Is there unhappiness, negativity or stress in your life? Or are you feeling happy and light hearted most of the time but still want to improve those peak times and reduce those moments of stress and unease? Perfect. That’s what I’m going to help you with today.
I believe we all have stressful moments and times of unhappiness, no matter how happy and positive we usually are. Unhappiness is part of life. Stress is also part of life. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it take over.
We can detect those triggers for unhappiness, negativity and stress and take conscious action towards dissolving them by building healthy and supporting habits to include into every day to feel more balanced, inspired and motivated to live life and enjoy it with all its ups and downs.
So, if you are ready to change your life to the positive, learn something new and create some of those powerful habits, then let’s get started.
How to keep the stoke?
As this post will be a little bit longer and contains a lot of information, let me quickly tell you about the structure, so you don’t lose orientation.
I’ve divided the habits into two parts: mental and physical.
The mental habits are more believes and Mindset you can take on to make life easier and keep yourself balanced. So maybe it’s best to write them down on a post it or paper and pin them somewhere you can see. That way you always get reminded and can take the most out of those believes.
Physical habits are thinks you can physically do to make your life better. Some of them are very simple and don’t take up any time. Others might take a little longer. But all of them are equally effective when it comes to creating happiness.
As there are many habits you can build and we are of course all individual I don’t expect you include all of them.
Rather ask yourself what brings you unhappiness and negativity and what things you find stressful. By building this awareness for yourself you can then look at this list and pick out the few that are most effective for you.
Also remember that you can’t build all the habits at the same time. So, take it slow. Pick one or two things, do it for a couple weeks or a month, until its automated and then you can focus on the next one.
If you try to build them all at once, you will only cause more stress for yourself and that’s not what we want. Right?
So now that I’ve said everything important, let’s get started.
The thing about mental habits is that they are much harder to build than physical ones because our minds are super strong and it’s very hard to dissolve bad mind patterns.
To make this habit building really effective I suggest writing the habit down on paper and reread it every day for a few weeks. Also recall it frequently throughout the day.
I know that sounds a little like brainwashing, but that’s exactly what it is. We brain wash you into thinking what’s good for you.
Less thinking more doing • Prevent over planning and start doing
One thing a lot of organized and ambitious people struggle with is over planning. They plan and dream and plan and end up doing nothing to accomplish.
To help you get out of the rut of planning and overthinking and help you take action towards your goals adapt this one simple mind habit.
Tell yourself: “(Insert your name), less thinking, more doing!”, whenever you recognise yourself overthinking something. Then focus on doing and not on thinking.
Less doing more being • Keep enjoying life
Another thing that happens frequently for those people is that now they do and do and do and forget to be. They are so caught up in achieving their goals and hustling towards their dreams that they forget to live.
Life and happiness is not only about achieving. It’s so much more about living. About being present and enjoying the very moment you are in now.
So, as you hustle, remember to take breaks and simply enjoy. Less doing, more being.
Focus on sensations • reconnect with life
Have you ever felt like you’re not in sync with life anymore? That you are working against a greater power? Then this simple mind exercise will help you reconnect to this very source and use its power again and let it flow into your doing.
Focus on your sensations. Feel. Smell. Hear. Taste. See. Without thinking. Without labelling, anything that you sense. Just pay attention to what is around you and acknowledge its beauty.
Know when it is time to push and when to hold back • overcome perfectionism and prevent stress
If you are like me and have the urge to do everything perfectly, it is sometimes hard to know when it is time to stop and do something else. It’s also hard to take a break, because there is so much you can still do or do better. You can always improve, so there is never a time where you have nothing to do.
You have to make relaxation a priority. And you can start by building awareness around how you feel. Know when it is time to push and when to hold back.
Be aware though, this is very difficult as your mind tends to trick you into thinking it’s time to push, even though it’s time to hold back. To prevent that you need to watch out for signs your body and life is giving you, like pain, sickness, breakdowns, unease, exhaustion, stress, dissatisfaction.
Faith • accept uncertainty and powerlessness
If you struggle with accepting uncertainty and your own powerlessness over certain situations as part of life, maybe you have to take on a little more faith.
Believe that everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to be. Know that life is giving you what you need at any moment. And embrace uncertainty and the beautiful surprises and lessons it brings.
