Stash your cell phone
Smartphones have undeniably made an impact on our lives. We often find ourselves mindlessly glancing at our phones, refreshing our Facebook newsfeeds and email inboxes–things that we were not doing 10 years ago. Now I’m not going to tell you that phones have ruined our lives and that we are doomed, but something that is true is that we have become obsessed with sending and receiving information. We go to concerts and a good portion of our time is spent snapchatting the most spectacular part of the event. Instead of enjoying and being fixated on what is happening in front of our eyes, we opt to view events through our 5 inch cell phone screens as we film them and show our friends what they missed out on. If we are not at a concert, we may find ourselves at a restaurant scrolling through pictures on Instagram rather than focusing on the people who have taken time out of their busy schedules to eat dinner with us. At face value, it sounds very silly that we devote so much of our time to a little device that cannot even talk or express emotions to us. At a deeper level, it still sounds silly to yield to a virtual cell phone world when we have living, breathing, and real things all around us. The more things that you have to appreciate, the brighter your life will be. Set your phone aside, and appreciate what is real and in front of you.
Talk to strangers
Life will often throw curveballs at you when you least expect it. Some people find themselves fearing the future because nothing in life is certain. To alleviate this fear, there are ways to prepare for the worst and more often than not, there is someone else out there in the world who has the same problem as you–if not an even worse problem than you. Sure your friends and family can help you by offering words of support, but often that is not enough. Help can come from the least expected places and that can be the 42 year old woman standing in front of you in the line at Starbucks. I am not telling you to disobey the cardinal rule your parents planted in your head to never talk to strangers. You should be wary of who you talk to, and if someone seems uninterested in having a conversation with you, do not engage any further. However, if someone seems approachable by all means ask them a simple question: “How is your day so far?” Showing signs of interest in someone’s day will automatically make them feel gratified, especially if it is asked by someone they would least suspect it to come from–a stranger. Even if the conversation does not extend past the question, you have already made someone’s day better than it would have been had they remained unapproached. If the conversation does continue, you might be surprised to hear responses including a personal issue. Perhaps you dealt with the issue some point in your life too and you can offer some guidance. Making others feel wanted in return will make you feel better. As the Chinese proverb goes,
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.