Tell me I’m not the only one who almost always (mostly) feels like, life could be just a hair better than it currently is. I don’t feel that way because I’m not happy with how things are with my life, it’s more of a continual, life improval thing that I’m after. I’ve learned that just by just tweaking a couple different things each day life can feel more organized, more focused, calmer, and just more enjoyable. Luckily, these ideas are free, and they take VERY LITTLE time to do. Most of these ideas can be done in just a few minutes, or at least they can get underway with just a few minutes of attention each day. Watch your life improve, as you incorporate these tips into your life.
Here are 14 free ways to start improving your life in 15 minutes or less…
1. Learn Something New
Learning is basically like running around the park for your brain so every day, watch a short educational video from Khan Academy or TED.com (one of my all-time favorites). Start a free course from MIT, Harvard, or Notre Dame or just open up your mind to some new ideas by listening to some podcasts. (Everyone is talking about Serial, and I jumped on the wagon. I’m completely obsessed and listened to 9 episodes one weekend. I really wish they weren’t taking a break this week for Thanksgiving. Is anyone else obsessed, and do you think Adnan is guilty or not guilty?! Ahh. I just love it. Here’s a post I found that talks about what to watch, hear, and read if you’re obsessed with Serial.)
Email or call a friend or family member that you haven’t had contact with for a while and reconnect.
3. Spend Time with Animals
Animals have some sort of magical power, or something, because they’re just so great to be around. Most people experience a boost of happiness after spending time with pets so if you don’t have pets of your own as a friend if you can take their dog for a walk or go to the shelter, and pet the animals that are craving attention, and love.
4. Sit Still and Just Be
Full disclosure: I always find myself suggesting meditation, but I have a hard time actually doing it myself. When I do get myself to do it, I notice the benefits right away, and always vow to do it more often. If you can meditate everyday I’m completely impressed by you. So work towards spending a few minutes per day just being still and alone even if it means you have to do it while you’re sitting in the bathroom, and the kids are banging on the door to get in. By letting yourself just be you’ll relieve stress, improve your focus, and slowly but surely, increase your happiness.
Sure, they messed up, a lot. You messed you a lot, too. It’s okay, and it’s time to forgive them, and yourself, already.
A real paper book just because you want to.
7. Get Out of Your Head by Complimenting Others
Spend time complimenting others every day. It feels good to make others feel good, and smiles are contagious.
8. Reflect on the Things You’re Grateful For
Acknowledging all of the good in your life will help you take notice of the good (compared to only every complaining about what goes wrong). Plus, you attract more good things by focusing on the good stuff. This is science, people. Consider keeping a gratitude journal, and write in it daily to count your blessings. Here are some ways to show your gratitude that don’t include spending money on stuff.
Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel good. There are also studies that show exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, and can help you think better, and learn more.
10. Spend Time in Nature
Take a walk, sit, and enjoy a scenic area. Just step outside, and get away from electronics for a few minutes.
If possible, spend time with a child, and enjoy their energy and innocence. If there are no children around, play a game or find ways to allow your “inner child” to emerge. It sounds cheesy but seriously, the secret to staying young is to find joy in the small things.
12. Organize Something, Anything
Prioritize your to-do list or speed clean a room in your home, staying organized helps clear the mind of clutter and helps you relax. Trust me, you’ll feel better if your surroundings are organized and clean.
13. Look at Old Photos
Whether you keep your photos saved digitally on your computer or have them all printed and in a photo box or album, spend some time looking at them and reminiscing. If your photos aren’t in order, you could spend 15 minutes a day organizing them chronologically or in some other order that makes sense to you. If you keep digital photos, consider backing them up with a service like Sugar Sync or Dropbox, and then when finances allow print your photographs! It’s so important to do! Don’t lose those memories.
14. Learn a New Language
Bonus Tip: Make your bed. Something about it makes the whole day feel like it’s off to a good start.
What are some free things that you do that don’t take much time but drastically improve your quality of life?