If we’re not in the best place mentally or financially, it can be hard to imagine that there could be a couple of simple ways to improve things. It seems like anything that could help would cost a ton of money or time we don’t have, right?
Well, these 16 people say that’s not true – because they quickly improved their quality of life with these simple actions.
16. The important things.
I printed and framed that Calvin and Hobbes comic where the dad stops his work and goes to play in the snow with his kid.
It hangs in my home office and reminds me what my priorities are. I’ve been much happier for it.
15. Your employer is never going to thank you.
Stop working more than 40 hours a week.
Not everyone is so conscientious as to enjoy dedicating their life to their job, and that’s okay. Also business owners too often don’t understand why their employees aren’t as dedicated to them, well its because it’s their business not ours, the company doing better often has no benefit for the employees, in the “good ole days” you’d get a large bonus based on your performance and company performance and have a clear path for advancement.
A job is not always a career. Don’t treat it like one.
14. The No Ring Lane.
Permanently placed my phone on Do Not Disturb (allow calls from Contacts). This one change saved me from constant disruptive unwanted calls.
Life is good on No Ring Lane.
13. It’s just propaganda and/or entertainment.
Stopped watching the news. Life’s way better without it.
The news industry has been shipping fear, propaganda, unreflected and unchallenged views for decades… so in essence that is true.
For people still needing a connection to current events, my suggestion is to follow sources that are either local, positive, detailed, aggregate or conversational. These are all factors that make the news more valuable than a random tweet, which is what most news are these days.
Reddit actually provides most of this, if you follow some subreddits on a weekly or monthly basis only, using the “Top” filter.
12. Change your outlook in 10 minutes.
Breathing exercises. Focusing on really deep exhales.
After about 10mins my whole outlook for the day changes.
11. Hold them firm.
Setting my own boundaries after realizing that when I didn’t, people set them for me.
I spend so much time worrying about what might happen with my decisions that I end up not making any and letting everyone else make them for me.
10. Cut those ties.
Cutting out toxic “friends”. After years of knowing someone it can be hard to see that they are no longer the person they were when the relationship started.
My childhood best friend grew into a manipulative selfish prick. For years I hung out with him almost every day after work and always felt miserable afterwards.
Everyone around me questioned why I still spent time with him. I always made excuses that seem ridiculous in hindsight. I should have cut ties 10 years ago.
9. Simply age.
You young kids will think this crazy but I am glad to have gotten older. All those things that worried me when I was in my twenties, just don’t matter anymore. I’m 67 now and much happier
The relief and freedom with not feeling like my worth is dependent on my looks is palpable. I stopped dyeing my hair during quarantine and now I have this wild silver streak in the front that I love.
I think I’m going to grow it long again and fully rock the witch vibe. Why? Cuz I’m old enough to no longer give a s*%t about other people’s judgment.
Also a lot of more substantial lessons about life and living and death.
8. Peace of mind.
Yoga. I’m an old guy, and discovered it at age 56 in 2005. By now I’m still not terribly proficient, but yoga has kept me limber. More importantly, it has been amazing for improving my peace of mind.
Whenever somebody asks why I practice yoga, I reply, “For peace of mind.”
7. Make your peace.
Make peace with death; be present; become the person you would like to be with; be nice to your partner; sleeping naked with your partner solves problems; don’t mess with systems that can kill you or destroy your house; no one is looking at you so stop tripping; meditation works; ECT works for depression as last resort; get your dog used to being touched; screw age, do what you want; find a happy couple to role model; truth is easier; dog train people
This will be a little death-skewed because I’ve been dealing with a lot of it, but the first lesson is: Everyone dies. It won’t seem real until it happens. And maybe not until it’s a parent, peer, or, God forbid, sibling or child. When it’s someone old and ill, it’s sad but not tragic. Younger, it’s tragic. Suicide, almost always tragic with a few caveats.
Another lesson: I didn’t really feel like an adult until two years ago when my father died. I don’t have kids so maybe people feel like adults after that milestone, but losing a parent is…something. Worse when you’re young, I’m sure, but still a punch in the gut when you’re older.
OK, so the lesson from the death stuff is this: Death is why it’s important to learn how to be present in the moment you are currently living. I think that the moments when you’re spaced out are kind of lost forever, in a way. (Unless you’re at work. Then think about whatever you want. Daydream on company time. Fight the power.) My father and I were very close but both are ADHD as hell (him untreated), and the last day where he was still able to be up and around on his own we sat outside together and talked. Some of it was important, some not, but the most important part was we were both 100% there. I very rarely felt that level of presence or of seeing and being seen with someone.
Death is inevitable but it is also a gift. The only scary part is not knowing for sure what comes next, if anything, but we’re not supposed to know. If we knew we’d focus on that. We’re supposed to be focused on THIS.
