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One Simple Thing You Can Do To Instantly Improve Your Day

One Simple Thing You Can Do To Instantly Improve Your Day

    “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum

    Are you familiar with those days where you feel like you have too much going on — way too much work, a dozen errands, e-mails to check, voicemails to listen to, and a growing list of things you really need to handle?

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    Or what about those days where you feel like you’re on autopilot and just going through the motions? Nothing is really wrong, but for one reason or another you just feel…blah.

    I am way too familiar with all of those types of days. In fact, I spent years having crazy days, blah days and all the other type of mentally draining days in between. It wasn’t that I didn’t have those “great” days, but they absolutely didn’t show up as consistently as I would have liked.

    I thought, “There has to be a better way. There must be something I can do differently.”

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    I knew I wasn’t supposed to rush through my day. I also knew that I was supposed to really live and experience the day — and sometimes I was able to actually do that. I had glimpses of how good the day could really feel, but I just wasn’t able to consistently not get sucked into the day.

    But, one day I figured out stumbled into “Time Ins” and life hasn’t been the same since.

    Take Some “Time In”

    A “Time In” is simply a conscious decision you make to take a break from all that you have going on and give yourself just 60 seconds to relax, recharge and most importantly enjoy silence.

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    You can be anywhere — work, in the shower, at a stop light, waiting for an elevator. The key is just to stop what you are doing, make a conscious decision to unplug from the world for just one minute and to focus on taking some deep breaths.

    I think one of the greatest things about any day is that we can choose to make little changes and instantly see things improve. It doesn’t take much to make the day better, but it does take intent.

    And, all that is required is that you choose today to change your routine up a little and add some “Time Ins” to your day.

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    3 Tips For Integrating “Time Ins” Into Your Day:

    1. Do it 3 Times A Day. Aim to take a “Time In” three times a day for 60 seconds. Ideally, you will take a “Time in” in the morning, the middle of the day and the evening. You can certainly take more if you remember, but three is a good number to start with. After you continually take “Time Ins” day after day, you will most likely want to take more than three. This is definitely a situation of “the more, the better” – so take as many as you can.
    2. Use All 60 Seconds. Take the entire minute to unplug. Just relax and focus on taking deep breaths for 60 seconds. Really focus on slowing down your mind and enjoying the “Time In”. Enjoy the silence and let go of whatever you were thinking about for just 60 seconds. Use a “Time In” When Needed. If you notice your energy draining or that you are getting worked up, stop what you are doing and take a “Time In”.
    3. Use the “Time In” to recenter and reenergize yourself before you jump back into whatever you were doing. It’s amazing how taking just sixty seconds to yourself will instantly relax and recharge you.

    Start taking your “Time Ins” today. I promise it will be one of the best things you have ever done for yourself.

    (Photo credit: Painting Sky via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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