“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Ferris Bueller

Just as everyone has their definition of success, we all have slightly different ideas of what constitutes a high-quality life. However, there are some steps everyone can take to make life more enjoyable. Just taking these few steps can boost your well-being and make each day more meaningful, without drastic change.

Last year I visited my friend in Bangalore who was staying with her son who is a data scientist in a reputed technological firm. Techie, Busy, Workaholic…understandable. This was around Diwali time and my heart was in Mumbai for Diwali preparations. Anyway, during my stay I noticed that he came home around 10 PM, had dinner, exchanged pleasantries, took an evening stroll on the floor itself, and again opened his laptop. He worked till the wee hours.

My friend told me that this is his routine. On weekends he catches up with his sleep or visits his friends. He has not gone on a holiday for long due to work commitments. She continued that this is the life of all (well almost) the techies in Bangalore. They are bartering their quality of life over the quantity of their paycheque. To me, the atmosphere looked depressing and dull. I questioned myself: Do we provide good education (read fancy & expensive) to our children to lead this life? Certainly not! This way we are nurturing a generation of morons who do not know life beyond work. Is it a good way to lead life?  Certainly not!

To me, his life looked overwhelming. He was quiet most of the time and looked lost. He hardly looked enthusiastic about Diwali celebrations. Besides, I came to know, because of this kind of life his personal life had become complicated too. This way we see that complicated personal life, a frustrating career, or just dealing with the stresses of being a functioning human being in the 21st century, can all be a bit much to deal with. That is why it is important to take time to make small adjustments to improve your quality of life. These little changes can have a lasting and positive effect on your long-term mental health and outlook on life.

Certainly, there is a need to improve quality of life, whatever it takes. So, as a first step, you can begin with the following steps:

  • Smile any negative feelings away. the simple act of smiling can drastically change the way you feel at any given time.
  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • Try to learn something new every day.
  • Stay active.
  • Get the rest your body needs.
  • Organize your house and mind.

By making certain alterations to your lifestyle and attitude, you can go a long way in ensuring a healthy life.

To begin with, you can smile negative feelings away. The simple act of smiling can drastically change the way you feel at any given time. Smiling can prompt your body to alter the neurochemistry of the brain, resulting in a sunnier disposition. Numerous studies have shown smiling reduces stress, regardless if the smile is genuinely caused by positive emotions. So, if you are feeling down, turn that frown upside down and put a smile on your face!

Make it a habit to stay active throughout the day, even if you are bogged down with work. When we talk of physical health, we often think solely of exercise and a healthy diet. However, there is a third crucial component, and that is daily activity. As you are in a sedentary job, it is recommended to try to walk 10,000 steps every day. Try parking in the back of the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking to the local coffee shop instead of driving. These little steps can help you get in great shape but also can result in an improved mood and quality of life.

Another important measure that would ensure happiness in you is that you should make space for learning something new every day. Make each day part of a perpetual quest for knowledge. Learning is an essential component of happiness, satisfying our mind’s need for stimulation and to be challenged. It also can help put our lives in perspective as we gain knowledge about all the trauma occurring around the world. Go online and find an interesting article, how-to video, documentary, or something else that will challenge you, and try to spend at least 15 minutes a day gaining knowledge. You will find yourself quickly becoming a well-informed, well-rounded, and happier individual.

Finally, be grateful for what you have. It is often noticed that we get caught up in thinking about what we do not have, be it lamenting a lack of a fulfilling career, a luxurious lifestyle, or a successful relationship. However, instead of spending all that mental energy on what you do not have, instead, celebrate what you do have. We are all blessed with so many gifts to be grateful for, so try to create a list of all the things you are grateful for each day. It can be something as major as good health to something as minor as somebody holding a door open for you. Be mindful of how amazing life truly is.

So, lift your head, take a walk in the park, go shopping, watch a movie, laugh with your parents, and grandparents, and keep the child alive in you.

Spread happiness, be HappyHo.