Accept unhappiness • opportunity to enhance transformation
Lastly, accept that unhappiness and stress are part of every humans’ life. Know that they equally belong to the experience of life as happiness and joy. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself when you are unhappy or causing more negativity by getting stressed more, take those times as opportunities to enhance transformation and change within your life.
We now covered the most important Mindset changes you can take on. Now let’s see what we can physically do to become more balanced, stay motivated and find inspiration to achieve our dreams.
Like mentioned before, to really make those things a habit, you have to do them every single day (or as frequently as possible) for a few weeks or better months.
While you are doing, the focus on solely doing this one thing. Always keep in mind the benefit you get out of it and never forget to enjoy doing this task. All those things are there to make you feel good and happy. So, doing it should not feel like effort or needing motivation. The simple joy you get from doing them should be enough motivation for you.
Morning and evening routine • start and end the day with peace
Let’s start simple, with the benefit of a great and relaxing morning or evening routine. If you start or end your day with peace and balance you are more likely to feel happy and joyful throughout the day as well.
So, spend the first and last hours of your day doing something fun, something that you enjoy. Use this time to get prepared for your day, keep up with your resolutions and reflect on yourself and your life.
3-day policy • create more present moments where you feel most alive and happy
This policy is something I’ve invented to ensure no matter how hard I’m hustling and how many goals I want to achieve at a time I never forget to enjoy life.
This policy states that I never go more than two days without doing something that makes me feel alive and happy. Therefore of course you need to know what those things are. For me it’s, seeing friends, surfing, adventure, exercising.
If you manage of course it would be great to do those things daily. But sometimes, and we both know it, this is not possible. So, make sure that it doesn’t get longer than three days though. This will ensure your balance and motivation.
1h a day • do one thing that doesn’t serve any purpose a day
If you are a high achiever or value time a lot, there are probably very few moments in your day where you actually do something that doesn’t serve a purpose. All your actions are probably directed towards something and that’s awesome. However, as mentioned in the mental habit areas, too much doing and to little being can affect your mental state negatively and make you less productive and inspired. Therefore, I suggest doing at least one thing a day that doesn’t serve any purpose. It doesn’t have to be an hour long but long enough so you feel relaxed and balanced.
Daily intention • to stay focused
To make sure you never forget where you’re going and maintain the focus on happiness and well-being, daily intentions are a great way to start.
Ask yourself every morning how you want this day to be. What’s the feeling you want to guide your day? What’s the one thing you what to have accomplished by the end of it? And how are you ensuring that today is going to be a good day?
Single task • for focus and productivity
Now were getting practical. To enhance your productivity and ensure you are staying focused and put all your attention into the task at hand, it is important to single task. Don’t do more than one thing at a time. Do it quick but with quality. Focus on this one thing and cut down all the distraction. As soon as it’s done, go on to the next.
Work in blocks • for focus and productivity
Another way of getting more productive is working in blocks. I’ve wrote more about it in a previous post, but the idea is to not bread crump one task through the week, but spend as much time in a row as possible on working on one project. Then go onto the next one and work on this one for as long as possible as well.
Use a timer • to prevent procrastination and distraction
To make sure you are not procrastinating, getting stuck or distracted by some other, less important things, I suggest using a timer for certain tasks.
If there are things you tend to get stuck at, like Instagram or research for example, set a timer for yourself with the maximum time you want to spend on doing that task. Then stop once the timer is over.
Time buffer • to prevent stress and time pressure
To prevent yourself from getting stressed because you’ve scheduled too much and now you’re not getting everything done, I suggest creating time buffers.
I found it best to have a small buffer of 10 or 15 minutes after every task and about 30 to 60 minutes every day.
If you don’t need those buffers at some days, then you win time. You can now spend it on relating or pre-do other tasks for the week. Make sure though they can be done within that hour, otherwise you create stress again.
5 min Meditation • against stress and overwhelm
Another very effective technique I adapted to dissolve stress and overwhelm after a stressful or busy moment is to take 5 minutes to meditate. Focus simply on your breath. Forget about that stressful moment you just had and draw your focus towards relaxation and inner peace. Then feel the new energy and use it for the next task.
Take a break • against being overworked and overwhelmed
If you recognise yourself being super overwhelmed by all the information and things you do every day or if you are overworked and realize you’re not productive anymore, take a break.
