10 Surefire Ways to Make your Day Better in 5 minutes
It's really easy to get caught up in the minutia of daily life. Holding on to anxieties, grudges, and emotions like fear, anger, and frustration are only going to give you wrinkles and indigestion (and that’s no good). Finding something to improve your outlook when you're feeling low, calm your mind when you're feeling anxious, or simply returning to the “here and now” when your mind is everywhere else can vastly reduce the chances of you pulling your hair out.
Starting today, make a point to spend just five minutes every day doing something that will improve your life (and maybe even someone else’s). Here are ten 5-minute activities to get you started!
- Tidy up! A cluttered house (or desk) is, indeed, a cluttered mind. Spend five minutes tidying up the kitchen, your workspace, your closet, or whatever else has been let go for too long. Nothing feels as good as striking a line through an item on your to-do list!
- Listen to music! Studies show that listening to your favorite tunes lowers your blood pressure and reduces the stress hormone cortisol on the spot. It's also a proven mood buster. So take five, put in your ear buds, and crank up your favorite song.
- Breathe deeply! Deep breathing works almost immediately to clear your mind, reduce stress, and increase your energy level. Try this 4-7-8 breathing technique, masterminded by Dr. Andrew Weil: Exhale completely through your mouth. Inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of 7. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. (The simple act of concentrating on remembering that sequence is sure to take your mind off your worries.)
- Do one (or two) Sun Salutations! This short but oh, so lovely series of yoga stretches will improve circulation, ease your stress, and clear your mind. Be peaceful and “Ohm” on.
- Meditate! You don't have to be a yogi to meditate. You don't have to follow any rules or sit in a special place in a special position. Just sit where you are and get comfortable. Close your eyes, or leave them open. Breathe deeply, and focus on your breath. When thoughts crowd in, simply say hello and tap them with an invisible finger to make them float away like a cloud.
- Take a short, brisk walk! Get your body moving to get your blood pumping, clear your mind, and enjoy the beautiful weather. Exercise makes endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people end up not physically harming other people!
- Perform a random act of kindness! Doing something nice for someone increases your level of empathy and helps you appreciate the good things in your life. Grab a coffee for your sleepy co-worker or let a fellow driver pull out in front of you when they’ve been waiting to make a turn. If you’re at the drive-through, offer to pay for the person behind you. Believe it or not many will keep the kindness going after you leave.
- Write down the things you're grateful for! At first, you may struggle with this, especially if you're having a bad day. But as you start writing, the items will just keep coming. What are you grateful for? Your sweet puppy that greets you at the door every day and never judges? Having a car so you don't have to ride the bus or walk to work in the rain? Wool socks that keep your toes warm in the winter? Set the timer for five minutes and start writing.
- Sit in the sunshine! Vitamin D, warmth, and bright light are three lovely features of sunshine that can put you in a better mood, especially if you've been inside all day staring at a screen.
- Make out with your sweetie! Kissing gives you a natural high by flooding your blood with the brain chemical dopamine. There’s nothing better than having that goofy, puppy dog grin on your face after you’ve been thoroughly kissed!