One thing for sure is that death is the end of pain. My stepmom died recently, not too long after my father, and she looked almost joyous after she died, like she’d seen something wonderful. I visited a dying friend years ago, a woman in her 70s, and she looked radiantly beautiful, practically glowing. She died a few hours later and was smiling when she went.
Anyway, that’s my most recent big life lesson: Death isn’t something to fear but I think it is there as a backdrop to remind us that things here are finite.
Lessons regarding love: I got really brutally honest with myself 20 years ago and said, “OK, would you choose you for a life partner?” and realized that no, I wouldn’t. I was a mess emotionally, financially, and in my environment. We tend to attract people who are kind of where we are in life. Or we should, anyway; otherwise one of the two people is a fixer and the other is the broken thing needing to be fixed and that’s not a great dynamic to start with because what happens once you’re fixed? Your partner (or you) is still a fixer. So there is built-in incentive to stay broken. It’s best to meet someone where they are, as you are, in a state where if they were never to change a bit, you’d be cool with that. Ideally you grow in the same direction. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.
Anyway, I wanted someone who had their shit together, so I got my own shit together.
Falling asleep, so quickly:
-Be as gracious and polite to your partner as you are to strangers.
-Sleeping naked together is really helpful to stay connected even if you’re not having a lot of sex for whatever reason. It’s almost like your skin is having its own conversation with your partner’s and it can actually fix problems without having to discuss them.
-When you buy a house you can try to fix everything yourself but hire someone to do your electrical and plumbing. And leave load-bearing walls alone.
-If you have social anxiety, know this for a fact: Everyone is either insecure to a degree, narcissistic to a degree, or both. Which means they are thinking about THEMSELVES, not you. No one is going to remember that your fly was down or you had kale in your teeth or whatever, unless you make a big deal of it. If you can’t feel calm, practice looking calm. And know that you can get beta blockers if your physiological symptoms is really bad.
-Meditation really does help a lot. It helped me with rage, despair, depression, and anxiety.
-Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT, aka shock treatment) can fix treatment-resistant depression. The side effects can be HORRIBLE, but they’re better than suicide. (Nowadays they have transcranial magnet treatment that works well and is less extreme.)
-When you adopt a dog, touch him/her everywhere, all the time. Play with their toes, their ears, make them comfortable with you touching their genital area, booty, teeth, gums, etc. Reason: If they get hurt, you or the vet will need to palpate them to check for injury and you don’t want them to have to be muzzled because they’re not used to being touched. Also helps with nail trims and getting cockleburrs out from between their toe pads.
-Don’t worry about being too old to start something because you’ll be X years old when you finish. You’ll be that age anyway.
-If your parents had a crappy relationship, find a relationship that you respect somewhere else and observe how they treat each other. My mom and stepdad are incredibly rude and insulting to one another so I found friends whose relationship I wanted to emulate and I watched them to a probably creepy extent. I’m now in the happiest relationship of anyone I know.
-It’s easier to tell the truth; lying diminishes everyone involved. (Some exceptions apply.)
-Most dog training principles apply to people.
6. Simple but effective.
Buying a good knife for cooking.
5. It gets easier.
Going to the gym. Used to be a miserable fat bastard but after three months of going to the gym, I’ve lost about a stone and feel so much better.
For everyone who does not know what “a stone” is in reference to, it is a measurement of weight that is the equivalent of 14 pounds
Like if someone says they are 10 and 1/2 stone that means they are 147 pounds
(I’ve watched some British programming, That’s the only reason my dumb American self understands that, btw supersize vs super skinny is an old but an interesting show, they have quite a few episodes on YouTube)
4. There’s no need to fight.
Independent blankets for my wife and I in bed. Incredible how much better you sleep when there’s no waking up with blankets pulled half off or using one that’s too heavy or too light.
I’d HIGHLY recommend for anyone that sleeps with a significant other.
3. Get over yourself.
Learning to get over myself.
Nobody cares what I do, nobody is looking at me, and why should I care if they are? Nobody outside my circle has enough context to make accurate judgements about how I live, so why am I trying so hard to justify my decisions? As soon as I adopted that mindset, being alive got significantly less sh*%ty.
I do my best to be a decent person and to take care of myself, and the only opinions I care about are mine, my partner’s, and my therapist’s.
2. You’ll feel great.
Buying a wardrobe of good quality, properly fitting clothing that I actually like.
Agonizing over what to wear every morning because this doesn’t fit properly, this one has a stain, I just wore that yesterday, I don’t like how this sits on my body would start my day off very badly.
1. No way to live.
I lost 100lbs. I have about 100 more to go, but being so obese you can’t find clothes at Walmart and nearly dying from non-essential organ failure at 25 (gallbladder) really isn’t a way to live.
I literally couldn’t run. Or get off the floor without grabbing something. I used to break or bend lawn chairs.
NOT FUN. EMBARRASSING AF.
Well, I know that I’m going to be doing some taking stock today, how about you?
If you’ve got a helpful trick to add to this list, drop it in the comments!