Take one entire day off and do nothing but enjoy. Relax and stay in bed all day if necessary. Then come back with new energy and motivation to keep crushing it.
Off period • to regain motivation
If there is something you do regularly, chances are pretty high you lose motivation and inspiration at some point for some time. To prevent that I suggest taking consistent off periods of that specific task.
For example, if IG is giving your motivation problems and you feel uninspired with what to post frequently. I suggest taking one day off a week where you don’t post. Use that day to regain inspiration.
Another example, if you are overwhelmed by research or reading, maybe it’s best to take a week or a month off and then come back with new space to take it all in.
Social/life day • to get shit done and find inspiration
If you decide to schedule a frequent “off day” why not using it in a way that is also productive but not serving any goals or is directed towards achieving. Use it to get stuff done. Do something creative, enjoy life, spend time with friends, relax, do good for your body. The options are endless.
This I found most effective when done weekly. So, if possible I try to have one social/life day a week. Usually that’s Saturday or Sunday.
By the way, this day is perfectly combinable with the 3-day policy. You could use that day to do one of those things.
Daily walks • to clear your head and refocus
On days where a lot of creativity and inspiration is asked, going on a walk can do wonders. It will clear your head and help you refocus on what is important.
And if you believe it or not, but the best ideas come to me when I’m walking. So maybe the same goes for you.
Create mind-space • stop thinking
This is a more practical way to stop thinking than the methods I shared in the mental section. If you want to stop your thoughts from spinning like crazy and give your brain a little break to enhance inspiration and creativity, create space in your mind.
Imagine your brain is empty space, like the galaxy. Imagine there’s nothing inside your head but space and stillness.
Keep that space there for a few minutes and then let the thoughts in again. Slowly, one after the other.
Breathe • and become present
Focusing on your breathing is a great way to create short breaks for being. Remember like I said that sometimes we forget living within all the doing? Focusing on your breath while everything you do is helping you to stay connected to the present moment and the place you are at. Your breath is the best reminder to live because without it you couldn’t.
Focusing on your breathing might feel like effort when you first start out. But after a while and a little practice this will happen automatically. And not matter what you do you will recognise yourself connecting with your breath every few minutes. taking one deep conscious breath every once in a while, being aware that you are still alive.
Yoga & surf • to connect with nature and enhance relaxation
I picked yoga and surfing here as those are the two things that make me feel most connected to nature and help me relax the most. But really anything that gets you outside and helps you enjoy the beauty of this planet is perfect. Important is that you want to spend time on such activities as frequently as possible to always remember the one source that got you here and is within everything. Life.
Deload week and rest days • for rest and recovery
This is very essential for the athletes and fitness freaks. Make sure to have a Deload week and regular rest days to prevent overtraining, stress, illness and enhance recovery. But also, a not so active person can take away something good from that. You might not need a deload week or rest day in context of not exercising, but maybe you need one in terms of not working or not doing whatever is causing you stress and headaches.
Take care of body • to boost recovery and mental health
Our bodies are asked for a lot all the time, so you have to treat it well to ensure it is in the best shape to perform. Show some love to yourself. Take a bath, moisturize, shower, get a massage, brush your hair, cut your beard, exercise, eat healthy, do whatever makes you feel good.
Smile and spread the stoke • to build a happy environment
What we take give and take out into the world will come back to us in the same way or another. So, make sure you smile and spread positivity and happiness. If you make someone else happy, that will make you happy. Building a positive environment for yourself is the foundation to live a happier life.
Happy moments • for happiness
Finally, to keep the stoke and remind yourself of how awesome life is in any moment, good or bad, write down your happy moments every single day.
Ask yourself what three things made you smile today? I bet no matter how bad your day was, there were still a couple things that brought some joy.
Knowing that in any moment there is happiness even though sometimes is so small and unremarkable that it is easily overseen makes every day a good day and every moment a happy moment.
Uff, we’re done. Those were 26 simple but effective things you can to do regain balance and inspiration, create happiness for yourself and solve stress and unease in times of struggle.
I hope there were a few that can make your life better as well. I’d love to know if you have some I didn’t mention. And, please help me share the stoke and let’s make more people’s lives happy by sharing this post.
Also, if you are looking for even more ways to create happiness, here are some posts I’m sure you will enjoy:
Lots of love and happiness.