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Last Updated on September 1, 2020

9 Powerful Questions That Can Improve Your Quality of Life

9 Powerful Questions That Can Improve Your Quality of Life

The other night, I woke up with a start at 2 a.m. Smoke was billowing through our bedroom window. The winds had shifted and a wildfire blazing many miles away was getting worse.

Fear gripped me. My mind panicked as I thought of all the possibilities of what might happen next.

Suddenly, however, I felt a deep sense of peace overcome me. I noticed my breath. I felt the beating of my heart. I remembered that at that moment, I was okay. My family was okay. I didn’t know what was coming next, but I was comforted by my awareness that in that little point in time, there was still so much good. That shift made all the difference.

There may have been a time in my life when I thought a quality life meant achieving a certain level of success. Now, I look at life much differently.

I now believe living a quality life is about moments like these—moments when things are tough and somehow, we find our way to turn things around, from fear to calm, from blame to empathy, from distraction to clarity—moments when we can be grateful for all that is right even when so much seems wrong.

We might not do this all the time—most of us don’t. It’s natural to complain or feel fearful when times are tough. We might not act exactly as we want to. We might make mistakes, lots of them. We might not do things perfectly.

But when we get off track, I think the secret to a quality life lies in discovering how to find our way back, to turn things around, to do the hard thing even when we don’t want to, to make amends, find the silver lining, and sit with ourselves and others even when we feel afraid.

To help us do this more often—create turnarounds in our lives—I have found that asking ourselves these nine questions can help. Here are 9 questions you can ask yourself to improve your quality of life.

1. What Do You Value?

If life were to end or change dramatically for you today, what would you hold most dear? What would be most important to you? What matters most?

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Our lives become richer when we ask ourselves this question often and challenge ourselves to reflect those values daily in the choices we make, thoughts we think, and words we say, day in and day out. We might get distracted or off track, we might forget, but the more we connect with what matters most to us personally, the better our lives become.

2. What Unique Gift Do People Receive By Just Being Around You?

Sometimes, we get so caught up in life that we forget one core truth—we are unique, and as a result of that uniqueness, we each have something to offer others and the world that no one else can. That is hugely important.

You matter. You have value that has absolutely nothing to do with what you have achieved. Your value is simply a result of being who you are.

Who are you, really? Who are you when no one else is around and you are doing something you love doing just for the sheer joy of it? Who are you when you are alone with your thoughts? Who were you when you were a small child enchanted by wonder for our world?

When you are just being you, connected to your highest self, without worrying what other people think, what do you feel like? What is your energy like? What is it like to be you? What is like for others who are around you when you are in that state?

This is your gift. One thing I know for sure: the more you are able to connect with that energy—that essence of who you are—and accept and let it shine, the better your life becomes. Guaranteed.

3. What Do You Stand For?

If someone you love needed your help during a very difficult time, what would you want them to know? What advice would you offer that would make a difference? What is your personal message—the thing that answers most dilemmas in your life and in your opinion—that can help others the most?

I believe living a quality life is all about spreading our unique message, wisdom, and encouragement in whatever form it comes to us as often as possible through our actions, energy, and words.

4. Who Do You Love Most?

When we are in crisis, who matters most to us becomes clear. Right now, at this moment, who are the people you most love and care about? Whom would you miss most if they were gone?

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The more we put our full energies into our relationships with these people—striving to be the best parent, partner, and friend we can be—the better our lives become.

This means nurturing and cultivating these relationships, learning to listen, reaching out, telling others we care, and asking how others are. Cultivating depth in our relationships comes from being willing to learn from others, noticing the unique value they offer, and expressing gratitude.

Truly loving means letting go of the small stuff, setting loving boundaries, doing our own work, having empathy and understanding, giving of our full selves, and reminding these special friends and family members as often as possible how much they mean to us.

The words “I love you,” looking at each other in the eyes and deeply connecting by being present, paying attention, and really listening can make miracles happen in our relationships and our lives.

