We're all pressed for time, desperate for easy solutions to make ourselves happier, more productive and better able to cope with the stresses of daily living. Despite the toll a hectic schedule can take, I'm continually surprised that I only need about 10 minutes to make sure my day will be great.
Those of you who do any of the below practices know exactly what I mean. I wish I'd known about these in my days of medical school, when I thought I had "no time" to make time for myself.
1. Be grateful for three things you take completely for granted.
Instead of being grateful for the "usual suspects" (family, comfort, health), think of those hidden treasures in your life that you don't give much attention to. Maybe you're grateful to have two eyes, or the fact that you have the money for lunch, or that you're able to experience this day without significant pain ... whatever it is in your life that you take for granted.
2. Imagine an escape.
Transporting yourself to cliffside meditation or a quiet beach for a few minutes can work wonders for your mood. This can be done on a bathroom break, at a coffee shop, or on your commute home.
3. Read for 10 minutes.
Make sure it's something completely unrelated to your job, to-do list or other errands. But steer clear of the news, which often only adds more stressors.
4. Put your phone and computer on silent for at least 10 minutes.
Detoxing from technology may seem impossible, but you'll be amazed by how much better you feel after even a short break.
5. Go for a 10-minute brisk walk or run.
Many people are daunted by the idea of exercise if it seems like it's going to be a time-consuming ordeal. If you incorporate just a bit of movement into your day, though, you'll be looking on the bright side in no time.
6. Have some "abundant thoughts."
These could be anything, and they go hand in hand with your gratitude practice: "There is so much opportunity in my career," "There is so much time," or "There are so many healthy food options."
7. Simplify a quotidian task.
For example, you could spend a few minutes planning out your outfits for the next week (or wear the same type of outfit every day) so you don't have to think about it when you wake up. This one tweak has transformed my mornings.
8. Eat some high-quality dark chocolate
You're looking for 70% or higher cocoa content — everyone needs a little indulgence!
9. Forgive yourself or someone for one thing today.
Forgiveness isn't about the person who "did you wrong;" it's about releasing your own negative feelings.
10. Walk (barefoot, if possible) in nature today.
Grounding is an essential part of being a whole human being.
Go ahead and do three of the above suggestions today (or make up your own), and let me know if they helped you have a great day!