It’s far harder to change a habit than to stick with it, so just make 1 change at a time. Rush to make too many changes at once and you cause yourself more stress and anxiety. So change just one thing first.
Be grateful. It is said that the act of saying ‘thank you’ encourages positive feelings, well-being and boosts your mood. Make this fit in with your life. You can be grateful once a day, once a week or once a fortnight, then do it regularly and it becomes a habit. And don't forget the old-fashioned thank you card or its modern guises (e-card or text) when thanking someone will brighten their day.
Set aside time for yourself. Stress causes many disorders, among them ageing. Just giving some time to yourself, even if only 15 minutes a week helps towards easing stress. If time is an issue, schedule your ‘me’ time and don't beat yourself up about it. If you can’t think of what to do in that time, be still.
Catch up with a friend. We are in the habit of setting ourselves milestones. When we reach x target, we set ourselves a new one, and another, and so on and we end up leaving behind friendly communication. How much time do we give to friends, old and new? Keeping in touch with a friend can boost your happiness, so do it, even if it doesn’t initially fit in with your schedule. It is also said that telling your woes to a friend is as good for easing stress as eating chocolate!
Learn something new. Learning doesn’t stop when we leave school. We can still absorb so much more than we think! I know an 80-year old man who took up tap dancing for the first time in his life. His wife thought he was mad, but it made him happy. Knitting keeps you calm and the more you knit, the calmer you become. They say singing is good for your heart and soul, for bonding with others and for easing stress (there’s that word again!). Maybe you’re drawn to a craft or an academic topic. Don’t worry about how good you’ll be. If you don’t try you won’t know.
If you are afraid to do something new / different / difficult, that fear only lasts a short time. However, the regret of NOT doing it can last a lifetime. Seize the moment.
Donate to charity. This may be controversial as some people go by the saying ‘charity begins at home’. What interests you? What changes can your donations make in the world, no matter how small? I choose to give to small farm projects and animal sanctuaries where the money makes a difference to the animals' lives. However, if you choose to not give out of your purse, there are other exchanges you can give which still show your generosity if not in purse, in spirit.
You can donate yourself. You can volunteer! This altruistic behaviour benefits not just the community you selflessly help, but also yourself. Volunteering reduces your stress, lifts your mood and makes you happier.
Aim high, be humble. In this world of celebrity and being famous for … well, just being famous, we have a yearning to be admired and approved. Do the best you can, be the best you can. Do it because you have a passion, not just to collect praise and recognition.
If you have to criticise someone, for every criticism, give 3 compliments. I put this one in because in this age of TV reality shows and talent shows like X-factor, people are criticised heavily even to the point of tears. If we do that in everyday life we hurt people and sometimes ourselves. So if you need to criticise, give some positives and make them big.
11. Which leads me onto the final thought. 11 is more than 1 so I'm giving you 1 extra. Before you speak to someone THINK. T is it true? H is it helpful? Or harmful? I is it inspiring? Or inciteful? N is it necessary? K is it kind?