A little bit of self-improvement never hurt anyone. These seven tips will have you living kindly, sleeping soundly, and maybe even making the world a slightly better place every day.
7 Tips for Self-Improvement and Living Kindly
Meditation can benefit your body and mind in a multitude of ways. Biologically speaking, meditation can boost immune function and help manage pain, according to Psychology Today. It can also better your ability to focus, improve memory, enhance creativity, and one study showed it may even increase grey matter.
Your well-being could benefit from the increase in positive emotion and the decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress. Meditating can also help you feel less lonely and act more compassionately, said Psychology Today.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are many helpful apps in circulation – such as Calm, which you can purchase online – designed to aid your sleep and guide your meditation from start to finish.
2. Take Up Yoga
Like meditation, practicing yoga can enhance various aspects of your life. According to the NHS, yoga can be helpful for those with arthritis or mobility problems, aches and pains, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It can also help alleviate stress and symptoms of depression.
Even if you’re in good health, taking up yoga can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. So grab a yoga mat and get going. If you’re seeking guidance, you could join a yoga class or try a 30-day yoga challenge.
3. Make a Gratitude List
Making a gratitude list or keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to make a habit out of being thankful. In return, your outlook on life will evolve to be more positive, appreciative, and present in the moment. Forbes writes that practicing gratitude can reduce depression, benefit relationships, decrease aggression, and boost self esteem. It can even improve physical health and help you sleep better, Forbes says.
So how do you get started? Grab some paper (or a journal, if you want to make a habit out of it), set aside some time to write, and search for opportunities to be grateful. Think big, small, and anywhere in between, like the cheerful smile your barista gave you with your coffee, how the temperature was just right today, a major accomplishment, or the way your dog runs to greet you at the door. If you’re thankful for it, you can write it down.
4. Eat With Compassion
Peace begins on your plate. Eating with compassion can be a great way to connect with the world and begin to see those inhabiting the planet alongside you as not inferior, but other beings that have wants, preferences, personalities, and above all, a desire to live.
Publication The Good Men Project, that explores what it means to “be a good man,” wrote about the connection between veganism and self-improvement. “I feel overwhelmingly compassionate [after going vegan],” one article reads. “Not just for animals but everything and everyone. For friends, family, strangers, animals, trees, plants, lakes and even cockroaches. As a friend of mine recently wrote to me said ‘my sense of self in relation to “nature” has really become quite a powerful, visceral sensation.’”
Bustle shared similar thoughts, writing that going vegan can make you more compassionate toward other people. “Before I became a vegan, I thought it would mean declaring myself an “animal person” — someone who somehow cared more about animals than people,” Bustle wrote. “I feel excited to find out that it’s just the opposite. There is no finite “Love And Caring Pie” that you can run out of slices for. In fact, the more you love and care, the more you realize just how much everyone deserves a piece.”
After inspiration for plant-based, cruelty-free food? A vegan meal planner can point you in the right direction.
5. Make a Vision Board
What is a vision board? It’s a tool to help you focus on the things you care about and the goals you want to achieve. It’s any kind of board – it can be online, if you prefer (although who doesn’t love a bit of hands-on craft?) – where you can display images of what you want to do, see, have, or be. Above all, it should focus, not necessarily on material things, but on the things you want to feel. You can still include your dream house or car, but the general sense should be one that gets you excited and inspired.
6. Spend Time Away From Social Media
Social media can be a unifying place. It can help you to connect with family and friends, find events you are interested in, and speak to those you care about. But it can also have a detrimental impact, especially on mental health. Studies have found that spending too much time online can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, and eating issues, The Week reports.
Allocate some time each day to be social-media-free. You could even spend entire days, or longer, logged off. Use your newfound free time to create something positive. Try your hand at painting, playing music, writing poetry, drawing, doing a jigsaw puzzle, or singing.
7. Do Something Kind
Author Anne Herbert once wrote the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a placemat in California. Years later, she penned a book of the same name that revolves around the idea that “we are all in the circle together,” motivating readers to take “joyful steps to end violence.”
Doing something kind not only puts some positivity out into the world, it also benefits your own mood. Helping others can make you feel less stressed and more joyful, WebMD writes.
Your acts of kindness don’t have to be extravagant. Some ideas include holding the door open for someone, wheeling your neighbor’s trash bin out, choosing an environmentally friendly meal, running or walking a race for charity, smiling at your waiter and saying “thank you,” or giving someone a genuine compliment. You’ll both benefit, and the world will become a little more kind.