Sometimes the days are not dynamic. We start to feel a bit bored and complacent. While this isn’t a horrible thing, it can lead to us to overthinking. This may then lead into questioning your job, or your relationship, or anything really. There is a cognitive tunnel we can get into if we don’t try to proactively manage our mental state.
All the books in the self-help library out there have one thing in common. They provide advice and guidance on how to improve you. One tool that seems to be a theme in many of these books is a daily practice of some sort; something that can get you out of a funk or reduce the chances of you going into a funk. Many are great, some are strange, but all in all they have the same goal in mind, to make you a better you.
Practice leads into habitual behaviours. Sometimes this may take a while, typically 21-40 days, but we need to start somewhere. Here are seven daily practices that will be sure to boost your day. You only need to choose one at a time, but if you do one thing daily you will see improvements.
- Morning Pages: This technique was developed by Julia Cameron in the book The Artist’s Way. Since its publication in 1992, many business professionals and bloggers swear by this daily practice. Essentially, every morning when you wake up you write in a journal. You don’t need to think about it just start writing whatever comes across your mind. You only need to write for three pages, and by the end of those pages you have not only purged your thoughts, you more than likely came up with solutions for problems at work or in your life.
- 40 Days of Affirmation. This one is coined by Iyanla Vanzant. She says to write 40 affirmations a day, for 40 days. For those unfamiliar with affirmation they typically start with “I am…” and you finish the sentence. Now these affirmations need to be positive. This will train your subconscious brain to default to more positive self-talk versus negative stuff. At first this practice is tough because we must think about it. But in due time you will be saying some really nice things and in turn feeling good about yourself.
- Complain-free Day. You think you are a positive thinker until you implement this one. Both James Altucher “Choose Yourself: Be happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream” and Mel Robins “The 5 Second Rule” have discussed this in their books. This practice helps you be mindful of the unnecessary habit of complaining and the mental expense it puts upon us. The less I pay for things, the better, so if spending less time complaining (which is only a sunk cost) versus more time doing (a net income) then it is worth my time. Try it and you will see the rewards.
- Gratitude. Spending a day or a week or a month focusing on gratitude will never hurt you. What you can do is use the notes in your phone or carry a small note pad. Every time you think about something that makes you happy or someone does something nice for you, capture it in the journal with the opener of “I am grateful for…”. Before you know it, you will have an abundant list of things you are thankful to have in your life.
- Read a chapter a day of inspirational book. There are several people in this world, both alive and no longer with us, who have done miraculous things. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, all these people and many others have rose in the face of unbelievable challenges. One chapter of their story can really inspire you to be better. The goal here is not to make you head down the path they are on, but to just take one step forward on your own, better path.
- Watch one TedTalk every morning. The perks of TedTalks are that not only have they given a platform to amazing people who would otherwise never know existed, but that it captures the presentations they produce in bite-sized ways. From Bryan Stevenson’s epic talk about how We Need to Talk about an Injustice to Ivan Josephs talk, The Skill of Self-Confidence, to Joy Baldridge’s talk on Difficult Conversations Made Easy, these and many other TedTalks will uplift you. Put this daily practice in your calendar to jumpstart your day.
- Drink more water. In her book “Girl Stop Apologizing” Rachel Hollis, discusses how she drinks half her body weight, in ounces, of water everyday. Wow! Even though this is shocking, there has been more than enough proof on water consumption and the only downfall is the amount you must pee. Here is the deal though, if you like wine I am sure it would not take much convincing to drink that much in wine in one sitting. A daily practice of consuming water can help hydrate you for that Saturday night wine practice you have. Beyond this solid advice, the book is a must-read.
Any little bit helps to boost your day or your month. Being mindful and practicing good habits will fill your head with wonderful thoughts and help you manage the challenging ones.