This post is written to wake you up. You are the driver in this vehicle we call life, and we all know how dangerous sleeping at the wheel can be. Being the careful, yet adventurous, powerful, and fun-loving driver that you are, you get to go down roads unimaginable, at whatever speed you desire.
The first trick to getting a firm grip on the wheel is realizing that the world outside your vehicle isn’t controlling where you go. You are. The world has little to do with outside circumstances, and everything to do with what happens in the driver’s seat…your mind.
With a simple change in mindset, you can shift gears and improve your life instantly. Below are 11 simple tricks you can start applying today and begin seeing immediate results.
11 Simple Tips to Improve Your Life Instantly
#1. Understand The Power Of Belief
First and foremost, we must discuss the undeniable power of belief. The magnitude of how quickly your life can change is a measurement of how much you believe in the power of your mind.
This is science, folks. Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief studies have shown that the brain of a cell is not found in the nucleus or within the genes of DNA like we are so often led to believe.
In fact, the brain of a cell is found in the cellular membrane, the very outer layer of the cell. This shows that our biology is not limited to, or a victim of, our genes, but instead controlled by signals from outside the cell. Meaning the chemical messages sent from the brain.
Who do you think is in charge of the chemical messages sent from the brain? Certainly not a magical gypsy. YOU are in control of those messages. What you choose to believe and how you perceive the world around you is what controls your entire biology, and your world.
#2. Look Around You
You’re going to miss this (I frequently write this on my arm as a reminder). In life, we hardly ever take the time to stop and look around at the magic that is already happening. Life is constantly changing, and we often wait until a moment is over to realize its greatness.
Someday we might be looking back on the times we are having right now (I generally do this when I hear music), thinking to ourselves, “man, that was great.”
With regret, we often then realize that we had been sitting like bystanders, watching it all go by. Not truly living in it, or recognizing it for what it is. The times in life that I have been the most happy, I knew I was happy.
Stop, look around you, and be in the present moment. Take a deep breath, and feel it for what it is.
No matter what situation I find myself in, I am always saved by remembering that my state of mind and my rate of breathing are completely entangled. The slower I am breathing, the slower my mind is working and the more control I have over it. On the contrary, the more rapidly my breathing becomes, the more erratic my mind is.
Gaining control over your breath means gaining control over your mind, and control over your mind means control over your body. It all begins with the breath.
I often notice myself breathing quickly and shortly, finding that my thoughts become frantic and muddled. As soon as I correct my breathing, I feel my entire self becoming a lot lighter and clearer.
Seven big, deep breaths will usually do the job. It’s the simplest, quickest trick to instantly improve your life.
#4. Be Mindful
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys, how’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’” – David Foster Wallace
I was in line at a grocery store once and this lady frantically cut in front of me, continuing forth to be very curt and demanding to the clerk.
“Whoa, how rude, I can’t believe that! Ugh! Can you believe some people?” I rhetorically asked my friend, obviously venting.
My friend took a deep breath and said calmly, “I heard her on the phone in the bathroom. She just found out that her sister got into a terrible car accident and might not make it, she’s probably trying to get to the hospital.”
Boy did I feel terrible. No wonder she felt rushed and frantic. I felt like such a jerk for not even considering what her world must be like. That feeling I had, accompanied by the realization that the world exists outside my own personal universe, is what David Foster Wallace described as “water.”
What he means by that is sometimes in life, the most obvious, important realities, the things that are happening all around us, are oftentimes the most difficult to see, and usually go unnoticed.
Believing that we are the most important and only thing in our worlds, we tend to think the worst of others.
The trick to being mindful is deciding how to think, and what to think, especially throughout all of our most monotonous routines like going to the grocery store.
It is our natural default setting to think selfishly, but if we just snap out of that and choose what we want to consider and how we want to feel about the situation, our worlds can change.
For example, road rage is a real thing. But in your life, it doesn’t have to be. When a person cuts you off, perhaps consider that maybe they just found out their sister got into a serious car accident and might not make it, or maybe consider that their wife is in the passenger seat going into labor.
It doesn’t matter if these things are true. It’s a matter of making a conscious decision of how to think about them.
If you would like to hear David Foster Wallace’s full speech and learn more about being mindful, here it is.
Through visualization, your imagination acts as an incubator for your dreams. You could call the visualizations “pre-matter,” because what we are visualizing is what will be materialized in the world we see outside of ourselves. Our thoughts and inner images all have a consciousness of their own, and they yearn to be manifested physically, acting as cogs in a reality machine.
The biggest road block people come across with visualization is in their limited thinking. It is not the power of thought that is limited, it is our belief systems.
Perhaps by starting with something small, and seeing it manifested, we can begin to work our way up to bigger and greater things. This of course, is the slow way to bring greatness into our lives.
The more deeply you understand your power, the quicker things will manifest.
My most prominent limited thought is that I have to work really hard to get things in life, which means that money can’t flow easily to me and that I must be somewhat of a slave to “the system.”
