Last year, researchers proved that people who feel in control of their lives tend to live longer.
Of course, getting all your ducks in a row is no easy feat. How can you stay in control when life gets chaotic? These twenty-two suggestions will help you immediately feel more centered and grounded.
1) Acknowledge your need for control-– Don’t fight it– it’s human.
2) Breathe– Deeply. Purposefully. Stop what you’re doing and concentrate on your breath for one whole minute.
3) Lend a helping hand– Shovel a neighbor’s driveway or volunteer for a local animal shelter. Focus on someone else’s needs rather than your own.
4) Take a walk– Being outside will instantly boost your emotional health. Immerse yourself in nature for twenty minutes each day.
5) Stop asking “what if?”– Focus only the moment. Don’t let your fear of what happens next spoil the present.
6) Solve a crossword puzzle or Sudoku– Doing puzzles= instant gratification. If you’ve never tried one before, recruit a friend to help out.
7) Identify the reasons behind your actions– Often, we act before we mean to, causing us to make poor decisions. Be conscious of your thought processes at all times.
8) Let go of your mistakes– Write down five recent mistakes on small slips of paper. Tear the paper up and let the regret melt away.
9) Break up your day– Use a scheduling app to divide your work into segments. Do the same thing for too long and you’ll lose focus and confidence.
10) Take stock of your accomplishments– Flip through a yearbook or photo album and see all of the place you’ve been. Remember how it felt when you accomplished something big.
11) Switch up your vocabulary– Eliminate words like “can’t” and “shouldn’t.” Tell yourself you can do anything and your actions will follow.
12) Reexamine your diet– Cut down on sugar and stock up on greens, whole grains, and lean meats. Eat smaller, nutrient-rich snacks throughout the day to keep your energy high.
13) Forget multitasking– Give yourself permission to work on only one thing at a time. Do it well and finish it completely before moving onto the next task.
14) Reflect often– At the end of the day, take 10-15 minutes for quiet meditation. Write down five things you’re proud of accomplishing and five things you’d like to improve.
15) Make gratitude a priority– Your best friend’s laugh. A cloudless sky. Start the day off right by acknowledging three things you’re thankful for each morning.
16) Exercise– Do a half hour of cardio and reward yourself with a delicious homemade smoothie.
17) Plan your day the night before– Set out your outfit, pack your lunch, and put your work bag by the door. If you work from home, make sure your office space is neat and tidy at the end of each day.
18) Call your mom (or dad, or sister, or best friend)– Laughing or crying with a loved one will boost your emotional health and make you feel more motivated.
19) Learn a new skill– Learn how to knit, speak French, or make the perfect cappuccino. Show off your skills at a dinner party and leave your friends in awe.
20) Cross things off your to-do list– Put that to-do list somewhere you’ll remember. Cross off each item as you complete it and take a few moments to reflect on the accomplishment.
21) Create a motivational playlist– Check out the suggestions on Spotify and make a playlist that’ll make you feel calm and collected.
22) Cook a special meal– Track down a vintage recipe book and make something nourishing, like stew or risotto.
Last, but not least, remember to focus on the journey, not the destination. “Finish each day and be done with it,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. “You have done what you could.”