“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
– James Clear in Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Volunteer For a Cause
As a volunteer, you can make a genuine difference in the lives of others. And you know what? That feels good!
That’s why volunteering is the definition of a win-win. By helping others, you’re also benefiting yourself. Volunteering has been shown to reduce the risk of depression, improve mental health, increase confidence; even extend your lifespan.
There are so many ways you can participate in voluntary work – many of them in your local area or even from the comfort of home (letter-writing, for example).
VolunteerMatch.org is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities. Why not try it – and don’t forget to tell us about your volunteering experiences.
Let Your Mind Wander
Here’s a handy trick for those times you’re stuck on a problem or need to come up with something creative: let your mind wander.
According to studies , mind-wandering can:
- Improve creativity. If you let your mind wander while doing an undemanding task, your creative ideas continue to bubble away beneath the surface.
- Improve our mood. This is true i f we direct our thoughts to things that are positive or engaging.
- Improve performance on tasks. Letting your mind wander from time to time is like a refresh for your brain which, studies show, leads to fewer errors.
So don’t be afraid to set your mind free or indulge in a little daydreaming from time to time. Just try to keep your thoughts on the positive side (there’s a difference between mind-wandering and rumination) and harness the activity for times when creativity is needed. It might just lead to your next eureka moment.
Brook Harvey-Taylor, Founder and CEO of Pacifica Beauty
Between 6 am and 9 am, Brook Harvey-Taylor preps herself for a busy day of running her hugely successful beauty brand from home. Here’s her morning routine :
- Goes for a 30-minute walk on the beach with her daughter and dog. “That is my mediation,” she says.
- Picks some fresh flowers from her yard (“things that smell good”).
- Spends time with her daughter, watching cartoons and talking about what she’s up to at school, “although now with COVID-19, we just talk about our day to come.”
- Drinks fresh juice with veggie protein powder.
Why it works:
- Research shows that walking in ‘blue spaces’ (like the beach) is good for mental health.
- Fragrant flowers and fruits have real benefits. Plenty of studies show that certain smells can influence our mood, boost productivity, and more.
- Spending quality time with family is a really valuable addition to any routine. Not only are relationships important for our own health and happiness , they’re also crucial for the upbringing of healthy children.
A noteworthy habit of Brook’s is filling the house with fresh fragrances in the morning. True, not all of us have a stash of “lemons, limes, oranges, mint, guavas and fragrant flowers” in our gardens – but there are easy ways around that.
Sniffing some essential oils is one option. One study found that people who inhaled rosemary oil scored 15% higher on memory tests.
Or you could drink some peppermint tea, which has been shown to improve alertness.