How to Feel Better (5 Realistic and Powerful Practices You Can Start Today)
You're not alone. It's really hard to feel better these days.
You are submerged--in information, in new fads and diets, in responsibilities. In life. Because life is always on. There's no escape.
Before you know it, your anxiety is through the roof, and you start to wonder if this age of opportunity and excess is really worth the trouble.
Well, it is--but only if you're feeling good about yourself.
If you're not feeling good about yourself, it doesn't matter which age you live in; your outlook is shaped by how you feel.
So what do you do when you're not feeling your best?
There are already plenty of lists online with gobs of tips and tricks, all claiming that they can teach you how to feel better.
What makes this list any different?
Well, this one's realistic.
Because it starts from a place of humility--with the understanding that you know your life best.
So, even though these ideas are realistic and available for you to try, they only work if you work them.
You have to analyze all of them through your personal lens--and figure out which ones can fill the gaps of where your happy feelings should be.
Without further ado, the list of 5 realistic ideas you can start doing to feel better today:
1. Figure out why you want to feel better in the first place.
What's your goal?
This is a crushingly simple--but often overlooked--first step.
If you don't know where you want to be, or how you want to feel, then you are going to have one heck of a time getting there.
So, as the uber-famous author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, would say, "Start with the end in mind"--and then go there.
Once you have a clear vision of where you want to go, the steps you need to take tend to magically appear.
2. You are a human. What's your environment like?
Just because you are a human doesn't mean you are immune to the effects of your environment.
Quite the opposite.
A cluttered environment can easily lead to cluttered mind. A loud, raucous environment can stun and set many a person on edge.
I don’t care too much if there’s a little clutter around. My wife, on the hand, starts to panic when things aren’t arranged in an orderly manner.
Here's a question: Is your environment conducive to feeling better? What I mean is, do you feel energized when you enter your home or workplace. Is it calm and soothing, or does it rattle your nerves. If you spend most of the time in a place that makes you feel bad, it's going to be awfully hard to get a handle on the elusive search for happiness. You are a human being.
What's your natural habitat?
3. Speaking of your environment, how do you process it? How do you take it all in?
Have you ever stopped to consider this?
Some people can thrive in a messy space.
For others, like my wife, it causes immense anxiety.
I’ve learned over the years that I primarily get overstimulated when there are loud noises or lots of uncomfortable physical sensations.
But what about you?
Do visual cues set you off?
Or are you more of an auditory person?
Get in the habit of asking yourself these kinds of questions. It might seem silly or childlike at first, but there is something to be said for how children learn about themselves and their inner and outer worlds--they ask questions all of the time.
So get comfortable talking to yourself.
It's one of the best ways--if not the best--to figure out who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
4. Speaking of basics, are you eating good food? Are you drinking enough water?
I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to forget about the simple things in life.
In this world of complexity and rapid innovation, it's easy to gloss over the simple stuff.
But the simple stuff has had the most profound impact on my life.
For years, I thought I was just a person who was tired all the time.
I thought my exhaustion was from stress and overworking myself.
But what did I do when I got up in the morning?
First, I would hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. Professionals and researchers are beginning to warn the public about the damaging effects this can have.
Second, I went to the kitchen and guzzled coffee, the morning juice of the gods.
After educating myself online and from books, I learned something I probably intuitively knew as a child.
Water is important. Water is life.
Now I drink water first thing in the morning, and I continue to drink copious amounts of water throughout the day, often to the liquid tune of 60+ ounces.
The same goes for my diet.
I used to be apathetic about what I ate.
But my behavior started to shift several years ago.
This coincided with a meditation habit--and prodding from my then-girlfriend and now-wife. The behavior modification / advice from my wife helped me become more cognizant of how my actions impacted my body.
And now I'm a convert of the power of simple, healthy habits.
Simple, healthy habits win out over complex solutions every day of the week.
5. Lastly, do an 80/20 analysis of your life.
There is a famous principle called the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle or the law of the vital few.
It states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.
It has been found to hold true across a diverse array of categories--from wealth distribution, to the growth of peapods, to sources of business income and the quality of relationships.
So what are your 80/20 activities and relationships?
Who are the 20% of the people in your life who provide 80% of the benefit?
Who are the 20% who cause 80% of your pain?
And how about your activities? What brings you the most joy for the least effort?
Add more of the good in your life--and remove the main culprits that steal your joy.
In conclusion, have you noticed what all five of these tips / ideas have in common?
They all try to get to the source of your discomfort.
Because that is where you must begin.
You will never feel better with band-aid solutions--cosmetic changes that look and sound good in theory, but do very little to get you feeling better in the long-term.
The decision to change your life might be a simple one, but it is the execution of the next steps that matters.
Because if you want to feel better, you must do what matters.
And only you will know what that is.
I can offer a map.
But you, the powerful warrior reading this, are the one who will walk your road.