1. Home
  2. Wellness  
  3. 7 Ways to Improve Your Day  
Main content

7 Practical Ways to Improve Your Day

  • Do Try This at Home

  • The word “health” comes from an old English word of Germanic origin meaning “whole” -- not strong, or vital, but whole

    You probably think about your health most intensely when something goes wrong physically – when a pain or a symptom stops you from your usual routine. That’s perfectly understandable. You might even be one of those who takes proactive steps to stay physically healthy – by eating well and taking the right medications even when you are feeling fine.

    But to honor the concept of total health, MyLifeStages offers some ideas that aren’t your usual health tips - although they can definitely improve your day.

    MyLifeStages spoke with Dr. Tak Poon, a cardiologist with Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Burlingame. Dr. Poon takes care of people with heart disease in his medical practice, but he has a special interest in the concept of “wellness.” What does that mean?

    “Wellness focuses on an individual in the full context of his or her life – not just physical health, but work, mental attitudes, creative outlets, and especially relationships – of all kinds,” says Dr. Poon.

    In that vein, Dr. Poon offers these 7 tips for improving your day:

    1. Be grateful for something or someone. (A different one each day.)
    Time required: 1-2 minutes.

    The act of writing down your gratitude can help establish this pattern. And once you start looking for things to appreciate, it becomes easier to recognize the good things around you. See our article on cultivating gratitude.

    2. Forgive yourself or someone for something that cannot be changed
    Time required: Varies.

    Forgiveness is not condoning the former action, but relinquishing its hold on your mind and body. It can provide a huge sense of relief.

    3. Do one really nice thing for yourself, or another person. If somebody does a really nice thing for you, pass it along to two other people.
    Time required: Depends…A smile or compliment = less than a minute

    Be creative here. Caution: you may find this habit-forming.

    4. Slowly savor one food item that’s healthy for you.
    Time required: A minute or two.

    This just requires a shift in perspective. Take that bite of food as if for the first time. Slow down enough to really taste it. Ah….

    5. Give at least 3 minutes of undivided attention to nature, or to a live person. Start with someone close - and then move on to someone very different from you.
    Time required: 3 minutes.

    You might be surprised at how difficult this is the first time, if you are a busy multi-tasker. The secret is “undivided attention.” Just be still, look, focus. It might help to breathe deeply during this practice.

    6. Take at least 5 minutes to be alone, quiet and still, doing and thinking nothing. (This is harder than you might think but is the most powerful one on the list.)
    Time required: 5 minutes.

    OK, we’re upping the ante here - a few more minutes, and nothing in particular to focus on. See how it works. Again, breathing slowly might help.

    7. Take a walk or do exercise for at least 22 minutes. (This is based on medical research.)
    Time required: 22 minutes (or more, if you’re having fun.)

    Just put on solid shoes, open the door, and start walking. Go. We can almost guarantee you will feel better when you return. And exercise is one of the most consistently proven healthful activities possible.

    Taken together, these practices might consume an hour of your day, at the most. Don’t you deserve at least that much time out of your own busy life? Besides, if you do these things, you will serve the other 23 hours of the day much better.