A Few Small Changes to Drastically Improve your Relationships, Reduce Your Stress and Bring You More Joy

A Few Small Changes to Drastically Improve your Relationships, Reduce Your Stress and Bring You More Joy

How often have you driven home and realized, as you pull into your driveway, that you cannot recall driving home?

How often do you sit in traffic, grumbling about the “idiot in front of you” and completely miss how beautiful the mountains look from that angle, in the days sunlight. Or get a chuckle from the guy picking his nose beside you.

How often do you see your spouse and take for granted just how handsome they are?

How often do you dismiss your kid, because you are busy, when they try to tell you about something incredibly exciting in their little world?

How often do you text while you walk, completely unaware of the people and scenery around you?

There is so much beauty in this world that we are missing because we are too busy and too connected to our online world. In a world that is grand and overwhelming, we try to make our mark by filling our days with work, our minutes with messaging and our seconds with social media. You would find your days would feel more significant if you spent them truly connecting with the people around you. You would feel more connected if you stopped to appreciate the beauty of nature and your relation to it. You would feel more special if you listened to your own unique calling and lived according to your own values. Your life would feel more full if you practiced gratitude and recognized all that you are blessed with.

It’s incredible how a few small changes can have a large impact on the quality of your life.

1) Wake up in the morning and smile. Stretch. Think of 3 things you have to be thankful for. When you start your day with positivity, you will find the rest of the day seems to follow suit.

2) Be Mindful while you eat. Don’t do anything else - no t.v., no work, no reading, just eat. Really enjoy your food. Appreciate how it nourishes and fuels your body. Give thanks to whoever prepared it for you - yes, even if that means giving yourself a pat on the back.

3) Cut your tech time! Do not let it be the first and last thing you see each day. Be less quick to respond. Check your emails less. Don’t jump to get your phone the second it beeps. People can wait. The world will not collapse if you do not respond right away. Check social media once a day, or less if you can.

4) Limit your T.V. time. Play board games with your family. Read a good book. Give yourself a mini spa night. Talk to your partner. There is so much you can fill your time with that will bring you more joy and satisfaction than Game of Thrones.
side note: in our family we have made watching Walking Dead and Game of Thrones an event by watching it with my sister and brother-in-law every Sunday; taking turns hosting and enjoying a bottle of wine while we watch. It isn’t even about the show anymore, it’s about time spent with family. You could create a similar event in your home with your favourite show, or PVR a few shows and watch them as a mini marathon once a week, eliminating t.v. every other night. 

5) Make a concerted effort to pay attention. Be present. Enjoy the sunset, the vibrant colour of flowers, the dogs playing in the part. Take note of how nice the breeze feels on your skin.  There is so much beauty and so many things to be thankful for if you pay attention.

6) Invest in the small things that make you happy. I used to balk at buying fresh flowers for my home, but I realized it was a rather small price to pay for the amount of joy I get from their vibrancy every day. Or the locally made, all natural body lotion that smells divine, even if it is a little expensive. Find the small things that make you happy and invest your time and money in them.

7) Consider the bigger picture. Yes, you are in the middle of something, but it means a lot to your family, friends, pet, when you can pause and give them your love and attention. The 30 seconds or 5 minutes it might take away from your work is minimal compared to the investment you made in your relationship.

Being mindful of your day-to-day can bring you more peace and happiness. When you actively look for beauty, you will find more beauty all around you. When you really enjoy the little things, you will find yourself feeling happier and more grateful. When you make a concerted effort to be present, you will feel less rushed and more relaxed. You do not have to overhaul your life to find happiness. Your happiness is all around you, you just have to open your eyes to it.

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