We live in the age of millennials where every other friend has some form of anxiety or depression, we are living paycheck to paycheck, and social media makes it hard to appreciate what we have and who we are.
With all the stress of adulting, mental illness, and comparison, how do we cope? Many of us turn to liquid courage. Others turn to the dollar menu. Some even turn to each other for the night. We are stuck in a rut. How do we get out?
Today I’m going to share with you seven tips on how to live your best life, and none of them include alcohol, binge eating, or sex.
#1 Indulge in your meals.
When I was 18 years old I picked up a habit of vocalizing during my meals. I vacationed at Disney for the first time, and my friend and I ate at Chefs de France in Epcot. I ordered an entire meal including an appetizer and dessert. Typically, like most of us do, I scarf down my meal. This time, I ate it slowly. I savored every bite. I took my time to really chew and taste. The best part, the entire way through my meal I vocalized my delight. I would say “Mm mm mm” or “Yes” or “This is just so good”. I know, I know… #foodgasm It made my meal ten times better than any other meal before! To this day, I still vocalize during every meal. I appreciate it and give thanks for it. I get silly with it! My meals are no longer a means to fill my stomach and cure my hunger, they are an event!
#2 Hug your friends, hug your family, hug everyone!
Call me Danny Tanner, it’s time for a hug! Hugging is proven to relieve stress, that’s not news. However, how often do we actually take advantage of it? Try hugging hello and goodbye. You may be the only one doing it, but it will bring you so much joy! Embracing the ones you love, whether it be your family, friends, or even co-workers is a great way to feel happy and show love! I love hugging. I hug hello, goodbye, randomly, multiple times in a day! Just try it.
#3 Take a moment to talk to a stranger.
Have you ever taken a moment out of your day to talk to a stranger? Not just a “thank you” for holding the door or a smile and a nod, I mean actually TALK TO THEM. I work in a theme park where it’s my job to talk to strangers, but even I get caught up in the rush of my attraction and find myself saying the bare minimum. It’s in the moments when I stop and actually chat with them that my heart feels so happy. Stepping outside of your own head to discover someone new is an experience. One that everyone should have.
Millennials are criticized for being in their phones so much, and while I find it as annoying as you do, the critics have a point. My best friend and I make an effort to never be on our phones when we are eating out, at a movie, or playing at the theme parks. If we are on our phone, we are typically at home, and on them at the same time, still interacting. Social media is an important part of my life and my job, so I understand. However, I don’t want to live there, I only want to vacation. What I mean is, take a moment to unplug from your phone and enjoy the moment you are living in. Your number of followers isn’t more important than life itself.
#5 Schedule time for YOU, yourself, and YOU.
Depending on friends, food, or activities to keep you happy is a slippery slope. You may be an extrovert, but we all need a healthy dose of introvert to keep us balanced. Don’t just find time, MAKE time for yourself. Find a hobby or activity that’s all your own. Be selfish! Your friends can survive without you for a night, and so can your significant other. If you can’t be happy by yourself, you can’t be truly happy with others. Need ideas? Lay on your bed and listen to music, watch Netflix and order a pizza, cook or bake, take a walk or go to the gym, watch silly YouTube videos. Just do something that YOU love!
#6 Compliment others.
Unless you’re pure evil, making others feel good should make you feel good. Am I right? I don’t know about you, but I get tired talking about myself. Instead, throw a compliment someone’s way! Study and admire those around you. Listen to their stories. The greatest compliment is to care for others. It is genuine and a major mood booster. We all just want to be appreciated and loved. Send some love out into the world, and you’ll find it will find it’s way right back to you!
#7 Make decisions.
I am the absolute WORST at making a decision. Do I want tacos or pizza? Do I want to go out or stay in? Should I watch one more episode or not? Have you said the words, “It’s up to you” a lot lately? I let my friends decide all the time. It’s kind of a people pleaser thing, but also a I suck at decision making thing. Have you ever seen that episode of Friends when Phoebe helps Joey decide which route to take to Vegas? She asks him a series of questions which he must answer immediately. She saves his Vegas decision for last and he answers so quickly that his problem is solved! Decision made! Try it for yourself sometime. If someone asks you where you want to eat, spit out the first place that comes to mind. If they ask if you’re going to that party, just say it! YES OR NO! It will make you feel more confident!
These seven practices are ones I do on the daily. People often tell me, “You’re so happy all the time” and ask me how that is. The truth is…it’s all mental. It has all to do with attitude, perspective, and effort. All of which I am willing to work for.
Am I happy ALL THE TIME? Obviously, no. I have bad days, stressful days, and sad days, just like everyone else. However, I can honestly tell you that for the majority of my days, I am happy.
I hope these help those of you who are looking to improve your life! Remember, happiness is a choice. Just like anything else in life, you must work for it. Believe in the power of YOU.