Many unhappy people spend years in therapy with psychologists and psychiatrists, yet they achieve little to no results concerning their problems or not even small changes in their modes of behavior. Aren't there more direct activities a person can perform that will have a more significant impact on their lives, and cost much less at the same time?
Indeed, there are small changes a person can make in their daily lives to drastically improve their levels of happiness but before getting to them, please heed this WARNING: The tips below are no substitute for professional treatment of serious mental health ailments such as depression, bipolar disorder, various anxiety disorders, etc. - always be sure to seek proper care if you feel you're suffering from any of the aforementioned problems.
Below you will find twenty activities you can perform that hopefully will improve your happiness level or general sense of well-being. Each of them is (loosely) based on the Butterfly Effect, which is prominent in chaos theory. The Butterfly Effect states that small changes in the initial conditions of a system can lead to extreme variations in behavior later on (a common example given is that a butterfly flapping its wings in, say, Brazil can cause a tornado to occur later in Kansas), which proves that in some 'systems,' little things can make a drastic difference in overall behavior. The following twenty tips and quotes are based on the same principle and involve performing short, simple activities that are not too time-consuming or difficult, yet can still dramatically improve your life. Don't expect them to "heal" or "cure" you, but at least it may bring some benefits to you.
1. If you are feeling down or blue on a certain day and want to feel better, look in your bathroom mirror and plant a large smile on your face, even though you have to force it. Hold that smile for at least thirty seconds and soon you should feel a bit better about yourself.
2. To keep your personal relationships at their best, every time you find yourself being critical toward your spouse, friend, or family member, balance out the criticism by saying five positive things about them afterward.
3. If you ever lose your wallet and want to make sure it is returned to you, keep a photo of an adorable child in the wallet that is highly visible. Whoever finds your wallet will be more sympathetic toward you when they see the child and hopefully return it.
4. Compartmentalize small worries and anxieties that crop up during the day by imagining a big black box and whenever a negative thought enters your mind, place it deep inside the black box and slam it shut, and then allow the thought to vacate your mind forever.
5. Quote: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt
6. Say you are having a conversation with someone and want to convince them of something or persuade them in some way. According to psychologists, an effective way to lighten up the conversation and make yourself appear more likable is to mention a favorite pet or animal - the sillier the better, such as a turtle or hamster - which will "humanize" your personality and help persuade the person you are trying to convince.
7. Learn to embrace elements of chaos and uncertainty in your life and accept them as natural to achieving your primary goals. No one can be certain where their individual journeys will eventually take them, so learn to overcome fear of the unknown by accepting uncertainty as necessary and hopefully the results will surprise you.
8. Quote: "Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and...try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without knowing it, live into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke
9. Concerning personal growth, make sure to banish negative thinking from your brain: Instead of allowing harmful phrases to come in, substitute positive phrases frequently. For example, "I am gaining too much weight," should be transformed into "I know I'll lose weight soon;" and "I will never find a boyfriend or girlfriend!" will change to "the perfect individual is on their way into my life right now!" Having positive information in your subconscious (or unconscious) mind is extremely important, since the job of that part of your brain is to bring to fruition whatever information is inside it.
10. Is there someone you would like to impress, or do you want a particular person to be interested in you? Psychologists claim that the best way to get someone to like you is not to give them a gift or do something for them, but to get them to perform a small favor for you - it's reverse psychology in action.
11. Experts have claimed that "fear" can be translated into F.E.A.R. = 'FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL.' Excessive fear prevents you from pursuing possibilities and new opportunities in life. Do not let fear be in control of you at any time. Whenever too much fear invades your mind, visualize yourself wiping the fear from your brain. Also take time to write out your fears on paper, then tear the paper up and toss it into the trash.
12. Tip concerning beautiful women: A woman's true beauty is shown through her personality and how she chooses to live her life and how she treats people on a daily basis.
13. Life Goals tip: at the end of every day ask yourself if the daily activities you have been performing are steadily taking you in the correct direction to achieve your primary goals, or if they are slowly leading you away from them, then make changes accordingly.
14. Hygiene tip. To ensure your breath smells fresh and clean during your next date, after dinner have a small serving of green tea flavored ice cream. The green tea will fight any bacteria in the mouth and mask unpleasant odors.
15. When exercising, try to use a treadmill for better results. Treadmills are less stressful on the ankles, backs, and knees, and they instantly list valuable feedback (readouts of distance traveled, calories burned, etc), which will encourage you to complete more work and make you feel good about yourself.
16. Want to lose weight? Drink out of tall narrow glasses to reduce calories; and put a mirror in your kitchen to reinforce what you look like; then write down every single thing you eat in the course of a day.
17. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, a recent best-selling book, stated that most successful people have practiced their craft for over ten thousand hours in whatever respective field they have chosen. Start practicing toward your 10,000 hours today.
18. To get better sleep, get a comfortable bed and make sure the room is quiet and dark. Excessive light will hamper production of melatonin. Also avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime. The stimulants will last for hours and although initially alcohol will relax you, it also vacates the body quickly to make you wake after only a few hours of rest.
19. Finance tip: Make the right decisions about where to spend your money. If there is a certain store or restaurant whose overall philosophy you approve of, be sure to spend plenty of your money there to support them. But if there are business establishments whose practices you disagree with, do not spend your money there. This will make you feel good about doing a small part to improve the world.
20. Instead of being materialistic and buying possession after possession, most of which you may never actually use, instead try to purchase interesting life experiences that will stay with you forever. Attend a concert you normally wouldn't ever see, go to an unusual restaurant, and take a trip to a country you have always wanted to visit. Instead of acquiring new toys, strive to perform unique activities that will provide you with interesting experiences important enough to share with your friends and loved ones.
It may not be much, but remember that big things come from little things. You have nothing to lose, so go try and see how small changes can end up improving your life.