1. Music is sublime and causes great emotions that lift us higher.
Turn on any song and feel what it makes you feel. Whether it’s sad, happy or somewhere in the middle, you often discover something about yourself or your life in the midst of it. The amazing thing about music is that our emotions can be so deeply in tune to the song we are listening to and this means that a song can change the way we feel in the moment. During times of depression, I’ve always turned to music because I know there has always been an artist who has written about those types of feelings. I know that there is someone out there who has felt what I’ve felt, and this makes feeling pain a little more bearable.
2. Poetry can make us feel whole again.
Read poetry whenever you have time. It can make us pause, even if it’s just for a moment of reflection. Poetry teaches us what it means to reflect on some of the smallest things in life, like a wave crashing, and sometimes the biggest, like a serious relationship. With all of the poetry written in the world, I guarantee that someone has written about something you’ve experienced. And that someone might teach you more about yourself.
3. Be kind to everyone, even if they don’t always deserve it.
Be kind. It feels better and other people can feel your kindness, too. Some people might argue that you don’t have to be kind to people who haven’t been kind to you. I’d argue the opposite. It feels better to put good into the world than to reciprocate any kind of negativity.
4. Hold doors for people, it means more than you think it does.
It is simple, but means so much. Have you ever been slammed in the face by a door because the person in front of you didn’t hold it in time? Yeah-doesn’t feel so good. Taking that extra second out of your day to make someone else’s day a little easier means you’re putting more good into the world. I believe everyone needs this type of good, especially in today’s world.
5. Take real care of yourself.
Do what feels good to you. You don’t have to suddenly become a vegan or go on a full weekend spa trip to feel good. Tune into the small things you like doing, whether it’s taking a bath or meditating. Find ways to heal your stress. Spend time with the people who love you.
6. Read as much as you can, whenever you can.
Reading is one of the biggest ways we can learn about the world. It’s important to know who has come before us and our own history as a human race. Reading makes us feel less alone.
7. Be the kind of friend you would want to have.
Think about how you wish your best friend acted, and act that way towards your own. I think it’s so easy to lose sight of what it means to be a real friend. It means to listen, to understand, to be there when our friends need us. We can’t expect our friends to do those things for us if we aren’t there for them in the first place. It’s a two-way street.
8. Love more.
Even if it hurts, even if it’s scary, and even if it won’t last forever. Lost love is still a lesson. The time it took to create the love, to sustain it, and even lose it was valuable time. In the process of loving another, we learn how to communicate, how to listen, how to understand and how to confront our own insecurities. This is deeply important. We can learn from these lessons and apply them to the next relationship, and perhaps, love even better than we ever have before.
9. Write letters.
It’s so fun! There is nothing like making someone’s day with a letter, and there is nothing like receiving one. Whenever I find a letter written by a good friend at my doorstep, I instantly feel giddy inside. It is a lost form of communication that I wish were used more often.
Tap into yourself and try and understand yourself a little more. It feels so easy to be rushed nowadays, especially as a young working woman living in New York City. It can feel difficult to catch my breath on occasion. However, at the end of each day, I try to journal and think about what I am really doing with my life. This is vital for me because I can understand who I am becoming as a person, and I can understand why I am deciding to make certain decisions.
11. Spend time outdoors.
Remember that nature is beautiful and gives us space to think. We can get into nature whenever we have time away from other obligations. Even if you live in a city, I guarantee there is a park somewhere near you. Being around natural landscapes literally reduces our anxiety. It reminds us that the world is not just cities and work and corporate life. The world is filled with open space that we were meant to explore.
12. Write. Write all the time.
It can help us channel our feelings, observe the world, and sometimes solve our problems once we write them out. I have kept a journal since the beginning of college. Not only is it interesting to see how I thought at a certain time, it is also amazing to have my memories recorded for when I’m older and want to reflect.
13. Run, bike, walk, and challenge yourself physically.
Moving makes us feel good! I try to remember that physical activity is not just for my body, it’s also for my soul. The body is such an amazing vehicle and it feels good to put it to use.
14. Don’t be afraid to cry if you have to.
I hate the fact that so many people think crying to be a sign of weakness. If you’re feeling your feelings, you’re doing more than most of us do. When we cry, we actually release tears that contain stress hormones. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
15. Listen to people when they speak.
Everyone has something to say and oftentimes we do learn from other’s ideas, especially because we all come from different backgrounds, families and beliefs.
16. Acknowledge other people’s emotions. They are extremely important.
Hear them out. Don’t stomp over people’s emotions. This is a great skill to have and will serve you well throughout the course of your life.
17. Devote yourself to what you love to do.
If you’re lucky enough to do what you love or go after what you love, go all in and don’t look back. I want to be a writer. I have been in the midst of working an office job and writing on the side. Luckily, I have time to do both. One day I hope to dedicate my whole life to what I love. I have to save enough before I do this. However, I am a firm believer in following one’s dreams. I am trying to read whenever I can, write whenever I can, and think of ideas of what to write whenever I can. I am finding that time. I urge you to find the time you owe to yourself to do what makes you happy.
18. Be true to yourself.
Be honest with your feelings and thoughts. Only you can really know what is best for you.
19. Laugh as much as you can.
Try it right now! I believe laughing hard at a really amazing joke is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I am a fan of sarcasm and on occasion I can find someone who really knows how to use it. I never have a better time than when I’m with someone who understands my humor.
20. Be present.
The moment you’re in right now will never happen again. Try to learn from it but also enjoy it.
21. Look at the stars.
Remember how beautiful the universe really is. Every time I see the stars, I am in awe at how small I really am. I remember that my time here is limited and there is so much beauty around me.
22. Let the people you love know you love them as much as you can.
Life is short. Love is long if you let it be. Always let the people you love know that you love them and that they matter.
23. Never give up.
It might get hard sometimes, but this is all worth it. I promise.