By David Joel Miller.
Try these 16 steps to create a great day.
1. Let go of things before you sleep.
Your brain tends to spend all night working on the things you give it to think about. Try to clear the memory of negativity before you sleep. Pray, meditate, read something positive and think about how you will make tomorrow a great day.
Spending the night with your mind working on happy thoughts will set up the next day in the right direction.
2. Lay things out the night before.
Decide what you will wear. Pick out the clothes. If something is dirty or not where it should be the time to solve this problem is the night before not when you are rushing off to work. Anticipate morning problems and solve them the night before.
Lay things you will need for work out. This prevents forgetting something and starting the day with problems. Plan your lunch menu if possible. Taking a small lunch packed the night before can save you a lot of money over eating out.
Make sure to plan this ahead of time or you may discover you do not have time to make things you would like. Include a few treats that you will look forward to.
3. Get to bed on time – allow time for rest.
Staying up late cuts your sleep short. Being tired first thing each day makes the whole rest of the day harder.
4. Do not start your day off rushed.
Allow time for everything and do not stress yourself out by having to rush. Most people allow less time for travel than it will take. The result is that you will become angry and stressed before you arrive at your workplace.
5. Have a morning routine.
Having a morning routine help you start the day in the zone. Familiar is comforting. There is time enough for variety and excitement later in the day. Keep your morning tranquil.
6. Eat something good for you.
Healthy does not have to taste badly. Spend some time planning healthy and enjoyable things to eat. Make grocery shopping and meal preparation an adventure, not a burdensome chore.
7. Make your commute relaxing.
Look for the least stressful or most enjoyable route when possible. Have things in your car that make the trip more enjoyable. A cushion for the back, a holder for your drink all add to the flow of the day.
Start on time or a few minutes early and avoid the “crazy’s” by allowing all the room and time you need to keep the commute relaxing.
Some places have horrific commutes these days. You can make you trip an ordeal by fire and fumes or a relaxing ride in your cocoon before the stress of the day. The difference is primarily in your preparation and your attitude.
8. Listen to your music.
Whatever your music is, try to have some available for the commute. The news is fine, traffic and weather are fine, but a steady diet of disasters makes you stressed. Try to relax and pamper yourself throughout the day whenever possible.
9. Take time to call or email a friend.
Work an email or a call to a friend into your schedule at least once a day. Put this personal contact on the calendar if only as a mental note to self. Email before work or before bed to have something to look forward to. Call and talk in person when possible.
Staying in touch with positive, supportive, people reduces stress and frames the rest of your day with a happy light. Don’t try this while driving or during other activities that require sustained attention. Multitasking is a myth.
10. Smile early and often.
Smile and others will smile back. A smile makes others less stressed and they will reciprocate. Even if you do not really “feel it” smile all you can. Think to yourself that a smile will keep your competitors wondering what you are up to.
11. Watch a bird.
Look for the things going on in the world all around you. In the poorest places, you will see the birds working on their nests, mating and having babies. Watch them soar and your spirit can climb with them. We are all always connected to the rest of the creatures surrounding us.
12. Enjoy a flower.
There are small snips of beauty everywhere. The weed in the vacant lot still puts out an occasional flower. Look for the beauty and take the time to let those moments of joy sink into your brain. You will need those happy thoughts when the day becomes challenging. Save up the positive and let it soak in.
13. Read a good book or story. Watch a funny video.
Books can transport you to alternate realities. They can expand your imagination and creativity as your mind fills in the details that you can’t see.
A good video can inspire or amuse you. There are plenty of negative stories out there. Look for the tales that enlarge your world and expand your happiness.
14. Pray, meditate or follow a religious practice.
People with a religious or spiritual faith, who consistently practice that faith, have happier, less stressful lives.
15. Say an affirmation.
Positive self-talk can brighten and improve your day. Find an affirmation that you believe can come true and repeat it to yourself. Your brain will work on making this affirmation a part of who you are.
Remember not to tell yourself any lies. Don’t try to tell your mind today will be an easy day when you know it will be difficult. Say to yourself that today will be a challenge but I will get through it and you will find that you got through it.
Tell yourself this will be a bad day and it will. Tell yourself that you will have a good day no matter what life throws at you and you will have a lot better day.
16. Be of service to someone else.
Help someone else for a brighter day. Anytime you help a child or someone in need it makes you feel better. Do enough good deeds and you become a better person. People who know that their goodness is based on being of service to others feel really good about themselves.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.