The term “self-improvement’ might bring to mind kale smoothies, yoga classes, and mantras. It’s a bit of a New-Age expression. Still, few people feel they’re perfect, and just about everyone wants to make themselves better.
You don’t have to spend every cent you have to be a better person, nor do you need to travel to a Buddhist temple to seek a mentor. There are small but meaningful things you can do that will make you feel more content and peaceful. With the pandemic and everything else happening this year, most people need that.
Let’s run down a few ideas that should help you in this regard.
1Give to Charity
Some hospitals report unexpected changes in a patient’s personality as they near their life’s end. Maybe they feel like if they’re nicer to people at the very end, they’ll go to heaven or whatever else they think happens when they die.
However, you don’t need to wait until your life’s end to do good works. Giving to others is unquestionably one of the best ways you can improve yourself. Acts of charity:
- Help people who need it
- Make you feel good
Virtually all the major holy books talk about charity and how you should help people less fortunate than yourself. If you don’t have very much to give, then that’s fine. Contributing canned goods to a food bank or the Salvation Army does help just as much as money.
Maybe with so many lost jobs in 2020, you can’t give any money or food right now. That’s okay. Another thing you can give is your time.
There are always places like soup kitchens and homeless shelters where they need people to do things like:
- Serve food
- Pass out blankets
- Clean up or organize contributions
You do not have to be at all religious to do these things. It’s not about belief, except the belief that you should help those who need it.
Like giving money and food, you’ll feel peaceful when you give your time. If you feel lost or hopeless in this very tough year, you can find some inner peace by volunteering a couple of times each week.
3Do Something Nice for a Loved One
You can also make yourself better by giving a loved one a gift or doing something unexpected for them. You know that you should get your spouse or partner a nice present on their birthday, around the holidays, or perhaps on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. You can also do something for them on any normal day.
In a sense, that’s even better, because they won’t know it’s coming. Just getting your loved one some flowers or a small, inexpensive item can brighten their day. It lets them know you’re thinking about them, and you care what they do for the family.
4Listen to Your Loved Ones
Another thing you can often do to make yourself better is to listen to your loved ones more. If you have a spouse, partner, or another family member with whom you live, you can ask them what’s wrong if they seem down.
Many times, a person just wants to vent. If they ask for your advice, you can certainly give it to them. Just as often, though, they might just want to talk about what’s going on with them.
Part of mental health is being able to talk about what’s bothering you. If you can be a sympathetic ear for them, they’ll feel unburdened. They will appreciate getting whatever is bothering them off their chest.
5Tell Them What’s on Your Mind
The flip side of that is telling your spouse, partner, or whatever other family member what’s going on with you. Maybe you’re a very stoic person. You feel like the best way to handle your thoughts and feelings is to keep them bottled up.
Internalizing certain things is okay, but you can’t do it with everything. Often, relationships fail because a person cannot talk about their wants, needs, frustrations, concerns, etc.
It does your relationships no good if you sit there like a statue all the time. You should trust your family members and those close to you, and you should open up to them. It will likely make both you and them feel better.
6You Can Seek Therapy
If you feel like some things are bothering you, but you can’t talk about them with a spouse, partner, or other family members or friends, you might choose to seek therapy instead. Some people feel ashamed about opening up. You might find it easier with a stranger, though.
With Covid-19, Black Lives Matter protests, the presidential election, and all sorts of other concerns this year, more people report feeling stress than ever before. It’s easy to understand why.
Part of getting better might be talking about your feelings and thoughts. It may be a bit much to unload on your family and friends. You might prefer talking to a mental health professional.
7Going for Walks
Exercise is always good self-improvement, but going for walks is something that helps people more than you might realize. When you go on a walk, you can clear your head. You can feel the ground under your feet, the wind blowing past, and you can take in various sights, sounds, and smells.
It’s even better if you can get out in nature. Most people live close to some sort of public park or nature trail. Seeing the animals and plants living harmoniously might make your troubles seem insignificant.
As you walk, you can reflect on what you like about yourself and what you don’t care for as much. When you get home, you can continue doing what you feel is working, and you can change where you think you should improve.
Life is an unending learning process. You never know all there is to know, and you can always be a better person. You cannot achieve perfection, but you can strive to improve a little bit each day.