To Your Health
September, 2011 (Vol. 05, Issue 09)
A Better Way to a Better Day
By Dr. Perry Nickelston
Day not going right? Stressed from the hectic routine of daily life? Feeling as if your life is spiraling out of control? Oftentimes we get so caught up in simply trying to make it through each day, that we don't take time to appreciate the here and now.
Living in the moment is a foreign concept in this fast-paced digital world that constantly bombards us with information. We lose sight of maximizing the joy of today and instead focus on what we have to do tomorrow. Years go by in the blink of an eye and one day, you realize just how much happiness you missed out on.
Now is the time to take back control and optimize the joy and energy of each day. The things in life we did not do are often what we regret the most. Once a day passes it is gone forever. Here are some easy ways to improve your day, your health and your life. Make every day a better day.
The Power of Thought
Abraham Lincoln once said, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." A very profound statement that is 100 percent true, but difficult for some people to accept. The initial reaction goes something like, "How can I be happy with so much stress in my life?" Stressed-out individuals have reaction-based emotions; they unknowingly give others power and control over how they feel. It is a vicious up-and-down emotional cycle of reacting to a specific event, often with anger.
For example, someone cuts you off on the highway and your reaction is to get angry because you take it personally. You can feel the stress and tension building up in an instant. You may even go back to that moment several times during the day and begin feeling the same negative emotions. Your mind does not know the difference between a real event and an imaginary one. The exact same physical reaction occurs. Instead of reacting to an event, try to respond instead. What's the difference?
Responding is where you choose the emotional outcome. It takes a moment of thought before your gut reaction takes over. This can be difficult to achieve in the beginning, but once you master this process you will gain incredible control over your life. Go back to the highway example. You may get angry initially, but then you can choose to let it go, realizing that this person is not worth making your day miserable. You have taken control, not them!
Plan Your Day
Take time in the morning to map out your day. Being disorganized raises your stress level, and your sense of direction and purpose is decreased. Unclutter your life and get organized to take back control. Where do you start? Start with creating a "Top 5 List." Create a list of the five most important tasks you need to complete for the day. Put the one you want to do the least at the top of the list to help prevent procrastination. It is human nature to delay things that make you feel uncomfortable. By accomplishing the difficult task first, you set the tone for positive action and motivation the rest of the day. You can always add more numbers to the list when you get better at the system.
Take time every morning to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. (This is a good time to make up your Top 5 List.) With the barrage of nonstop information overload in today's society, it's more important than ever to take quiet moments. Set your alarm 15 minutes early and wake up to silence. Do not turn on the television or open the newspaper. You may find that problems that previously plagued you suddenly become more manageable and fall into perspective.
When was the last time you sat in a room without white noise all around? Try it and see what happens. I have a feeling you will find it to be one of the most enjoyable moments of your day.
The Joy of Music
Music soothes the soul. It can trigger so many emotions and senses, transporting you to another time and place of memories gone by. Know any songs that make you smile or remember a special moment? Make a special collection of your favorite songs and play them whenever you need to escape. Close your eyes and take yourself back to a place that left a cherished impression on your heart. It will help give you a renewed perspective on your current situation.
Lift Someone Up
The act of giving your time, energy, expertise, companionship, friendship and energy to helping others will change you forever! By taking attention off of yourself and devoting it to others, you will experience more joy. Invest in taking a moment to improve the lives of others. It can be the simplest acts of kindness that make all the difference for someone.