The following ideas for increasing your well-being are offered by the team at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.
1) Take at least five minutes daily for some kind of contemplative practice—a mindfulness session, a period of reflection, listening to music, or whatever helps you connect to your deepest values and cultivate peace of mind. A benefit of practicing mindfulness (moment-to-moment awareness of your environment, body, and mind) is an opening to compassionate behaviors.
2) Remove the negative label from negative emotions. Emotions are tools. Anxiety and anger are tools. Learn to appreciate everything in your emotional toolbox. Learn how to use these tools more effectively by understanding what works best in particular situations.
3) Resist the urge to multitask or check your phone or email when you are working or conversing. Being more mindful by focusing your attention will boost your effectiveness and improve your relationships.
4) Create a “Victory Log.” Write a list of your past successes and pull it out when you have a bad day and need a reminder that you can do it!
5) Have self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. Everyone makes mistakes. Being kind to yourself increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goals. Practicing self-com- passion leads to making better choices about your health, too.
6) Engage in random acts of kindness, especially those that strengthen social ties with others, and you’ll reap the benefits of increased well- being. And by varying your good deeds (volunteering, holding the door for someone, complimenting someone, hosting a surprise party for a friend), you’ll experience even greater increases in your mood and well-being.
7) Keep the faith! Having a sense of hope leads to more productivity in your day and greater resilience in facing challenges. Shine the light on what gives you greater meaning and purpose, and invest heavily in those areas. Even better, surround yourself with the most hopeful people in your life for a boost to your well-being. Hopeful people experience gains in health.
8) Harness friendships. Build in time for friends and meaningful relationships (mentors, family members). Find ways to connect with others who are supportive, encouraging, and caring.
9) Practice gratitude but don’t overdo it. Trying to identify dozens of things for which you’re most grateful on a daily basis can have detrimental effects to your well-being. Instead, think of one or two things for which you’re grateful each day (or even on a weekly basis).
10) Seek out experiences that will make you happy, but resist the pursuit of happiness as an end goal. Even better, inject more novelty and curiosity into those experiences—change up your routines and don’t fear the unknown. Striving for greater happiness as a goal can actually backfire on you. There is no magic formula for happiness.