5 Steps to Improve Your Life
And Number 4 Might Suprise You
There I was, walking out of another meeting with the feeling that I was ready to achieve my goals for the day. "I hate those meetings; I never learn anything new," a frustrated co-worker asserted. The fact of the matter is, we can always learn something new.
Just because you know certain information already, doesn't mean that you understand it from other people's perspective. That's why I value meetings in which people get to interact: talk about their struggles, their successes, and how they felt about it.
Throughout my interaction with others, I find that there are common themes that everyone strives for in life. They are "The Big Five." I have created a mneumonic to better remember this, and it is the central focus of my teachings, my ebooks, and my videos. "The Big Five" are summarized below, and they make up my I.D.E.A.S. lifestyle:
Life is complex, and the universe is unimaginably ancient and enormous. It is easy to get lost in the notion that there is not much you can do to stand out. Don't get caught up in that mindset! Individualization is all about being uniquely you! I firmly believe that life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating your own identity. It is about making this a life worth living based on your goals, your dreams, your likes, and who you want to be. With my help, you will be creating an identity that you can be proud of!
As you will find out, sometimes individualization can include the other central tenants of the I.D.E.A.S. lifestyle. For example, Robert Durbin was a 58-year-old struggling with health and happiness. He was using a cane or a walker to get around every day, but then he made one decision to improve his life; that first decision was to start walking on a treadmill, and now he is known as the "Rock Hard Papaw" for his health and physical fitness. At age 64, his health concerns are gone and he is the healthiest he has ever been.
He used Diet and Exercise to change his life and he found that he learned new exercises and routines, and he made some new friends in the gym. That one decision years ago transformed him into rocking chair grandpa into a physically fit "Rock Hard Papaw." Just by changing his his behavior, he satisfied all categories in the IDEAS lifestyle, and he is happier and healthier than ever!
Don't be fooled, you are NOT what you eat. However, you will definitely feel like what you eat. Some people tell me that they want to lose weight, but they just can't seem to figure it out. Even if you are working out, you are going to need to supply your body with the right nutrients. Did you know that our happiness is influenced by what we eat? And it isn't just a minor effect, some foods can either positively or negatively impact our psychology to a very unfortunate outcome, such as increasing our chances of a burst of frustration, or even leading us down a road of depression. What you eat is a big component of you creating the best version of yourself.
Did you know that intense exercise increases your happiness more than anything you can do (besides harmful drugs)!? When you exercise intensely, your body releases chemical into the bloodstream that make you feel good. Those chemicals are called endorphins. Have you ever heard of a "runner's high?" That is what they are referring to: the body releases serotonin and dopamine to make you happy.
Acquisition of Knowledge
"What is the meaning to life?" That is the billion dollar question, isn't it? One thing we do know, is the happiest people on earth try new things. Said differently, they acquire knew knowledge. This doesn't have to be extreme in the sense of getting a Phd, or becoming a medical doctor. The happiest people on earth learn new things often. Whether it is a new board game, taking a different route for the bicycle ride, or trying different restaurants, as long as you live a life with new experiences, you are likely to feel satisfaction and happy about who you are and what you do.
The last central tenant of my I.D.E.A.S lifestyle is talking. Yes, we are indeed social creatures. We want to communicate, laugh, smile, frown, and high five. Did you know that infants that are not held enough by their parents tend to grow up with attachment issues (i.e. falling in love to easily, unable to commit)? It's true; at our very core, we want to communicate with others. It is one of the reasons why Twitter and Facebook are so popular. We want our voice to be heard! But it doesn't have to be through social media. Even getting out to a coffee shop to be around people is enough to fulfill some people's brain with this necessary experience. Just being around people gives you the sense of community, and that is one of the main things people want in this world: to feel connected.
Now, I bet you are thinking, "How can I get started on this today?" Here are my top five tips to improve your happiness TODAY!!
1) Say "Hi" to random people on the sidewalk or in stores. One thing I love doing is talking with the checkout clerk at the grocery store. It breaks the monotony of their day when I tell them a quick exciting story about my motorcycle, how I like zoos, or what dish I intend to make with the ingredients I am purchasing. Then I can always ask what their favorite food is. This satisfies the individualization, acquisition of knowledge, and social life categories of the I.D.E.A.S. Lifestyle.
2) Every night, either write down or talk to a friend about three great things about the day. Even if it was a bad day, something good happened. The sun was shining, you made it to and from work, you got up and ate a good breakfast, you are talking to your friend, or you are working towards making your life count. Whatever it is, write it down. The reason this is important is because memory is state accessed. That means that you feel and think a certain way because of what you are thinking at the time. Thus, if you can slow train your brain to only see the positive things in the day, then you are guaranteed to be happier!
3) Exercise every day! Did you know that even a 15 minute walk after meals with help you lose weight? It's true, if you eat a big meal then sit down at the desk or the couch, then your body isn't burning any of those calories, and because you are sitting, you brain doesn't see a need to use those calories, so they get stored as fat! If you start walking, it increases your metabolism, and gets those calories working for you, not a against you. Furthermore, exercise will make you feel good, and over time, you will be happy with the results in the mirror!
4) Stand up straight! Neuroscientists have known for a long time that your brain effects your body. Meaning, how happy or sad you feel at a certain time shows through your body language. But, does you body effect your brain? Is it possible to change your body language and see your brain release different chemicals? The answer is an astounding YES! Just three minutes of great posture can change your brain physiology and get you into a happier state! Just three minutes!
5) Eat more blueberries and bananas! Both of these fruits have a chemical called tyrosine in them. Tyrosine helps regulate and stimulate the release of dopamine (happy neurotrasmitter) in the body. Thus, if you start your day with a bowl of blueberries and chopped bananas, you are well on your way to being happier; and becoming the best version of yourself!