Seven rules to live a positive life

Published: Fri 21 Feb 2020, 9:49 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Feb 2020, 11:53 PM

Our personal life rules should be flexible, simply because life is always changing. It changes as we age, as cultures advance, when finances shift, and when the environment struggles; these things and more force us to change how we deal with life. That being said, here are a few things I have learned over the decades that may help you avoid some of life's pitfalls.
1. Try to keep things simple. When I'm writing a book or working on a film, I make sure these three things take place. I wake (which includes coffee and visualization), I walk (because if I don't keep moving, my body will rust), and I work. Between projects, I take care of personal business, and this is also a great time for any focused growth work.
2. Spend more time just being rather than thinking or doing. John Bradshaw once asked his audience, "Are you a human being or a human doing?" Well, I have done a lot (though not nearly enough, as I see it), but balance is key, and spending a little time each day just making my inner life better has an amazing effect on the outer stuff as well.
3. Don't let your mind lead you into dark places. In most cases, if we are feeling out of sorts, and we are really unable to focus on anything, our minds can be a dangerous place to be alone in. We all have hard memories that can creep in when we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). If you find yourself in that place, grab a sandwich, flip on a comedy, and take a nap.
4. Make small improvements in one area of your life every day. Knowing that you are continuing to move forward is very rewarding, and all it takes is one small step. From cleaning out a junk drawer to writing the next great American novel, it all happens one action at a time.
5. Keep your body moving. I'm glad there are stairs in my house, and I try only to use the upstairs bathroom to ensure climbing a couple of flights a few times a day. Taking walks outdoors is great.
If you're driving to the mall, try parking at the back of the lot, so there's a good walk in and out. You can also take the stairs in office buildings. I generally use any opportunity available to move a little more, because I have to make up for the fact that I hate gyms.
6. Be more mindful of what you eat. At least swear off soda of any kind. If you enjoy drinking carbonated beverages, get a SodaStream.
My wife is good at keeping things healthy, so I follow her lead, and there is no question that eating better has given me more energy. See what happens when you eat better too.
7. Keeping busy is one of the keys to contentment. Generally speaking, the person who has too much to do is far less stressed than someone who doesn't have enough going on. So do what's in front of you, and if you can't think of anything, pick up a book and build your brain.
These seven practical little rules of living can make a big difference in how you feel. In addition to making you feel better, people around you will see the positive effects and naturally become more engaged with you.

By Barton Goldsmith (The Shrink)

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