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8 simple ways to improve your life in 8 days (and make you much happier)

8 simple ways to improve your life in 8 days (and make you much happier)

By Marcel Schwantes

Happy and successful people live by a different set of rules. If the idea of improving your own life or work strikes you in a good way, a personal metamorphosis may be required. 

While searching for the latest happiness tips and ideas to practice in my daily work routine, and investigating what happy and successful people do to stay that way, I noticed how intentional they are about choosing the right mindset to become happier. 

While a surplus of books has been written on the topic of happiness, here's a simple working template that anyone can put into action, starting today. 

1. Be OK with making mistakes.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has modeled an unconventional leadership approach that has attracted a cult-like following. At Virgin, he encourages and even celebrates failure. He says, "Over 45 years, we've always stood by our motto: 'Screw it, let's do it.' Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception."

2. Be curious.

Albert Einstein once explained his genius when he said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." As it turns out, curiosity is an immensely useful quality most of us--not just the Einsteins among us--can activate to our advantage. Several studies reveal that curious people have better relationships and connect better with others. In fact, other people are more easily attracted and feel socially closer to individuals who display curiosity.

3. Find your true purpose.

Remind yourself frequently that the purpose of your life is not to work 10 hours per day, five days per week for 30 years, then retire to a golf course in Florida. Your true purpose should be to discover your calling and bask in the joy of the journey along the way, one step at a time. In the end, your legacy should be left to answering two questions:

What impact did I make on the lives of others?

Whom did I serve and make better?

4. Slow down.

We all have a tendency to work too much and feel that if we don't do something productive every day, we've somehow failed. Slow down and eliminate the need to strive and be perfect. You'll begin to appreciate and focus on other, neglected priorities that bring you joy.

5. Be more spontaneous.

Add spontaneity to your life by doing what you feel is necessary for healthy living. If you're at work, take regular breaks: Stretch, do breathing exercises, go for a walk outside (or schedule a walking meeting in the woods), take a 15-minute nap, play a game, or just enjoy yourself. And next week, think about picking up a new hobby. Surprise yourself!

6. Laugh more.

Humor helps you think more broadly and creatively, according to psychologists. In one study, they had students solve puzzles after watching a clip of Robin Williams doing standup comedy. Twenty percent more puzzles were solved by sudden insight from students who had watched comedy compared with students who had watched scary or boring videos beforehand. There are other benefits: Laughter releases endorphins into the body--a chemical 10 times more powerful than morphine--with the same exhilarating effect as an intense workout at the gym. 

7. Express joy in seeing another person.

The phrase "I'm happy to see you!" often used as a greeting phrase, when done with the proper and enthusiastic voice tone and body language it's packed with a deeper meaning that positively elevates the other person (and makes you look good and feel happier). It communicates, "You matter, and I value your presence."

8. Be who you truly are.

How would you feel if, every day, you said what you meant, stayed true to yourself, and behaved in accordance with this? Imagine the happiness and self-respect you'd feel. Being true to yourself is far less stressful than being someone you are not. By being who you really are, you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make, but others trust you as well. They'll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs. This creates true happiness in your life.

Article originally posted on Inc. by Marcel Schwantes

Marcel Schwantes

Marcel Schwantes is a speaker, executive coach, podcaster, and syndicated columnist drawing over a million readers per month worldwide to his thought-leadership. His powerful speeches teach the conditions necessary for creating human-centered workplaces that result in high-performing cultures. He is the host of the popular Love in Action podcast. Visit www.marcelschwantes.com

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