9 Life-Improving Mental Upgrades
Happiness has less to do with what happens to you than what you make happen.
Your quality of life and your feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction are a reflection of your mindset and your standards. A poor mental state will drag you down and make it impossible to achieve your dreams or feel happy.
Feeling positive and contented with life is paramount to your overall mental health and well-being. If you're repeatedly finding yourself in a bad mental space, letting anxiety and feelings of dejection get the best of you, it's time to give yourself a major boost of positive energy and begin overhauling your mindset now.
Start with these nine mental upgrades and you'll see immediate improvement in nearly every aspect of your life.
1. Practice self-discipline.
If you're hoping to upgrade your mindset, there's no better place to start than with a healthy dose of self-discipline. Learning self-control is an important foundation for creating good habits and improving your life.
Having willpower means you have the ability to do what you need to do, even when you don't want to do it. It's key to time management and making sure you're actually ticking off items on your to-do list, rather than getting sucked into the latest trendy game on your smartphone.
Self-discipline is like a muscle that must be built over time. It's that inner power to stay motivated and achieve your goals. To practice self-discipline, start by setting clear goals for yourself -- where do you want to see improvement in your life? Then begin building your self-control in small ways that will eventually add up and help you get where you want to go.
2. Learn (at least) one new thing every day.
As children, learning is innate and natural, but as adults we have to push ourselves to keep gaining wisdom and insight -- otherwise it's easy to allow complacency to set in.
Staying focused on learning is one of the best upgrades you can give yourself to build your best life. One easy way to do this is to challenge yourself to learn something new every day. Doing so will increase your mental capacity and make your mind more flexible.
Reading books will help you cultivate your ability to focus on different topics. You can also try taking an online class in an area you've always wanted to learn more about. Surround yourself with smart people and engage them in friendly debate, always being sure to keep an open mind! Remember, there is an entire world of knowledge just a mouse click away.
3. Spend time in nature.
On average, Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors. We've become so conditioned to being inside that we sometimes forget what a beautiful world exists outside. A little time in nature is a great way to get an easy mental upgrade.
Being outside has been shown to lower stress, improve your outlook, help you focus and even improve your immune system. Try spending some quality time in nature by hiking, camping or a taking a trip to the beach.
Don't have that kind of time? Try one of these:
- Slip your shoes off for a few minutes and feel the grass under your feet.
- Take a moment to literally stop and smell the flowers.
- Grab your lunch to go and eat outside.
- Take a walk through a park or green space.
If even those activities are beyond your reach, take a few minutes to look out your window and enjoy the view!
4. Put challenges into perspective.
When you are overwhelmed with stress and feel pressured to perform at your peak, remind yourself that that whatever circumstance you're facing, it's a challenge, not a life-or-death situation. This is a chance to practice your life skills and perhaps discover hidden talents. Don't allow yourself to become engulfed by panic or anxiety. If you feel like you're losing control of your emotions, remind yourself that this is but one moment in a long life of pivotal moments.
Focus on the task at hand and concentrate on each step necessary to excel. Don't let yourself get lost in the details. See the bigger picture. Remember your past successes -- you got this! Every challenge is a chance for us to gain mental toughness, but also to learn and grow from our mistakes. No matter what happens, you will still get up tomorrow and keep trying your best.
5. Work on your attitude.
Your attitude is a direct reflection of your inner self. It shapes your ability to be happy, successful and confident.
Often we find ourselves slipping into a negative mindset, feeling bleak and dissatisfied with where we're at in life. But here's the thing: your ability to overcome challenges is dependent on your mental outlook, and this mindset is of your own making. Over time, your experiences and perspective have molded you and you have decided (subconsciously or not) what kind of approach you're going to take to life.
You have the ability to change your attitude and harness optimism. Every day we can choose how we interact with others, including the words we use and the attitude we have when facing a challenging situation. Start observing your thoughts and how you communicate with others. Make the choice to have an affirmative, supportive and self-assured attitude.
6. Add value to your relationships.
The relationships we have with those around us are foundational to building a successful and meaningful life. Our relationships with others are a direct reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.
Those who have caring, loving, supportive relationships are also those who have learned to love and embrace their innermost self. When we add value to our relationships, we're adding satisfaction and a sense of well-being to our own lives. We can start doing this simply by giving those around us our full attention.
When you make others feel important and supported, you command the respect of those around you. As an added bonus, you'll find that doors will open for you, and your influence and leadership abilities will increase.
7. Include a dash of adventure in your daily life.
Routine gives us a sense of security and predictability in an otherwise stressful life where a crisis can pop up anytime. But a boring routine can also make for a mundane existence where we don't feel truly challenged or excited. We just exist in our little armored bubble of security. Sounds soul crushing, right?
Find ways to include a dash of adventure in your life and you'll see your mood kick up instantly. You don't have to go rock climbing or skydiving to create a sense of adventure. Just dare yourself to do something a little crazy or outside your comfort zone every day. Look for the "mini thrills" that will keep life interesting, sharpen your sense of curiosity and help you feel like you're truly experiencing life rather than just letting time slip by.
Go dancing (even if it's in your own living room), surprise yourself by trying a cuisine you'd never normally never go for or take an exercise class that's outside your comfort zone -- antigravity yoga anyone?
8. Focus on what makes you happy.
Often our life is filled with many little things that bring us great joy. But we forget to pay attention to all the things that make us happy because we're so focused on all the things that irritate and annoy us.
We're so actively involved in complaining or avoiding the things we hate that we easily dismiss all the things we adore and cherish. Sometimes it's little things that build us up, if we let them.
What makes you happy? Spending time with family and friends? Working out? Reading a good book or working on an interesting project? Define the things that bring you happiness, and then do more of those things. Make those activities part of your daily habit and make sure to take time to appreciate and enjoy the things that bring you joy.
Related: 20 Secrets to Living a Happier Life
9. Goal setting to lift you up.
If you're feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied with where you're at in life, it's time to start taking control and pushing forward by setting new goals for yourself. Challenge yourself with a new ambition, define new personal objectives that you want to attain and set your sights on a new course of action that's important or meaningful.
Goal setting increases your motivation and gives you a focus. It's also key to improved mental health because it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Whether they're personal goals for self-improvement or professional goals to keep your career and business on track, setting an objective and working toward a goal is key to improving your life and giving yourself a mental upgrade.
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