1. Travel often. Designate one weekend a month to get yourself out of the city, out of the country or at the least, out the front door of your apartment. Let the ever-changing scenery of your life keep you inspired, invigorated and consistently reminded that there’s so much more to the world than your everyday routine.
2. Make room for surprises. Instead of trying to control every last aspect of your life, give your life the chance to surprise you from time to time. Say yes to the date you would usually reject or the party you’re not sure if you should go to. Sometimes the things we’re most unsure of end up being the things we’re most grateful to have done – but you’ll never know unless you give it a shot.
3. Learn to receive love. Accept help from friends when they offer it. Accept compliments when they’re directed at you. Let yourself be loved in the tiny ways you don’t always allow yourself to be, and watch how much easier it becomes to accept your own love, too.
4. Practice gratitude. Every time a negative thought crosses your mind, deliberately counter-act it with a positive one. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it is a lot more positive than we tend to give it credit for. Capitalize on that on the days when your mood needs a boost.
5. Speak to one new person every day. The world is full of incredible people – in bookstores, coffee shops, on buses and on sidewalks. Take an extra two minutes out of each day to learn your barista’s name or tell the bus driver that you appreciate them. You’ll be surprised at how many incredible people are already in your vicinity.
6. Dedicate time to self-improvement. Set aside an hour or two a week to chart out personal goals, projects and affirmations. Become your own life coach and make self-improvement the priority that it deserves to be.
7. Practice forgiveness. Let past grudges fall by the wayside and allow peoples presents to overcome their pasts. You don’t have to welcome them back into your life, but you do deserve to welcome peace back into yours. And forgiveness is an integral part of doing just that.
8. Leave the past behind. Give yourself active permission to let go of the mistakes you’ve made, the paths you shouldn’t have walked down and all the ways in which your past has let you down. To move forward you have to face forward – so give yourself permission to do so.
9. Get moving. Pick a sport, a class or an exercise regime that works for your body and then practice it as often as possible. Life just looks better through the lens of endorphins – and exercising regularly is a proven method of enhancing your mood and wellbeing.
10. Train yourself to see the best in people. Loving and appreciating others is a habit, just like anything else. Instead of immediately writing people off for their shortcomings, try pinpointing their best qualities and focusing only on those. It lightens your mood and frees up that part of your brain that is usually reserved for bitterness and judgment.
11. Search for opportunities everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled for the classes you’ve always wanted to take, the career move you’ve always wanted to make and the little risks you could be taking every day to get you closer to where you want to be. The world is ripe with new opportunities and chances. It’s up to you whether or not you’re going to take them.
12. Surround yourself with positive people. As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So take a look at who those people are – do they inspire you to be a bigger, brighter, more positive version of yourself? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your friend group.
13. Make positive plans for the future. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong in the next couple of years, try taking a long look at what could go right. Plan your life as though all of your wildest dreams could and might come true – you’ll be surprised at the effect this mindset has.
14. Dress for success. Our outer appearance dictates almost nothing about what kind of people we are – but it can influence the way we feel. When we present ourselves in a way that makes us feel confident, that confidence shines through in everything we do.
15. Listen to the right kind of music. Music has a massive effect on our mood. And we can use that to our advantage. By coordinating the music you’re listening to the mood you’d like to be in, you can train your brain to engage in positive (or mellow) vibes as needed.
16. Make friends with your body. Instead of hating and punishing your body, try loving it. Try listening to it. Try feeding it, exercising it, resting it and nurturing it in a way that makes you feel at home inside of it. And then love and appreciate it for all the incredible things it is capable of.
17. Seek out mentors. We all need people to look up to. By choosing to surround yourself with those who are doing well in the fields that interest you, you are setting yourself up for success. Allow yourself to be encouraged, inspired and mentored by people much bigger than yourself.
18. Be receptive to change. Instead of agonizing over the way things used to be, start picking out what’s positive about the way things are. Change is never easy, but more often than not, it is our own mental resistance to it that makes it so damn hard.
19. Let laughter be a priority. We’re fine prioritizing work, school, the gym and other constructive activities – but we’re not as comfortable prioritizing the activities that bring us true joy. Like sharing a glass of wine and a night of ridiculous jokes with the people we love most. Consider carving out time for laughter because it turns out it really is the best medicine.
20. Start looking at health holistically. Health isn’t just about eating your veggies and going for regular runs (though it’s also about that) – true health means that you’re taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and psychologically. Failing to make time for self-care means failing to make time for your overall sense of wellbeing.
21. Commit to an ongoing education. Learning shouldn’t stop when we graduate high school or college. By actively seeking out methods of growing your knowledge base, you’re actively seeking out ways of improving your life. And education doesn’t need to be formal – chances are, everyone you know has something to teach you. It’s just a matter of allowing them to do so.
22. Master the art of active listening. You have more to learn from others than you think you do.
23. Let yourself dream without restraint. Your life may never fully match up with your wildest fantasies – but allowing yourself to engage in them nonetheless can help you realize what you really want in life, and what you ought to be working toward.
24. Choose optimism over cynicism. As much as self-proclaimed “realists” loathe to admit it, optimists have more fun. And by making slightly more positive choices in their everyday lives, they attract more positive results.
25. Prioritize people. As much as we’d all like to believe otherwise, we need other people in our lives. When we neglect our social lives, we neglect some of the best opportunities we have available for ongoing learning and growth. By making other people a priority, we make the continuous expansion of our worldview a priority, too.
26. Stop shying away from hard work. In the world of quick fixes and overnight fame, hard work is an underrated skill. The more we persevere at the things that matter to us, the more our confidence grows alongside our skill set. And that in itself is reason enough to start taking our work ethic more seriously.
27. Minimize your need for instant gratification. In a world that maximizes instant gratification, learn to occasionally forgo your impulses in favour of focusing on what you want in the long-run. The more you realize how dependent you are on digital forms of validation and gratification, the more capable you become of unplugging and focusing on what matters.
28. Spend more time in nature. There’s no two ways about it – our minds need to interact with nature in order to function optimally. Taking a half hour walk outdoors may just be the antidote you need for reducing anxiety levels, increasing your quality of sleep and boosting your mood. At worst, it’s a nice way to spend your lunch break.
29. Minimize your belongings. Minimalism is trendy – and with good reason. The less we own, the less we realize we need in order to get by. It’s an empowering concept – and one that eases the pressure on our wallets while it’s at it.
30. Give your time away. By devoting our time and energy to a cause much bigger than ourselves, we ironically realize what a huge impact we can have on the world when we aren’t just focused on our own self-interest. Sometimes the first step to improving yourself is forgetting all about yourself.
31. Allow yourself a creative outlet. Even if you’re completely lacking in artistic talent, having a creative outlet of any sort can be highly therapeutic. You don’t need to be Picasso or Hemingway right away – you can indulge in self-expression for your own sake and let the talent build with time.
32. Share some positive energy. The best way to intensify a good mood is to share it. Go out of your way to compliment a friend, buy a coffee for the person behind you in line or tell someone exactly why you love them. It’s almost impossible to make someone else’s day and not have your own made as a result.
33. Be a little more open every day. Life drags. It stagnates. It slumps. But more often than not, the reason it does all of that is because we have closed ourselves off to it. When we commit to saying ‘Yes’ a little more often with every passing day, we commit to opening our lives back up to possibility. And we may just end up falling in love with wherever those possibilities take us.