If you’re finding the daily grind is getting you down, we’re here for you – Becky Skuse has rounded up some expert ideas on how to fill your day with simple joys and make life that bit sweeter
1. Miniature world
Have you ever paused and spent a bit of time watching insects? Some of their activities are fascinating – bees flitting from flower to flower, ants rushing about carrying tiny pieces of food, spiders hiding under blades of grass. Try grabbing a magnifying glass or pair of binoculars and focus it on the ground. We think this is the very definition of finding joy in the little things and you never know what you might discover.
2. Nine-minute miracle
Recent research by The British Academy of Sound Therapy showed that there’s a recommended daily allowance of music for various mood states. They tested 7,581 people and found that you only need nine minutes of music to feed the soul and make you feel uplifted.
The type of music that worked best had a driving rhythm, fast tempo and happy lyrical content. Test subjects reported that they became happier, had more energy and felt satisfied with life. This musical boost had the knock-on effect of helping them to be more positive towards others. Overall, 89 per cent said they had improved energy levels, 65 per cent laughed more and/or felt happier, 82 per cent felt able to take on anything, 82 per cent felt more in control of their lives.
It shows that just small amounts of time can make a big difference to your wellbeing. So put a musical playlist together and give yourself the boost you need. For more ideas, visit britishacademyofsoundtherapy.com
3. Build compassion
“A feeling of connection and empathy can boost love within our relationships. A great way of reaching this is through a Buddhist meditation practice known as Lovingkindness. In this practice, you use words, images and feelings to extend a sense of compassion, friendliness, attention and care towards yourself and then to others.
Research shows this meditation increases your empathy and emotional intelligence so you will be more likely to notice and understand your loved ones’ needs. Plus, when you practice this meditation you are less likely to be critical towards yourself and others, have an increase of positive emotions and feel much more connected.
To start this meditation, repeat phrases that are open, such as: ‘May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I live in ease.’ Then extend the phrases to your loved one: ‘May you be safe…’ and so on.” Sarah Presley runs one-day mindfulness meditation retreat days.
4. Touching your heart
Don’t forget the power of touch for bringing little moments of joy to your day. During these times when we are unable to physically connect with wider family and friends, holding your partner’s hand, sharing a hug or stroking your child’s hair as they fall asleep can lower your heart rate, reduce feelings of stress and make you feel treasured. If these things aren’t possible, spending time with a pet or hugging a teddy bear are great alternatives that will help to build your sense of connection.
5. Happy home
“There’s something so soothing about sharing your home with a whole host of happy house plants. I wake up every morning to the sight of long green, luscious leaves and throughout every footstep around our jungle home, I’m met by one of my gorgeous green giants and it always makes me feel so good.
From the first day I moved into my first home, I knew I wanted to create a space that would be a complete cocoon of bliss. A tranquil, majestic piece of paradise that would make me feel calm, inspired and content.
Dreamy fabrics and textures that transport me back to times of exotic travels. Treasure adorned walls, full of flea market finds and sentimental stories. An abundance of nature and natural material homewares that bring joy to everyday activities and tasks like washing up, cooking and cleaning.
Ceramics, bamboo, rattan, plants, jute, stone – they feature heavily throughout our living space. Every item that enters our home has been given careful consideration. Not only is this process kinder to our planet, it encourages living more clutter-free and it conjures a smile to everyday living.
Why not feel joy when it comes to washing the dishes or preparing dinner for friends and family?” – Natasha Sidhu, award-winning interiors and botanics expert.
6. Mindful retail therapy
“The things you surround yourself with have an impact on your wellbeing and on the planet. So try to bring more love to your retail therapy. When I think back to a stand-out loveable shopping trip for me, it was the 90s and involved procuring a top. I ‘visited’ it, stroked the fabric, tried it on, mused and researched alternatives before deciding she was the one for me. Clearly, it was the whole process that left me loved up – and I loved that top for years. I hadn’t a clue back then, but I was mindfully consuming. Here are some ways to bring more love into your shopping:
- Slow down. Set a minimum of a day/week before purchasing.
- Consider wants versus needs.
- Think about your intentions. If it’s to get a new pair of boots, don’t look at the tops.
- Values. Fair trade is really important and this may limit which outlets you support.
- Why are you shopping? Is it for comfort? Can you meet those needs another way?
- Adopt a ‘one in, one out’ wardrobe system.”
Rakhi Chand works and writes from her practice in East London.
7. A lifetime of practise
“Learning to love myself happened by accident, but it didn’t just happen once. It happens every day, all day, because true self-love requires consistent attention to your thoughts and your actions in every waking moment.
