The self-help shelves are brimming with advice about what we’re "supposed to do" to feel better, think better, live better — you name it. But seismic shifts can be overwhelming. Do we really need to climb a mountain to live purposefully and be genuinely happy?
“I am going to share with you a few small ideas that you can use that will make you feel awesome, so that the next time you're looking for ways to improve your day or mood, you'll be able to do just that,” said author Jarrett Robertson.
In his motivational, upbeat book, Make It A Great Day: How To Feel Awesome So That You Can Help Others, the former Hockey pro turned consultant explores the “why” behind the things we can do each and every day to cultivate positive energy and use it to impact those around us.
Robertson shares practical strategies and small, realistic practices that can be employed, everyday, to make a difference in how you feel.
Here is an excerpt from Robertson's book, shared with the author's permission:
Drinking water is so vitally important to your overall health and wellbeing, and will be just the catalyst you need to start drinking a little more H2O.
1) Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Bodily Fluids
The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. This is everything our bodies need to
do in a day, and water helps them do it!
2) Water Helps Energize Muscles
Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes, shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well, and performance can
3) Water Helps Your Kidneys
Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water‐soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.
4) Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function
Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, and the result
is constipation (no fun getting a workout while you’re trying to get your poop out!).
No Elevators and Park Far Away
The whole idea of parking a little further away, and taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator, is for the simple fact that I can. I choose to walk those stairs and take an extra 15–30 seconds (literally) to park a little further away, because I can. My wife often gives me the “really?” look when we go out to do errands and end up at a Walmart or Home Depot, and I park where I do, passing 41 vacant spots on what people would label my “hike” to the store. It was 18 extra seconds; actually, I timed it. It’s 18 seconds of fresh air, a few extra steps, more of a stretch, and perhaps just 18 extra seconds to hold onto my wife’s hand or one of my kids. Do the things you can do because you can!
Make Yourself Laugh
Next time you’re in the car or somewhere by yourself, try laughing. You don’t have to think of anything funny; just start laughing. By laughing before you start your day, your workout, a meeting, an activity, or whatever it may be, you’re setting yourself up to feel awesome (proven by science).
- Short‐term Benefits - Laughing stimulates your organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen rich air; stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles; and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Think about the person that you run into who has just finished laughing. You immediately know and ask (or say), “Wow, you’re in a good mood,” or “What’s so funny?” And chances are, you smile right along with them. It’s contagious!
- Laughing Will Soothe Tension - As you laugh and you increase the oxygen rich air available to your body, it also will stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
- Long‐term Effects - Laughing can improve your immune system; how incredible is that? Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. Watch things, listen to things, and do things that you like and that make you laugh. It’s healthy!
- Relieve Pain - Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase Personal Satisfaction - Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people. Go figure! People want to be with people that make them smile. You want to be with people that make you smile, so be the person who laughs and smiles.
Most of us have learned that music is for entertaining. Listening to music can also be therapeutic,
relieving feelings of stress so that you can concentrate better. Research suggests that there are 6 kinds of music to listen to that can help you improve your mood, relieve stress, concentrate better, be more productive, increase your focus, and feel awesome. Note that 4 out of 6 recommendations (and potentially 6/6, depending on your preference) have no words. This is very important!
- Classical - Listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving your health and wellbeing. The absence of words seems to be the main factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus.
- Cinematic - Cinematic music scores can be empowering, lift your spirits, and brighten your mood. How is it that a movie scene can cause you to burst into tears, or have you on the edge of your seat in a battle scene? The music is scientifically designed to move you in ways you can’t do on your own. Try watching one of your favorite scenes in silence; I promise it will not have the same effect.
- Video Game - Listening to music composed for video games can be a great tool to help you focus. Every element of a video game is designed to create an enhanced gaming experience for all your senses, and the music can be composed specifically to help you focus on your task without being distracted by its cacophony of sounds. These musical compositions may be just the thing to propel you onward and keep you zooming through your tasks and your daily to do list.
- Music Between 50 and 80 Beats per Minute - An “alpha state of mind” is what scientists associate with “right brain” activity, or our subjective senses of imagination, creativity, memory, and intuition. When we are awake, we are typically in a state of mind known as “beta,” a heightened state of alertness where brain wave activities are between 14 and 30 Hz. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 Hz, we’re in a more relaxed alpha state of mind, which allows us to be more receptive and open, and less critical. The state of mind is what scientists associate with activities that involve our imagination, memory, and intuition, including our “eureka” moments. Listening to music set in the 50 to 80beat range, puts the brain into an alpha state.
- Your Favorite Music - When it comes to tackling projects that you’re not really excited about, it can help to put music on that you enjoy. Studies have found that putting on your favorite type of music can improve your mood and productivity.
Phone a Friend
I’m big on connecting with people that are fun to speak with: people that I know will make me laugh; people that I know I can make laugh, or perhaps help them in their day and inspire them—whatever it is.
The point of this is that I’ve made a conscious effort, and a list, to pick up the phone and call the people I know I’m closest with, to maintain that relationship. At the end of the day (and definitely when I get off the phone), I feel fantastic and my day is better.
For more information, visit www.makeitagreatday.ca, or follow the author on Instagram at @_makeitagreatday.
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