Life always has a way of getting busy and inundated with distractions of one type or another.
One moment, things seem to be going pretty well, and then the next time you look up, things seem to be heading in the wrong direction.
This realization often hits people sometime shortly after the New Year has begun. We all typically enter the New Year with feelings of optimism, and great plans for how we’re going to turn things around and bring our dreams to fruition in one way or another.
Of course, though, as time moves on, and the usual stumbling blocks reappear, things just stray off course – sometimes pretty wildly.
In many cases, it seems like the best way of keeping things positive and on track, is to focus on relatively small and manageable tips on principles that you can keep coming back to, in order to make things incrementally more upbeat.
So without further ado, here are some tips you can try to make your life a little bit more upbeat.
If you can’t figure out what you should be doing, at least take steps to stop doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing
It’s often really difficult, if not impossible, to actually figure out what you should be doing in any given situation, if you are not happy with the way things are turning out if there’s a particular issue that you want to address, or even if you just want to take some kind of practical steps to make things “better” in a broad sense.
A big part of the problem here is that there is always a virtually limitless number of potentially positive things that you could do, but actually figuring out which ones will have the right effect takes time and work – as does coming up with the ideas in the first place.
Generally speaking, though, it’s much easier to figure out what you shouldn’t be doing.
Everyone will tend to be pretty good at identifying things that they do, but know they shouldn’t do. When you perform these kinds of actions, your conscience will usually have something to say about it – even if it’s just in the form of a vague feeling of discomfort and unease that you can’t quite manage to shake off.
Try to make a list of things that you do (especially things that have a dramatic impact, or that you do regularly) that you know you shouldn’t be doing. Then, before trying to figure out the perfect series of “positive” actions to take, just begin taking steps to stop doing those things that you already know to be directly harmful or negative.
If you smoke, for example, switching to vaporizers could be a great move. Or, if you frequently stay up late at night and then end up getting less sleep than you need before heading to work the next day, come up with plans and systems to prevent yourself from doing that.
The beauty of this approach is that, often, all sorts of positive effects can occur as a result of removing negative behaviors and forces from your life. And, as things become better in this way, you will likely able to more effectively come up with positive ideas of what you “should” be doing.
Make sure you’re getting the right nutrients
There are so many different diets out there aimed at weight loss, or longevity, or athletic performance, that it can be easy to lose track of some of the basic principles of proper nutritional balance.
Of course, regardless of what you are eating, nutrient imbalances and deficiencies are still common – partly due to the fact that many foodstuffs no longer have the same level of certain nutrients as they did in the past (for more on this, look into mineral depletion of agricultural soil).
Be sure, though, that if you are experiencing any nutrient deficiencies, these could be having an absolutely devastating effect on your life, without you even realizing it.
Deficiencies in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and magnesium, for example, are all implicated in chronic fatigue, depression, and other conditions that can essentially ruin your life.
Unfortunately, though, many people live with these nutrient deficiencies for years, or even decades, without realizing it.
If in doubt, at least begin taking a good multivitamin supplement, try to eat a balanced diet, and consider getting your vitamin and mineral levels tested (assuming you are using reliable testing procedures.)
Don’t allow yourself to become too immersed in the noise and commentary that circulates online and through the media
It’s easy to become extremely bitter and negative if you spend too much time immersing yourself in the noise and commentary that circulates online, and through social media in particular.
Many people have written about the fact that the Internet creates some kind of psychological disconnect which just makes people more inclined to hurl abuse at each other, to focus on shallow (and generally negative) clickbait, and more.
In addition to all that stuff, there’s the simple fact that being constantly bombarded with a stream of information – even if that is in the form of interesting facts and snippets – makes it more or less impossible to experience even a few moments at a time of mental calm and peace.
Reducing the amount of time you spend online, limiting the sites you frequent, and avoiding social media, can all have very powerful effects when it comes to making your life more upbeat.
Try things out, for yourself, instead of just living vicariously
A book was written back in the 1930s, entitled “Spectatoritis,” was already pointing out and lamenting the fact that more and more people in society were living their lives vicariously, through films, professional athletics, and other forms of public spectacle, as opposed to actually doing things, themselves.
It probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that if that was a problem back in the 1930s, it’s exponentially more of a problem today.
There are a bunch of problems with living life in a heavily vicarious way. For one thing, you lose a lot of the motivation to actually engage in certain pastimes yourself, because you are essentially “tricking” your brain into thinking that you are really participating in them, simply because you watch them.
But beyond that, living a vicarious life where you are always watching, but rarely doing, inevitably diminishes your own sense of confidence and your own zest for life. It turns life into nothing more than a screen that you peer at the world through.
Whether it’s a particular hobby, a sport, or a travel expedition, try things out for yourself, instead of just living vicariously.
Set yourself goals that you find genuinely meaningful, even if they are daunting
If you don’t have any large goals that you are working towards in your life, you are likely missing out on plenty of feel-good and confidence-boosting opportunities.
Of course, setting yourself big goals and earnestly working to go after them can lead to stress and anxiety as well. Specifically, you’re likely to feel worried if you don’t have the sense that you’re actually making good progress towards achieving your goals.
If you refuse to set goals because you’re worried about failing, you are just robbing yourself of the possible adventure that pursuing those goals would entail.
Set yourself goals that you find genuinely meaningful, even if they are daunting. Life is generally a lot better when you have some powerfully motivating reasons to get out of bed in the morning.
Keep a tidy house, and keep clutter at bay in general
There are a lot of negative psychological consequences that come with allowing your home to be chronically messy.
At the most basic level, a messy home environment sends subconscious signals to you that you aren’t in control of your environment, and have all sorts of unhandled business around you to attend to. This can then contribute to chronic stress, feelings of helplessness, and anxiety.
When you give your house a proper clean and tidy up, though, you can really transform not only the entire atmosphere of the place you’re living in, but also your own sense of what you’re capable of, and what life could be.
Treat your habits and personal presentation as ways of “voting” for who you want to be
The writer James Clear, who focuses on investigating and giving advice about habit management, has a very useful perspective on how to view habits:
According to Clear, you should treat each action as a way of “voting” for who you really want to be.
If you want to be an author, for example, each day when you sit down and write a page of your manuscript, you are “voting” for a sense of self that includes you being an author. In other words, you’re persuading yourself, subconsciously, that you are an author, or in any case, are becoming one.
The same principle applies out when it comes to your personal presentation. The way you dress has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself, and how you perceive yourself.
Select and pursue the kinds of habits, and the style of personal presentation, that go towards turning you into the kind of person you want to be.