6 Simple Things to Make Your Summer Better
Summer is a time of warm temperatures, sunny skies, green leaves, cookouts, vacations and more. In short, it's a season that's full of opportunities for enjoyment--so why do so many of us drift through these weeks in the same hum-drum as the other seasons? Summer is naturally uplifting and should be enjoyed. If you take the following suggestions to heart, you'll have a much more enjoyable summer and be a much happier person by the time the leaves start to turn.
Get outdoors: Exercise.
It's hard to resist venturing out into the great outdoors when the sun is shining and the grass is green. Take advantage of the weather and up your activity level! Exercise will begin to relax you, make you feel stronger, and improve your sleep. It's also a natural anti-depressant that will boost your attitude and outlook. And as time passes, you'll gain the added bonus of being happier with your physical appearance as well. You don't have to start training for a marathon. Commit to walking just twenty minutes every other day to start out. Or if circumstances allow, regularly take a walk in the woods or swim a few laps in the pool instead.
Change your perspective: Be positive.
Most people tend to go through only focusing on the negative things: their failures, mistakes, worries, etc. This summer, take on a new outlook with a more positive perspective and focus on all of the good things in your life. It's normal to make mistakes; however, it's not healthy or beneficial to dwell on them. Try to be optimistic about everything and really take note of all the positive interactions you have and compliments you receive. Basically, extend to yourself the same love and kindness that you would to others you care about! Until you give yourself permission to break free of the cycle of negativity, you'll never have a chance to be a truly relaxed, content, and happy person.
Plan some fun activities: Do what you enjoy.
The days are longer, schedules are more relaxed, there are several holidays to look forward to, and you'll probably be taking some vacation days. Resolve to spend some of that time doing what makes you happy and what you enjoy! If you've never done so before, sit down and make a list: Write down your strengths as well as what you really enjoy doing. Then, make it a goal to spend more time doing these things that you enjoy. Focusing more on a hobby or personal interest you like is a good start, even if, like exercise, you do it for only twenty minutes every other day.
Stop: Live in the moment.
There are so many moments to treasure, especially in the summer: the laughter of friends, the smell of barbeque, the feeling of sand between your toes and sun on your skin. The question is, are you really experiencing and enjoying these moments...or is your mind obsessing over the past or worrying about the future? If it's the latter, you're only exacerbating your anxiety and unhappiness by choosing to dwell on things you can't control. It is so important to truly appreciate the present moment. And hopefully, this season will offer plenty of good opportunities to do that. People around you can tell when your mind is not 100 percent there with them; it might be unintentional, but it makes others feel less important in your life.
Strengthen close relationships: Have a BBQ.
Summer is known for cookouts, pool parties, and great company. Don't be the guy who always keeps to himself--try to host at least one or two events between June and September and invite the people you love over for some fun. The truth is, it's worth putting work into improving your relationships with your family and friends all year round because the quality of your bonds with the people closest to you can make or break the quality of your life. Summer is also a great time to celebrate your significant other; have a few date nights, plan a romantic getaway, or purchase tickets to an outdoor concert that you'll both enjoy, for starters.
Be friendlier: Smile and say hello.
Continue to make new connections. You're not the only one who ventures outside more often in the summer--so make a conscious effort to be friendlier to others you encounter, too. Introduce yourself to interesting people you come across at outings, for example, and say hello to folks you pass while walking in the park. Extending simple human kindness to others can make a huge difference in their lives...and in yours. When you make friendliness a habit, you'll attract kindness and smiles in return...and you'll feel great about yourself for making a positive difference in the world!
These suggestions are meant to be a starting point for your summer, but what may seem like small changes in your actions and attitudes really can make a huge difference in how you experience the rest of your life!
Todd Patkin is the author of the new book Finding Happiness: One Man's Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and--Finally--Let the Sunshine In www.toddpatkin.com.
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