How to Improve the Quality of your Life

Do you find yourself feeling frustrated on a daily basis? Do you feel like a zombie, waking up each day to the same repetitive cycle that seems never-ending? Has the quality of your life decreased over time, resulting in a loss of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for the future?

We all get frustrated from time to time. Life can be overwhelming, even for the most astute-minded individuals. Without understanding where our lives are headed and why they’re headed there, the tough times can seem overbearing. Usually, we want to throw our hands up in silent resignation and utter the words, “I give up.”

However, life doesn’t have to overwhelm, and it most certainly doesn’t have to frustrate. You can improve the quality of your life by making a few small adjustments to your routines by altering your behavior and your way of thinking. And keep in mind that you’re not alone; we all go through long periods of frustration, anxiety, fear, upset, and worry.

It’s not difficult to overcome some of our natural tendencies to slip into a state of marginal depression. Sometimes, life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. But, oftentimes, the quality of our lives has more to do with the foundational habits that we routinely run on a daily basis. By improving our habits, we can improve the quality of our lives on multiple spectrums.

Defining a Quality of Life

Firstly, let’s describe what we mean by “Quality of Life.” For those of you who think that the quality of your life is equivalent to your standard of living, you’re wrong. Now, your standard of living, which essentially equates to your income, does have a marginal effect on your quality of life, but it isn’t the full picture.

Quality of life, as defined here, is the sum total of your health, happiness, vitality, leisure, and income. This formulaic approach helps to paint a better picture of the overall quality that people are subjected to. Yet, many people simply define their quality of life by the amount of money they have. And, while money is a good barometer, it isn’t the full equation.

Now, money does make the world go round. People with access to money and resources can most certainly improve many areas of their lives. But it’s also been proven in studies that those same people aren’t statistically that much happier. An increase in income only equates to a temporary improvement of happiness. Eventually, happiness levels baseline again.

Think about it in your past. Maybe you received promotion you were hoping for or you landed a dream job. For a short period, you were happy. But it was fleeting. Happiness doesn’t last forever when it comes to monetary gains, and it’s not the full picture. While money does give you access to “things,” there’s a reason why the saying “The best things in life are free,” exists.

The Hedonic Treadmill

In 1971, 2 behavioural psychologists, Donald T. Campbell and Phillip Brickman, coined the the term, “Hedonic Treadmill,” also known as “Hedonic Adaptation.” The term makes reference to the natural tendencies for humans to revert back to a set point of happiness after major changes – either positive or negative – to their lives.

The Hedonic Set Point, then, is a baseline of happiness that we all have, which we tend to revert to, even after things like a traumatic event or a major windfall of cash through say a lottery winning. In a study published by Campbell and Brickman, they showed that both lottery winners and paraplegics all returned to a baseline level of happiness some time after the event.

They further argue that we all have a baseline Hedonic Set Point, which is determined through hereditary means and experiential knowledge. And, although the baseline level of happiness might be different for everyone, the concept is very important to understanding the root of happiness and improving the quality of your life.

Improving your Life

There are certain ways that you can positivity influence the quality of your life. Increasing things like income is much more obvious to people than say increasing their happiness, health, or vitality. Money seems cut and dry. You either have more of it or you don’t. It’s easy to quantify.

But how about the rest of it?

Health, happiness, vitality, and leisure are also important aspects to the quality of life. How do you go about improving those?

Through the promotion and adherence to a certain set of positive habits.

Good Habits Increase the Quality of your Life

If you want to improve the quality of your life, you must do so using good habits. You have to eliminate bad habits and form good habits. Easier said than done, right

Good habits help to foster an increased level of happiness, vitality, health, income, and leisure. It just won’t happen overnight. Here are the top habits to help improve the quality of your life across these 5 spectrums

Happiness Habits
When it comes to our overall level of happiness, there are 5 top habits that you can institute on a daily basis to boost your overall level of joy and content.

#1 – Smile, even when stressed
The effects of smiling on stress have been well-documented. Smiling helps to send a strong impulse to the mind, which then alters your neurochemistry. Studies have shown that people who were told to hold a genuine Duchenne smile on their faces had lower heart rates after stressful activities.

If you can’t force yourself to smile, put a pencil in your mouth and the natural curvature of your mouth will help you to engage s standard smile. Try this for 15 to 20 minutes per day. You’ll be surprised, even if you feel depressed, on just how much this elevate your mood.

#2 – Daily gratitude
Spend 15 to 30 minutes every single day listing off what you have to be grateful for. Even if you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for, search for something. Maybe you’re in a financial hole, but at least you have the intellect in your mind and the ability to walk, talk, and reason. If you search, you can always find something to be grateful for.

Oftentimes, when we think about it, we dwell on things that we’re unhappy about. Until we lose something that we took for granted, such as a person, health, freedom, job, or anything else, we don’t realize just how good we had it. But you can change that. Thank the universe every single day for all that you have every single day. Put it out there in the world. Make it a habit.

#3 – Connect and spread love
One sure fire habit to develop that will boost overall happiness is the act of connecting and spreading love. Give someone a hug or let someone hug you. Pick up the phone and tell someone that you appreciate them, or simply listen to what someone has to say. You’ll be surprised and just how satisfying it will be to take an interest in someone else’s life.

This takes one phone call or in-person meeting per day. It can be with someone that you already spend your time with. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Show them love and kindness; pour it from your heart. What you put out into the world, you receive back 10-fold. Make this a habit and you will live a much happier life.

#4 – Meditate
This doesn’t have to be a religious experience. Simply practicing the art of meditation will boost your overall happiness, decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and ease anxieties. One recent study, published in JAMA’s Internal Medicine states just that: mindfulness meditation will ease the psychological stresses associated with depression, anxiety, and pain.

All it takes is 15 minutes of mindful meditation to achieve this habit. Sit quietly and be present. Don’t think about the past or the future. Don’t dwell on things or worry, just be in the moment. Sit silently with your eyes closed and listen to the sounds around you. Feel the air moving in and out of your lungs, the warmth of the sun on your shoulders, the coolness of the breeze moving across the room, and so on. Just be present. That’s all it takes.

#5 – Daily Learning
On a daily basis, learning is critical for our happiness, but it also affects other spectrums of our life’s quality as well. It allows us to grow, mature, and gain experiential knowledge of the world. It allows us to put life into perspective, and ultimately achieve our dreams by laying the groundwork for our personal and professional lives.

Find a newspaper, magazine, video tutorial, blog, or anything else that you enjoy using as a learning resource. Learn every single day and spend 15 to 30 minutes doing this. You don’t have to commit to huge blocks of time. As long as you do a little bit every single day, but you do it every single day, over time, this habit will help you to be a much happier and well-rounded person.

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