5. What Brings You Joy?

What truly brings you pleasure, the kind that goes deep? Is it the balance in your checkbook or when a baby reaches out her hand and offers you a cheerio or a puppy leaps a toy? Is it your ribbons and trophies, or is it the rush you get when you are creating or doing something you love completely in your creative zone?

Do you find joy when looking at photos of all the places you want to travel to someday, or looking around at the absolute miraculous beauty of where you are in this moment—like the wildflower sprouting up through a crack in the concrete or the way the sunlight is hitting your kitchen window?

The more we focus on what is good about our lives in each moment with gratitude and honor those things that truly bring us joy, the more our joy expands.

6. What Makes You Laugh About Yourself?

True humility comes with a sense of humor. When we realize how funny our foibles are, we stop taking them so seriously.

What’s a mistake you recently made? What’s something totally embarrassing and human you have done? What’s goofy about you that makes you chuckle?

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When we gain the ability to soften around our humanity—to stop trying so hard to be perfect or the most beautiful, productive, successful or best and instead embrace ourselves just as we are—there is a softness about us that naturally leads us to be more likable, understanding, and loving toward others.

This is not the bully kind of laughing at your self that is mean and critical. This is the sheepish kind of laughter that is kind and magnetic, the sort of humility when we don’t take ourselves too seriously and are authentically okay with not always being okay.

When we dare to see and accept ourselves—all of ourselves, the quality of our lives improve.

7. What Do You Really Want to Create?

Having a sense of purpose makes life better. Research backs this up. Research has shown that even at the end of life, having a project that gives a sense of purpose improves the quality of life. It also makes us more confident. We remember our value. We remember we matter. And we have something worthwhile to dive into when we need a positive distraction.

What is something you really, really want to create? What is something you want to create for others to enjoy? What is a pursuit that makes your heart sing?

It doesn’t have to be your job or business. It might be a garden or an artistic project. It might be creating a beautiful nurturing home. Whatever it is, make time for whatever it is that your soul is calling you to create in this moment, this week, and this lifetime. Pouring your whole self into it will make your life better.

8. What Isn’t Working (and What Are You Doing About It)?

What are those small things that are nagging you? What are you doing about them? Rather than complaining (which we all do), what’s your plan? What can you do today to start fixing them?

There is so much in our lives that are out of our control, but there is a lot that is in our control that we often don’t take time to do.

The small stuff matters, whether it’s clutter, wanting to be more in shape, or cleaning up your neighborhood. If there’s something you find yourself complaining about a lot (even if it’s just in the privacy of your mind), what is one simple step you can take today to improve it?

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Little steps go a long way when done consistently and strung all together. Just for today, choose to do one small thing to make your life better. Maybe your biggest complaint will one day become your greatest turn-around story.

9. What Helps You Turn Things Around?

What is your unique strategy for turning things around when life isn’t going as well as you’d like it to? What helps you to reach out, forgive, repair relationships, or find things to be grateful for in difficult moments?

What helps you turn around when you’re heading down a path towards being in a bad mood? What helps you change your mindset, take your power back when feeling overwhelmed, and choose to do good in the world and your own heart?

There is not a simple formula for living a quality of life. Only you know what works best for you. Only you can turn your mood, relationships, self-care, and life around. Only you can change a ho-hum moment into one of the best of your life.

Final Thoughts

Asking the above nine questions can help you uncover your personal formula for improving the quality of your life. You might want to bookmark this article and over the next nine days, ask yourself one of these questions, one per day.

Journal about it, discuss it with a friend. Be on the lookout for your personal ah-has.

You already have the formula you need to improve the quality of your life. You just have to uncover it and apply what your soul already knows about how to create the best life for you.

More on Improving Your Quality of Life

Featured photo credit: chris liu via unsplash.com

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Laurie Smith

Inspirational Writer. Coach. Healer.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

Here are some study tips to help get you started:

1. Use Flashcards

Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

As Tony Robbins says,

“Repetition is the mother of skill”.

2. Create the Right Environment

Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

4. Listen to Music

Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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5. Rewrite Your Notes

This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

6. Engage Your Emotions

Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

7. Make Associations

One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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