If the sound of your alarm going off in the morning elicits a greater amount of dread and disdain in your soul than the sound of tornado sirens and crying babies, then your life may need a little remodeling.
The good news is, you are not alone in your desire to experience more happiness, joy and fulfillment on a daily basis.
And for decades, people have been trying to crack the code on how to make life more amazing so that you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time using ‘unlikely animal friendship’ videos to make the day go by faster.
And in doing so, researchers have come up with some pretty nifty ways to quickly improve the human condition. So read on, and find out the 3 scientifically proven tricks to level up your life so that you can start experiencing more awesomeness each and every day.
Number 1: Express Gratitude And Self-Love On A Daily Basis
Let’s face it.
Our lives get so damn busy that sometimes we neglect the basics.
You got a lot on your plate, and I get that.
You’re being a total boss at work, getting stuff done. You got a totally-cray-cray social life that needs to be attended to.
You have relationships with friends and family that need to be maintained through copious amounts of texting and face-timing.
You got sports to watch.
TV shows to binge.
Social media to scroll through.
But if you don’t carve out some time throughout the day to simply acknowledge the good things in your life AND remember how awesome of a person you are, you are robbing yourself of the happiness, energy and the drive that you deserve.
Science Says So…
Just google “gratitude + happiness + science” and see what pops up.
Turns out, people have been researching the science of joy for quite some time.
And the verdict is out: the easiest way to increase happiness is to express gratitude for the things you already have.
Study after study has concluded that the simple act of writing down 3–5 things you are thankful for is a sure-fire way to be happier and healthier.
Those braniacs at Harvard even agree that stepping up your gratitude-game will step up your happiness-game, so you know it’s gotta be true (they’re, like, so smart).
And if you think about it, the logic totally checks out.
It’s pretty much impossible to be grateful and sad in the same moment. It’s like trying to frown while petting a puppy or eating a slice of pizza.
Can’t be done.
Real-Life Says So…
Also, take it from a guy who has tangled with deeeep dark depression.
Gratitude is a total game-changer
At one of the lowest times in my life, the simple exercise of being thankful gave me the strength I needed to soldier onward toward greater things.
When I lost my mom to breast-cancer and was working at a job I didn’t care about, things were quite the shit-storm for me mentally.
BUT every single day I found 3 things, big or small, to be thankful for.
Whether it was the fact I had a comfy bed to sleep in, or the fact I had friends that I could talk to, or the fact that the lady at Chipotle forgot to charge me for extra chicken (CHA-CHINGGGG), there was always something I could genuinely appreciate.
Expressing daily gratitude has gotten me through some pretty tough times, and even though I am in a much better place now, I continue with this habit.
Because being happy is amazing.
Life is ALOT more fun when you remind yourself of the good things you got going for ya because it allows you to live in a state of joy and appreciation. (plus it only takes 5 minutes)
Do This Today
I don’t care how busy you are, take 3–5 minutes every day, either in the morning or before bed, to express gratitude for life and appreciation for YOU.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a google-doc on your computer, a file on your phone, or a bedazzled dream-journal covered in glittery unicorn stickers….
Just write down 3 things that you are genuinely grateful for in your life.
Don’t overthink it.
It can literally be anything, big or small.
Your family. Your dog. Your cat (if you’re a weird cat-person).
Your hair. Your shiny-dome (if you have no hair like me).
The cup of coffee you had today.
The fact your car started. Access to clean drinking water.
Eyes that see. Comfy sweatpants.
The fact that you can get chicken parmesan delivered to your house whenever you want.
Just write it down!
And then write down 3 things you love about you.
I know this is tough for some people, but trust me. This isn’t being conceited or self-obsessed. This is simply listing the things you appreciate about yourself.
It could be anything.
Your kindness to strangers. Your smile.
Your work-ethic. Your biceps.
Your cooking skills. Your driving skills.
How well you read. How great you look in your favorite shirt.
Simply ANYTHING you like about you.
Just write it down and you can’t go wrong.
So take it from me (and those science-people at Harvard), doing this exercise on a daily basis will skyrocket your happiness and energy.
Life’s too short to be stressed and miserable. Take 5 minutes and do this, and see the amazing things that happen.
Number 2: Own YOUR Fitness Journey
The second way to start making your life exponentially more awesome is to start owning your fitness journey.
Please note I’m not simply saying to go workout or hit the gym.
Or stock up on sick tank-tops that allow your epic triceps to shine in all their rightful glory (okay, you can do this, but keep listening).
What i’m saying is start relentlessly pursuing the path of creating YOUR best physical self.
Far too often, people exercise because they aspire to be like the hyper-fit individuals they see in the gym, or on instagram or on TV.
Do not do this.
Comparing yourself to the top .1% of fit people in the world is a recipe for disaster.
For starters, a lot of these people are chemically enhanced, photoshopped, or simply genetic lottery winners with a crazy advantage, so comparing your journey to their highlight reel will leave you feeling sad and frustrated.
What I am saying to do is get out a piece of paper, write down what YOUR best body looks like (aka what would make you smile to see staring back at you in the mirror) and then commit to taking one step toward that goal, each and every day.
Taking this approach will keep your mind focused on what is truly important, which is maximizing your health and happiness.
Instead of getting distracted or discouraged by what others are doing or achieving, you will be too busy concentrating on steady and consistent progress toward your best body.
