Here are a few things you can do that will improve your life, no matter what else is going on. It’s best to practice them on a daily basis.
— Start your day with appreciation. Instead of waking up with a moan and groan, and not looking forward to the day, simply appreciate what you have. You may not like what you have to accomplish, or you may feel tired — this is pretty normal — but complaining to yourself or to the one you’re with will actually put you in a bad mood, which is hard to get out of once you start your day off that way.
— Drink plenty of water. Most people don’t drink enough water to function well, and believe me, getting dehydrated can really mess with your sense of well-being. Note: Mugs of coffee don’t count. If your daily activities mean you won’t be near a water fountain or another source, take a water bottle with you.
— Pay it forward. Do something good for someone for no reason at all. Both of you will feel better, and when they thank you, you can suggest that the best way to express thanks is to help someone else in turn.
People who do this on a daily basis sometimes form groups to help one another, like old-time barn raisings. Having helpful and supportive friends improves everyone’s life.
— Find one thing that you can look forward to in your day, even if you have other things on your mind. Once it occurs, come up with something else you can look forward to. It could be going for a pleasant walk or just going outside for a breath of fresh air. It could be dinner with your sweetheart.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal at all. What’s important is that you are going to enjoy the experience and make a nice memory.
— Avoid conflict as much as possible. If someone is giving you a hard time, you can excuse yourself from the room or end the phone call. If you become upset, take a walk for five minutes to let yourself cool off.
Usually, you will discover that whatever happened has triggered a past memory. That’s normal for us human beings, and we have the ability to see it and respond appropriately rather than react with more heat. Upsetness just brings on more of itself and needs to be avoided.
— Savor whatever it is you most enjoy. I savor a morning cup (or two) of my favorite coffee drink: I mix a little decaf with some grain beverage and creamy oat milk. It may not be your cup of tea, but it really makes my morning nicer and warmer and allows me to make doing all of the above that much easier.
You are in more control of your day — and your moods — than you may realize. Finding ways to make the moments better will change your entire day. Don’t let one bad thing ruin it all.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Mondays in the News-Press.