While some days feel like a slog, others fly by in one magical moment after another. But when you break it down, what separates a so-so day from a super special one is often so minute that it’s hard to pinpoint.
To help you turn any day from ordinary to extraordinary, we’ve partnered with Chevrolet Malibu and come up with 10 tips that are sure to take you from meh to yeah. It’s all about connecting with others, treating your body right and trying out new things, all of which can be easily achieved without ditching your routine or spending any money. So let’s get started.
1. Eat something you love
While a diet low in sugar and packed with veggies and protein is what the new nutritional guidelines (and most experts) advise, making sure to eat -- and savor -- at least one thing that you love every day is worth those extra calories, according to Dr. Michelle May, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. Now, we’re not talking about some supersize cupcake or a whole block of cheese. But rather than deprive yourself, practice mindful eating and give your body what it nutritionally needs as well as something that you truly want. The result: a full belly to complement your contented spirit.
2. Embrace play
Next time your kids ask you to play, channel Shonda Rhimes, the uber-powerful creator of hit TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and just say yes. That’s what she did for a full 365 days, an exercise that was part of a larger life overhaul, which she recounts in her new memoir, Year of Yes. The benefits, generally reaped in just 10 to 15 minutes of on-the-floor, full immersion play, were twofold: Rhimes’ three daughters were ecstatic to have that one-on-one time, but she was, too. If that’s not reason enough to drop what you’re doing and start having fun, scientific research has shown that play makes all of us better adjusted, less stressed and generally healthier. Adult coloring books, anyone?
3. Call the person who’s been on your mind, “just because”
Whether it’s your grandma, your kid brother or your high school bestie, you likely have someone whom you think about all the time, yet never seem to connect with. While there are probably countless reasons why now isn’t a good time to reach out, accept that you may never have enough time for that long conversation you desire, and just call. Bonus points if you go for an impromptu video chat. Even if you’re only on the line for a couple of minutes and don’t get to cover anything of real substance, you’ll both likely hang up feeling great.
4. Take time to reflect
Even by taking just a few moments of quiet reflection whenever you can squeeze it in can lead to positive feelings and a calmer vibe. What’s been going well in your life that you want to make more time for? Maybe you’ve got a new running habit or are reading a great book. Think about how good these activities make you feel, even when you’re not actively doing them, and you’ll create a positivity loop in real time. If your mind cuts to the negative, reflect on that, too -- no judgments, brain. From there, it’s about figuring out ways to cut down the amount of time you’re spending on those activities that are draining you ... and get back to the good.
5. Get outside
Fresh air, a brisk breeze the sound of birds chirping. Experiencing nature -- even for just a few minutes a day -- makes everyone feel good. Research even backs this idea up. And even if it’s not possible to go take a substantial hike on a nice day or do much of anything outdoors on a dreary one, just some fresh air can do wonders. “You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day,” goes a beloved Zen saying, “unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
6. Learn (or try) something new
Unless you’re a kid, it’s probably been a while since you did this. But think back to the last time you had a totally novel experience, and you’ll probably remember that it made you feel pretty good. Because whether you try a new recipe, visit a museum for the first time, or finally take surfing or Spanish lessons, you’re likely to feel totally engaged when you’re at it, and proud of yourself when you’re done.
7. Strengthen bonds within your community
If you want to feel like you’re a part of something -- and research shows that it’s important for both your health and your general wellness to nurture your family and community life -- put down the phone and take an extra minute to talk to your neighbor, your kids’ teacher or the barista you see every day.
8. Create something
Let go of any doubts about your capacity for creativity, and start nurturing your own artistic dreams. That’s the advice Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, gives in her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. We all have stories that we want to tell, things that we want to make or projects that we want to pursue, but likely, the only thing holding us back is ourselves. So today is as good of a day as any to start small and go in without expectations. Tell your kids a new, make-believe bedtime story, or paint that picture of the beautiful tree in your backyard. Then don’t be surprised if you’re hooked and want to create some more.
9. Make plans
Whether you’re booking an exotic trip, making a reservation at the new hotspot in town or just setting a date to catch up with an old friend, the mere act of making a plan can give you something to look forward to on even the most ho-hum day.
10. Make peace
No matter how your day goes, remember that when it’s over, it’s over. But before you go to sleep, pick out one favorite moment and write it down. Gilbert keeps a “Happiness Jar,” where she puts in a scrap of paper at the end of every day with her happiest memory written on it. In time, this became her “most important spiritual practice,” she says, which has helped her see that happy moments can be found in the smallest things. So why not? It takes no time at all and might just change your life.
Chevrolet Malibu is committed to helping you discover the awesome hidden in the everyday. Happiness can come from the most unexpected places, and the all-new 2016 Malibu is ready to change your perception of what a midsize car can be.