute to some general need and can’t personally see the recipient(s) of your kindness, you’ll still feel uplifted.
In a nutshell, if there is anything that you can do to be kind to others, always do it. You might make them smile and make their day.
There are many low-cost or no-cost opportunities of showing kindness. Check out my list of 25 fun, simple ideas to be kind. Be kinder than necessary!
My motto is…
Do at least one act of kindness today and every day to make life a little better for yourself and others. Trust that the Universe will reciprocate exactly when you need it most. ~Ellen Burgan
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5 – Manners matter.
- Say please and thank you.
- Hold the door – even when they’re really far behind you. I especially love doing this at the convenience store when people are in their morning stupor, looking grumpy, and in a hurry. Almost always I can feel how my tiny little act of kindness infects them just a bit, and they say “thank you” in a surprised yet appreciative tone of voice.
- Say excuse me. Rudeness is also infectious – don’t be one of those people who spread that crap. Take the high road, it’ll make you a better person.
6 – Control your reaction.
Stop and rethink before reacting negatively. Will your reaction do any good?
It’s always nice to say the right thing at the right time, but also leave the wrong thing unsaid at the tempting moment.
7 – Give someone your full attention.
Little things you can do that seem so simple can have a huge impact on someone’s whole day.
For example, ask someone how they’re day is going, and sincerely listen to their answer. It’s just one of many no-cost ways to make a connection with someone and show kindness.
Truly listen and be interested in the person. Don’t listen only long enough so you can tell your story. “Oh, you did that? Well, I did this.” Nope, nope… don’t do that.
Ask people questions about themselves and give their answers your full attention. People like to feel like someone is interested in them. You’ll make them feel good and you’ll likely learn from them.
Let people know you appreciate them and actually tell them why you appreciate them. Lifting people up in this positive manner will give them a little confidence boost.
As little as it seems, you will make a difference in someone’s life, and that can have a domino effect.
Even a couple minutes of positive interaction can improve the mood of the recipient and giver.
Plus, when you make people feel good about themselves, you will in return feel good about yourself.
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Be the Spark
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. ~ Albert Einstein
Though the news headlines make us wonder about the future of humankind, we’ve been through tough times before and we grew and developed in amazing ways.
Even when the world seems like a chaotic mess, love and peace will make a difference. Make positive differences in other people’s lives.
I believe every single person can make a difference – and it doesn’t take much effort.
Whether you’re rich or poor, happy or sad, blue or white collar, YOU can make a difference in this world one person at a time.
Trust that your actions are infectious; positive and negative. Choose to uplift others, and in return you will be uplifted.
We need to coexist together in this world, and a little kindness and positivity will go a long way in promoting harmony. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose.
Drop me a comment with your thoughts about making life a little better even when the daily news can be overwhelming. Or, let me know about acts of kindness that people have done for you. Would love to know what you think about the topic. Thank you.
MORE IDEAS FOR HOW TO MAKE LIFE BETTER:
- Follow If It Brings You Joy on Pinterest.
- Read 5 Simple Daily Tips for Positive Thinking
- Take Care of yourself with these Simple & Free Self-Care Activities
PIN IT: SHARING IS CARING!