It’s a lifetime of constant practise, where you choose what’s right for you in each of the scenarios that unfold in life from day to day. By making consistent decisions on a daily basis that align with who and what you want to be in the future is the best way to develop a sense of trust within yourself, knowing that you do what’s right for you when it matters.
For example, if I truly loved myself, I would be honest with myself in every moment. I would not lie about how I felt or ignore my true feelings. If I truly loved myself, I would not eat big fat slices of cake every day, as I know they are not good for me and don’t align with who I want to be in the future. If I truly loved myself, I would not keep drinking alcohol or taking harsh drugs and putting my body under extreme pressures on a weekly basis just to escape my feelings.
If I truly loved myself, I would learn to meditate and calm my mind instead of numbing myself with Netflix. Learning to love yourself comes in each moment that you have to make a decision. If you choose what you know to be right, you can’t go far wrong.” – Nat Rich, founder of I AM SOUND ACADEMY.
8. Natural healing
“CBD (short for cannabidiol) is undoubtedly one of the biggest wellness highs to hit the market over the last year. It’s a chemical compound from the Cannabid sativa plant, also known as hemp. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the plant so won’t get you high – THC is the part associated with the ‘high’ effect.
A natural and highly effective antidote to the world we live in, CBD is known for its ability to help improve many conditions, including promoting better sleep, aid better brain function, help with easing joint pain and reducing stress, anxiety and low moods. There are many ways you can incorporate CBD into your daily life, from chocolate and drinks to oils and even skincare.
But it’s crucial to understand the content of the product and choose a good quality formula blending organically grown hemp oil extract, especially if taking orally. Aim for broadspectrum varieties as these are thought to be the most effective and also CBD that is organically grown free from pesticides and chemicals, vegan friendly and NON-GMO as this means a cleaner, more natural formula.
Whatever CBD product you decide to take, I’d recommend doing your product research first and also talk to your doctor prior to taking anything.” – Lola Biggs, Dietitian at Together Health.
9. Daily dose of dance
“It’s impossible not to love your day when it involves movement and you feel better about yourself. Dance does that and regardless of age, ability or gender, there is a dance that will suit you. More rewarding than repetitive calisthenics, dancing is a sensory experience that engages your creative and cognitive mind, and it doesn’t require special equipment.
The benefits of dancing go beyond simply mastering a dance form – it has been proven to help reduce stress; improve educational outcomes and confidence; and provides many social opportunities. Heart rate up, physically tired, but amazingly mentally refreshed, the next part of my day is much more productive. It’s not all fun and games, but I always finish feeling happier and ready to have a more successful, enjoyable day.
So nothing can help you to take on the challenges of the day more than a daily dose of dance!” – Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance.
10. Wake up with a smile
“To start the day with a spring in your step, put on your favourite song and sing and dance around the house like no one is watching. You’ll get the body moving and release those feel-good hormones. Increasing your activity doesn’t have to be boring, so use your imagination to change the way you get from A to B.
Maybe crawl to the kitchen like a cat, or how about testing your balance by brushing your teeth on one leg while pretending you’re a flamingo. The list is endless – if you can imagine it, you can do it.”- Jenny Moon, play therapy fitness coach at Evolve Health and Wellbeing.
11. Love your yoga
“Making space in my day for yoga is non negotiable. The wonderful thing about doing yoga at home is that you can adapt it to how you are on the day and fit it into your schedule. If I practise early on, it gives me a sense of grounding and openness that I take with me into the rest of the day.
If I practise in the afternoon, it helps me to refuel and rest. If I practice in the evening, it helps me unwind and restores balance. What my home practice looks like depends on how I’m feeling. But it’s possible to do a complete practise and benefit from it in just 15 minutes.”- Divya Kohli, senior Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
12. Tap into loving energy
“Three Diamond Breath is an intuitive practice I created for a session called Breathe Love, which combines Reiki (three tanden points), Affirmations, Breathwork and Sound healing. Each element evokes unconditional love and universal energy. Here’s how to start doing it at home:
- Set an intention to be open to unconditional love.
- Close your eyes, sit with a tall spine.
- Place your right hand on your hara (three inches below your belly button) and your left hand on your heart. Breathe in and out through the nose for three minutes.
- Focus on your hara and feel love expanding with each breath. Affirm ‘I am powerful’ for three minutes.
- Visualise breathing into your hara, heart and third eye, see them shining bright like diamonds, as you continue to breathe, love expands through your entire being, into every cell.”
Jasmin Harsono, author of Self Reiki and founder of Emerald & Tiger.
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