This is also crucial because when you are consistently striving for a goal that is important to you (aka looking and feeling incredible), you will ignite inner-strength and inner-badassery (not a word….YET) like never before, and this will carry over into all aspects of your life (you’ll also get leaner, stronger, and healthier, which is good too).
Science Says So…
Ready for your mind to be blown?
Besides all the known benefits of exercise (like increases in lean muscle, reductions in body-fat and wayyy tighter butt-cheeks) studies have shown that working out makes you more ambitious and outgoing.
In an article for the HARVARD Business Review, DOCTOR Richard Friedman discusses the undeniable correlation between exercise and mental performance (anytime the words ‘Harvard’ and ‘Doctor’ are mentioned in the same sentence, you should probably pay attention).
He states that regular exercise improves your mood, your motivation, your productivity, and your ability to concentrate.
So not only does exercise make you more fit, but consistently improving and working toward your best body will have you feeling happier, more motivated and more productive on a daily basis.
So pretty much, owning your fitness journey will not only make you more fit, but it will also help you unleash more of the drive, focus and passion needed to level up your life.
Do This Today
Right now, you need to make an agreement with yourself.
Write down what YOUR best body looks like.
Not a body that pleases anyone else, but the exact body that you want to see in the mirror every day.
Once you’ve done that, write a promise to yourself.
Promise that you will commit to taking small and consistent steps to achieving that body on a daily and weekly basis.
Declare that you will not let yourself get distracted or discouraged by what other people are doing in the gym or online. You will focus on you and your progress only.
Then sign it and keep it somewhere you will see it regularly.
Once that’s done, simply find a workout program that aligns with your goals, and attack it.
Ferociously stick to your plan and only worry about your daily progress. Focus on getting a little better each and every week.
If you do this, you cannot fail.
PS- I happen to be a fitness coach who is ABSURDLY passionate about helping people achieve badass bodies, so if you need a little help in the planning department, click below to find out more and we can team up.
Number 3: Be More Selfless (and reap all the selfish benefits)
I’m sure you’re reading the above statement and thinking to yourself “that doesn’t make sense, maybe this guy was drunk when he wrote this” (I wasn’t…..was I?).
How can putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own illicit a plethora (my word of the day) of personal gains?
Well it turns out serving a purpose greater than your own can make you happier, healthier and wealthier.
So before you go accusing me of being a preachy idealist who thinks everyone should sit in a happy circle and sing ‘Kumbaya’, read on to see how helping others can be the very best thing for your health, your mindset and your bank account.
Science Says So…
I am a HUGE believer that helping other people and serving a purpose greater than yourself simply lights your soul on fire and creates amazing momentum in your life.
But hey, i’m just some guy on the internet who probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about, right?
Well turns out a bunch of fancy-pants scientists and researchers also agree with the amazing benefits that come along with serving others (so HA!).
For starters, serving other people will make you healthier and happier.
A combined study by researchers at UCLA and UNC found that eudaemonic (someone driven by a purpose greater than their own) individuals were not only happier, but were less prone to anxiety, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and had stronger immune systems to fight off infections and viruses when compared to their hedonic (someone driven by personal gain and pleasure) counterparts.
But beyond the health benefits, it turns out that trying to help other people will also make you more successful.
A nine-year study by The Journal of Research In Personality found that purpose-driven individuals had accumulated more wealth overtime and earned higher yearly incomes than their self-centered counterparts.
So if you are looking to increase your happiness, your healthiness AND your collection of sweet dolla bills, you should start taking action with the well-being of others in mind.
Do This Today
There is no one right way to increase the amount of purpose that drives your life.
Sometimes it is a matter of adjusting your mindset and sometimes it is a matter of adjusting your actions. But whatever your current situation is, you can find some purpose to rally around.
One way to do this is to take a deeper look at what you do on a daily basis, and try to look at it through the lens of helping others.
Are you simply in sales? Or do you help people with problems find much needed solutions?
Are you simply a personal trainer? Or are you showing people how to re-discover their inner-strength so that they can flourish?
Are you simply an account manager? Or do you ensure that hard-working people get the highest level of service and quality they need to grow their businesses?
Whatever you do, odds are you can discover at least one way that your actions positively impact someone besides yourself.
And you can use that discovery as fuel to incorporate more passion and meaning into each day. This will generate more happiness, which will improve the way you treat yourself and others, and will ultimately increase the amount of good circulating through the world.
Another way to increase the purpose that drives your life is to take action.
This can be any action, big or small, that allows you to use your time, energy and gifts to improve the lives of others.
It can be as small as volunteering one weekend a month for a cause you care about (feeding the homeless, working at an animal shelter, tutoring kids, hanging out with old people, etc).
Or it can be as big as ditching a job you don’t care about so that you can devote yourself to a non-profit who’s purpose really resonates with you.
Hell, you can even start your own business/blog/movement centered around a message you want the world to hear.
But taking action with the intention of improving peoples’ lives will undoubtedly increase the amount of purpose in your life.
You Need The Secret Ingredient
Want to know the most crucial element to making your life more amazing? It’s something so important that without it, none of these three suggestions I am making will be worth a damn.
The special sauce that brings everything together to help you unleash your potential and passion like never before is…..action.
You have to follow through.
You have to gather the courage to wholeheartedly try each of these methods, even if you are not entirely convinced they can change your state.
Because whether you believe it or not, science (and real-life experience) has proven that these three strategies will help you live a happier, healthier and more badass life.
Incorporate these three things into your life on a daily basis, and watch all of the amazingness unfold.
Originally published at medium.com