Three simple things you can try to live your best life
Allow me to start by saying I am a person just like you—I struggle with mental health from time to time. The following principles I am going to share are based on my own personal experiences; they are not peer reviewed nor do they come recommended from doctors, but, they are practices I use to help me live my best life. Let’s consider them “field tested”. Here are three things you can TRY, to help you live your best life too.
1. Bite the Bullet and get a BUJO.
What is a ‘BUJO’ you might ask? ‘BUJO’ stands for Bullet Journal, a daily mindfulness practice created by Ryder Carrol and based around quick thought journaling. Now, I won’t get into the weeds of Bullet Journalling and how it works—you can go down that rabbit hole should you choose to do so—but, I am happy to share three of the ways I use my BUJO tolive my best life.
- Compliment log:
- It’s widely known that we remember more negative experiences than we do good, sowhy not write down and solidify the good ones? Every day, I take a few minutes to write down external affirmations I receive from others. This includes loved ones and strangers. This can be anything from a friend who said, “You’re really funny, you know that?”, or “Your hair looks really nice today” from a stranger in the elevator. When you like it, you log it.
Writing affirmations down solidifies them in your mind. Youmay be surprised at how quickly these compliments add up. Soon, you will be sitting there looking back at your journal realizing you have over one hundred compliments and, let me tell you, one hundred external affirmations quickly outweigh the one or two negative ones you might be stewing on.
- Gratitude journal:
- If you’re grateful for it, write it down—it’s as simple as that. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything going on around us that we can or cannot control. One thing you can control is taking a moment to write down three things you are grateful for every day. I find the key is to write something new down daily. For example, I am grateful for coffee everyday; however, if I were to write that down whenever I felt that way, I would have an espresso epilogue, a book of beans and blessings, not a bujo that betters my life. Some days it’s a momentary struggle to think of something new, followed by sweet relief and a small smirk thinking about yet another thing in your life you are grateful for.
- Brain dump:
- Get it all out. Let me repeat that one more time for the people in the back. GET. IT. OUT. You’re only human, and guess what? The average person has over 6,200 thoughts per day. Get a few of them down on paper and clear some precious brain space for yourself. After all, you’ve got to save room for the 400 TikToks you might watch tonight. A ‘brain dump’ does not require any rhyme or reason, simply write down whatever ruminating thoughts you have or new ideas that come to mind. This may seem very generalized or a basic suggestion; however, I can promise you it helps tremendously. The only person that needs to be able to read it is you. Clearing a little mental space creates room for creativity, focus and clarity—who couldn’t use more of that?
2. Get outside and exercise
Duh. We all know this is going to help. I’m just here to give you one more nudge to get off your couch and do it. Here is your this-is-the-sign-you’ve-been-looking-for moment. It’s no secret that exercise—in whatever form you like—releases endorphins and dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brains. I’m not saying you should run a marathon or start bodybuilding (if that is your thing, all the power to you), just get out there and move. I personally enjoy hiking—or at least that feeling you get the moment you reach the top, pluseating Fuzzy Peaches and Swedish Berries along the way). I also enjoycycling, bouldering, yoga, kickboxing, running and weightlifting. I exercise not for aesthetic reasons, but because I am grateful to be blessed with an able body and I want to take on the physical challenges life throws at me. It’s not always easy to get up and move. In fact, most days it’s the opposite. Believe me, I would rather sleep in or lie down on the couch and slowly transform into a potato most days; however, I have never finished a workout or bout of exercise that I wasn’t immediately incredibly grateful for. The key is to just start; the hardest part is getting in motion. As soon as you finish reading this blog, I challenge you to get outside and move!
3. Be selfishly selfless:
Take time to be selfless, not to take a ‘selfie’. Do something for others without asking for anything in return—this is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Everyone has gifts and talents—yes, including you—that can be used to help or benefit others. I’m not talking about money, though that is perfectly okay, if that is what you have and feel compelled to give. I’m talking about singing, writing, creating and giving of your physical being and time. I personally enjoy using the gift of photography to capture family and friends so they can see through the camera’s perspective just how beautiful they really are. It’s important to me that, amongst being a career photographer and the daily work of owning and operating Roam Creative Agency, I save time for the fun stuff—the images that are just for others, with nothing asked in return. I am confident if you implement this principle alone, your life will improve in a drastic way.
I am clinically diagnosed with ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Dyslexia—I struggle with mental health just like everyone else. At the end of the day, this is my version of the ‘TRY-fecta’. I am not a doctor of medicine, nor am I professionally trained in the field of psychology; this is just a glimpse at a few of the things I do on a daily basis that might help you too. Regardless of how you choose to use these practices, the important thing is tokeep trying. There are no quick fixes, but consistent effort extended over long periods of time will certainly help you live your best life.
This blog was written in partnership with Jay R. McDonald, creator of Romance Your Wild. To view and read more of his work, visit Romance Your Wild.