“Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.” ~Dale Carnegie

When contemporary life and all its stress takes its toll on our well-being, it can sometimes feel like the strain can be too much. Fortunately, there are many ways to refocus our attention on the positive aspects of life, and the good news is that many such methods are neither expensive nor time-consuming. Here are just ten activities that are sure to make your life better.

1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

With institutions such as Harvard University coming out in support of mindfulness meditation as a means to fight stress and anxiety, it seems as though the practice is becoming more and more mainstream. Sites such as calm.com offer timed meditation sessions for people seeking a small break in their day, and the technique of mindfulness is so easy that it can be learned in a single session. For many devotees of the practice, the effects are life-changing.

2. Practice Playing Piano

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or simply refresh your knowledge of how to play, just ten minutes of practice a day can significantly improve your abilities. By building muscle memory and sight-reading techniques, you’ll find that your piano skills over the long-term take a swing for the better.

3. Write a List of Things You’re Thankful For

When life gets stressful, it can sometimes be easy to forget that many things in our lives are good. By writing out a list for ten minutes on what you are thankful for, you will find a little bit of sunlight even in the midst of what might seem like a storm.

4. Read an Uplifting News Story

Sometimes reading the newspaper can be a one-way ticket to negative thinking: when everything in the world seems wrong, it can be difficult to find the good in our own lives. With good news sites like Positive.News, however, it’s easier than ever to focus on the positive in the world.

5. Make Yourself Laugh

Laughter may improve your mood and help manage stress. If you laugh regularly it can help improve cardiovascular health, decrease pain and boost your immune system.

Induce laughing by watching funny shows, clips and movies. Starting a Pinterest board of funny images you find online or calling someone who usually loves to joke can be a great way to induce laughing as well.

6. Tell Someone You Love Them

A great way to feel better and to improve your life is to take a moment to call or email someone you love and let them know how you feel. People often try to be modest and not bother others, but we can sometimes forget how much it means to someone to hear that they are loved.

7. Reconnect with a Friend

With social media being almost omni-present in our culture, it’s easy to forget that someone we miss is only an invite away. Who knows, you may rekindle a friendship that ends up being one of the most satisfying of your life.

8. Sign Up for a New Volunteer Job

A great way to feel good while doing good is to search the Internet for local nonprofits that need volunteers. (Sites like Idealist.org list hundreds of opportunities for volunteer work, for example.) In under ten minutes, you might be able to find a charity that is doing much to improve the lives of others in your community. Taking part will make you feel like you’re a force for good while helping others.

9. Visualize Future Goals

With fun applications such as Google Image Search, a great ten minute activity can involve simply searching for places or things you’d like to experience in the future. Using Google Maps to take a “digital walk” in cities like Paris or London is also a fun way to travel the world in only a few minutes.

10. Tend a Garden

For many people, creating a garden is one of the best ways to feel connected to the cycles of nature. For ten minutes a day, tending a garden is a great way to feel in tune with your surroundings. And that is a chance to change your life for the better!

Improving our lives and attitudes doesn’t have to be time-consuming. In fact, almost anyone can find ten minutes to change their lives for the better at little to no cost. That is self-improvement at its best!


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