10 ways to potentially improve the quality of your existence, and get more out of life
You are what you do and think. With a little practice, you could be exactly who you want to be. Better is just a decision away, happiness a few more in succession. You could be the person of your dreams in a relatively short amount of time with commitment and some specific intention. Personally, I had a very rough time in my teens, made some poor and not quickly solved decisions. There was no purpose in my life and I was only following the closest dopamine producing stimulation with little future planning. At the age of 18 I began a radical change, a search for purpose, and a pursuit of betterment. 10 years later, I am living a liberating experience surrounded by the things that make me happy and working my butt off in ways that I enjoy immensely.
Please enjoy this list of things you can do to promote a more efficient and meaningful existence. I have found that the best way to change my circumstance is to change myself.
Be aware of your screen time.
Television. Phone. Tablet. Computer. Everyone says it, you know it, I know it. We as a society spend so much time on our screens that our humanity and the interests that make us unique are dying away to blankness. Maybe you really do NEED those shows on netflix, but maybe it’s time to monitor and set limits. I cut cable 10 years ago, threw away my couch 2 years ago, and stopped watching any screen media at all about a year ago save for the occasional movie. I have absolutely no regrets. On a physiological level, sitting still for habits like this is extremely deleterious to your health and doesn’t strengthen the parts of your brain you need for executive functioning as you age and try to prevent Alzheimers. We can’t make more time into our days, but we can prioritize our time and make it serve us.
Control your blue light exposure.
Blue light causes slow damage to your retina, the back of your eye. It also causes a dopamine-producing effect that is addictive like actual drugs. It also interrupts the natural process of the body as it regulates sleep. You look into blue light for a minute or two, and your internal clock is set back from sleep a couple hours. If that list of reasons wasn’t enough to make you look for that setting on your screen right now, sleep deprivation does a ton of gnarly stuff to your body, and it’s like roll-over minutes, you get to keep it until you sleep it back into the green. Make an investment in your future by putting your eyes and sleep first today, turn on your blue light filter.
Exercise for your body’s wellbeing
Your body is constantly recycling itself, in every way, each capacity and function. You need to use your body in ways that tell it it needs to thrive. Osteoporosis happens as the body isn’t stimulated by compressive force, namely 4.2 times your body weight in force once a week. As the body downsizes, tissues become less dense, lense strong and less capable. To stay young and improve stimulating your muscles, and ranges of motion is essential. People do not become limited merely from old age, but from lack of use. Your body is incredibly adaptive, it only takes a couple weeks to change to begin meeting your needs whether they are more or less. Take at least 3 hours a week, split up however you like, to challenge yourself. If you do not feel challenged, you are not being challenged. Exercise will not only upregulate your body and relative fitness but it will protect against depression and negativity, better than zoloft!
Stimulate your brain.
Your brain, my brain, they are incredible. Not made of muscle, but like a muscle the mind forms and grows. Without training, it will not respond well, or take on great tasks. A great way to help that knowledge rest firmly in your noggin is, exercise! 30 minutes of exercise will stimulate your frontal lobe to produce Brain Derived Nuerotropic Factor which apparently makes your brain grow better and learn stuff good. Children in a PE program, scored on average 20% higher after exercise compared to those who did not. This comes from a book ‘Spark’, by John Ratey who says that movement helps our brains take on new knowledge. Also one thing I go to a screen for is the BrainHQ app, which I have been working on replacing regular web browsing with. You should strive to find activities and hobbies that challenge your abilities of perception and reasoning.
Read and listen to books
Your mind is stimulated in different ways by reading and different ways by hearing. Listening too and reading books is not only a relaxing therapeutic way to spend time it will also enrich your ability to communicate with others, and improve your perspective of the world and your place in it. After college, I did not start reading for pleasure and interest again until perhaps a year ago, and now I am reading at least 1 book every week. A great man once said to me, when great people are sitting down having a real conversation they nearly always discuss books. Many of my role models are constantly reading. Reading regularly improves your mind in the ways you would think improving concentration, memory, analytical thinking, and vocabulary expression.
