By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) You've probably heard these tips before but it is always a good reminder to take action when things are at a standstill or you're in a funk.
Tribune News Service
Getting through life is an art form, and most of the time what we are trying to create is not gallery worthy, but there are many ways to upgrade your existence. Here are a few that will help.
1. Give up lying. The truth always comes out, and any ill-gotten gains will quickly disappear. People you have tried to hurt are living better lives, and the act you lied about probably didn't make a damn bit of difference in the big picture of your life.
2. Love is the only thing worth holding on to. Many things can get in the way, like sex, greed, temptation, aging, and illness. But love will make you whole, and nothing else ever will in the same way. No, unfortunately, it doesn't work for everyone, but give it another try (or get a dog).
3. Release negative memories and thoughts. Tell yourself out loud that you don't want to think about this anymore (best to do this while you are alone). Sometimes just hearing your thoughts spoken aloud can make a huge difference. Give it a try.
4. Give yourself a break. Being overly hard on yourself when you have made a mistake just makes matters worse, because the mistake then takes over your thoughts for a while. Life is a learning process, please keep that in mind.
5. Know that if your basic necessities are covered, money can never be the most important thing. If making more money is your main drive, you will hurt yourself and others in the long game. And you will miss out on a lot of life. You have to ask yourself, "How much is enough?" and learn to be happy with what you have.
6. Recognize that if you enjoy conflict, there's something unhealed inside you. No matter how you express your ire, be it by passive-aggressive behavior, by texting nasty things, or by being a bully, it's toxic for you as well. This is a strong sign that you need some counseling. Get it.
7. Find one thing in the day to look forward to (and it can't be going to bed). Any moment of pleasure will do; you can't live a life with zero happiness, but you may feel you are unless you begin to embrace some of the simple things we tend to take for granted. Like cooking a meal!
8. Take at least one day off a week. And don't bring the office home with you. That million-dollar deal doesn't require your constant attention and neither does the broken dishwasher. Pace yourself and just be. If you have to be doing something constantly, it could be a sign that you are fighting some unhappiness and are avoiding thinking about it.
9. Listen to some music every day. Many people enjoy listening to music in the car, that's not for me, but I love my music. These days, technology has given us much more access to it. I have personal-assistant devices in most every room, including the bathroom, so I can now say, "Alexa, play Bruno Mars," and get a little serenade along with my bio-break.
10. Make time for yourself to relax for ten minutes several times a day. These mini-meditations, or just breathers, actually give you more energy and make life a little easier to take. Many of us have long workdays and some days that aren't that easy. A little relaxation can make a huge difference in our lives.
Don't try all of these at once, but if you can integrate one positive behavioral change a week into your lifestyle, things will get nicer very quickly. ___ (Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.")