Since this belief system has been ingrained in me by society since I was a wee little tot, it is difficult to let go of. What I do instead is just focus on and visualize self-worth and abundance.
I close my eyes and see myself walking in a bright light with my head held high, and I feel this big expansion in my chest. The feeling represents my worthiness equal to everyone else’s and everything flowing into my life easily and effortlessly.
I don’t imagine certain things happening, I simply imagine the feeling I want to have, and the more and more I do so, the more I feel self-worth and abundance radiating in and out of all the inner workings of my life.
Dream and visualize as far as your beliefs will let you, and don’t be afraid to dream BIG. With the power of belief, it will begin to manifest.
#6. Create A Story Of Your Day
This is a fantastic way to start visualizing. Physically or mentally write a story of your day before it happens. Think about how you would like it to go. Think about the energy you want to have. The energy you want to put out into the world. What you want to accomplish and how you want to affect people.
At first this exercise might seem silly. But once you get going with it, you will begin to notice the little things in life and all of the joy and happiness that we tend to overlook as we go about our day.
And as time passes, you will find yourself in a better mood and happier with life.
#7. Be Alert. Evolve. Adapt.
As a nomad, it is sometimes really difficult to not continuously look back on where I’ve been and miss it, especially when I leave somewhere great. What has helped me get through the hardships of my nomadic lifestyle more than anything is remembering to be alert, evolve, and adapt.
Anytime life has me feeling crazy, like I just took some giant steps from where I felt comfortable, it is important that I become alert to the process and what is happening.
Then I remind myself that I am constantly evolving and moving forward. I may look back and miss the person I was in Nicaragua, or the life I had there, but now I am someone bigger.
I am bigger from the experiences I had, the lessons I learned, the people I met, and the person I was. Now I am stepping into a new, more evolved self.
The mindset of “I’m moving forward, I’m evolving,” gives me so much room to gain new experiences, learn new lessons, meet new people, and become a new, wiser, more evolved person.
Lastly, I adapt accordingly, and live life through this new, fresh lens.
When life shakes you and you feel as though you might fall over, take a deep breath, reminisce with clarity and appreciation, and take a step into that new, reborn person.
Create that peace of mind and confidence in your ability to grow. The more conscious we are of our evolution, the more quickly we evolve.
#8. Crank The Tunes
You heard me correctly. Studies show that when we are listening to and enjoying a song we like, our blood pressure and stress reduce, and our moods are instantly improved. Did you know that cortisol, the stress hormone, shuts down many parts of the prefrontal cortex?
It makes sense. If we are in a “fight or flight” situation, we need our instincts. So if you are stressed out about a test for example, it will greatly increase your test score to listen to a song you love and dance around a bit instead of cramming at the last second.
#9. Empty Your Head
Want to feel clear-headed and free all the time? Carry a notebook around with you and write down important thoughts throughout the day as they pop into your head.
These thoughts could be genius ideas, inventions, things you need to get done, things you are worried about, two words that rhyme, it doesn’t matter.
Your notebook will take care of them for you, so you don’t have this background stress of trying to hold on to all of these thoughts. When you clear your mind, you leave space for new, brilliant thoughts to walk in. This is how geniuses are made!
Personally, journaling is my go to stress reliever. It is great to get the worries and thoughts out of my head and on to paper. Plus it serves as a healthy reminder and puts things into perspective.
When I read back over what I’ve written, I realize not all of the “end of the world” situations were that big after all. And the ones that were big and stressful show me that I can get through and overcome most anything.
#10. Fill Up Your Own Cup
Appreciation, happiness, validation, and love are all things we commonly look outside of ourselves to find. Our lives begin to become a struggle because we are relying on other people to fill up our metaphorical “cups.”
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far in my life is that absolutely no one should be responsible for filling up your cup. Your self-appreciation, happiness, validation, and love all need to come from within you.
After you have filled up your own cup, you can let it overflow into the cups of others. No one else can possibly be responsible for filling up your cup, as well as their own.
#11. Look At Troubles Differently
One immediate and sure way to improve your life instantly is to change your perception of troubles and difficulties. As Paulo Coelho brilliantly said, “‘Difficulty is the name of an ancient tool that was created purely to help us define who we are.”
Meaning difficulty helps build our character, and it is how we respond to it that shapes who we are. Rather than looking at difficulties as tormentors, try looking at them as teachers.
Know that every time you are uncomfortable, it means you are growing.
So when faced with a difficult situation, focus on how it is helping you grow, and how you are becoming a stronger person because of it.
At the end of the day, you have the power to change your life for the better. You don’t need to attend seminars or conferences in order to do so. You just need to form a plan and then follow it. By taking a combination of the small steps outlined above, you can begin to improve your life instantly.
While you won’t completely change your life for the better overnight, you will begin to make progress each day and see these changes compound into the overall good in your life.
So wake up, shift your mindset, get that firm grip on the wheel, and start driving down roads unimaginable, perfectly paved, and yours for the taking. You are the driver, and you can start improving your life, right now.