Find something amazing to learn about and do in your spare time
Having a hobby, or interesting marketable skill has added a lot of value to my personal time and enjoyment. Your hobby could be anything, thank god my roommate’s is cooking. Having a hobby that is enjoyable and engaging is a huge source of energy and enjoyment in life. I don’t mean standing at a bar, or looking at your phone on a cardio machine. Personally, my only hobbies a few years ago used to be pursuing entertainment and pursuing stimulation. That involved some working out, tons of video games, social anxiety, fake friendships, a desire to fit in, depression. I started changing, doing things I was interested in and giving up what didn’t serve me. Last year I joined an Aerial gym for 6 months doing pole, silks, hoops, trampoline. This year I’m working on martial arts. I want to take some time over the summer to go deep on dancing. There will always be things for me to learn, it keeps me going and it makes things interesting for me.
Find a way you enjoy giving
It sounds less than practical, but doing stuff for other people is actually good for you. There was a time when I was extremely selfish and took absolutely no responsibility for myself whatsoever growing up. Now on my work bio it says I live in the spirit of service to others and that is 100% true, and I am so happy it is that way. “Everything you do to or for another comes back to you, many times multiplied”, said Napolean Hill perhaps my favorite man to ever walk the planet. Whether this is by providing more and better service than you are paid for, volunteering, offering pro-bono services, or simply being kind and courteous to all people. Giving to others will make you happy, it will. When you are happy, many benefits are more easily gained. Everything you do to and for another, you do to and for yourself.
Many things make you feel better now, improving yourself makes you feel better and actually be better in the long term. By creating your own improvements in your life, it will give you more control over your actions and promote a sense of self responsibility. The best way to offer yourself more from life is to improve yourself, and practice making decisions that better you. Self discipline is like a muscle and it must be exercised. It is hard for me to speak about this without wrapping in many other things, I must simply say that there is perhaps nothing in life more important to me than seeking improvement and I value that highly.
Personal responsibility can be an ambiguous term, and it is something i actively avoided for a good part of my life. One of my job goals used to be having a small responsibility, what a joke. It can be hard to look straight in the mirror and say ‘maybe it’s you’, but the answer is almost certainly yes. I have made it a habit that when I disagree with something, or have a negative experience to ask myself “What is it about me?” and there is always an answer. I own my problems, look for solutions, and constantly recognize that I am ultimately responsible for everything that happens to me, and how I react to it. As I mentioned, self-discipline is like a muscle and it must be exercised. It can also get tired, you only get so many good decisions a day then you’re staring at some screen media passed your bedtime eating the most sugary items in the house. Going from 0 to maximum self-discipline is a journey, but being fully in it is a very liberating experience. I sat infront of a peice of cake for 10 minutes this week at a meeting, and then threw it away! I walked by some girl scout cookies twice, and I avoided the office in the afternoon when I knew my resolve was worn out.
Have great posture
Taking care of your posture is, in my opinion, the single most important thing to maintain your body and health. Think about it like a car, you would not drive it around if you knew the tires were severely misaligned. You would go get it fixed immediately, and you can even throw it away and replace it in a few hours at the dealership. Well your joints are less replaceable, and if they aren’t aligned you are going to damage yourself. Companies like Egoscue, Feldenchrist and the Alexander method have sprung up to address posture in a therapeutic way. Experts like Kelly Starret author of Becoming a Supple Leopard say you should spend 20 minutes maintaining your body every day. That does not include your workout, meditation or other activities that is purely mobility work, posture work and other maintenance techniques. Read my work and the work of those mentioned to educate yourself.
I hope you have enjoyed this list! I am so passionate about self-improvement, and self care. Practice it, and you will always know that you have earned it. Gratify your today, or gratify your life the decisions are yours! We are always growing and changing, by being consistent in making our time serve us we can begin to tap our true potential for greatness. Faver yourself.