Everyone can have a bad day or even a lousy week. The key to ensuring negativity doesn’t drag us down is acquiring skills that give us more control and confidence.

You may already be doing some of these without realizing it, but consciously choosing to do them is a great investment in enriching your life.

Practise self-care

Do something small for yourself every day.

These are things that can accumulate and transcend every aspect of your life, leaving you feeling more fulfilled and happy.

It could be embracing your own style when you’re getting dressed or packing a healthy lunch because you care about yourself.

Try listening to your favourite song on your way to work and singing at the top of your lungs. Go for a walk, take an extra five minutes to play with your dog or have a bath with the door closed.

Express gratitude

Intentionally express kindness and gratitude with strangers and those you love.

We know that when you say thank you or acknowledge someone else’s contributions, the return is feeling good about yourself. 

Listen to others

Deepen relationships by listening intently. Don’t just respond, but feel what others are feeling and then ask a question.

This strengthens connections with people in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be someone you know. Having a conversation with a cab driver or someone next to you on a treadmill produces the same effect.

Listen to yourself

Be mindful of your inner voice. Is it helping or hindering you?

If you see someone else’s flaws, ask yourself if you have the same ones.

Make a point to start thinking about others with the belief that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. This helps build better trust, better relationships and forces you to look at the good in people instead of making assumptions.

Learn from the past

If you catch yourself worrying about something or you feel you have no options, take a few moments to think about a previous time when you were in a similar situation. What did you learn? What did you apply?

It’s obvious you made it through it because you’re here today.

Think happy thoughts

Be diligent in noticing the moments you feel the most connected with your strengths and do more of that.

It might be when you’re reflecting on your day and you think of the time you felt most happy. Ask yourself what was going on and what you were doing.

Just move

Many people tend to think exercise has to be done for a specific length of time and that can hold people back from getting started.

Make your fitness as accessible as you possibly can. That might mean doing squats in whatever you wore to work that day or doing some exercises at home if you can’t get to the gym.

Be still

People tend to dismiss the importance of meditation because they don’t know how to do it or are uncomfortable with being still.

Find moments in your day when you can be still in your own way. For some, it’s just sitting in silence and relaxing. Others find a song they like to listen to, a yoga track or sounds of nature. Guided meditation apps are also popular.

Listen to it for two to five minutes and focus on your breathing and gain clarity with your thoughts. Really, meditation is just moments when you choose to slow down.

Read something inspiring

We’re inundated with news, most of it bad. Craft your own way to get access to good news by reading something that’s inspiring. It could be a success story about someone else, something educational that gets you thinking about where you’re heading in your goals or just a feel-good story.

Curb your addictions

Set boundaries around screen time and workload. Yes, we often hear this advice, but the impact of doing it is huge.

You may feel compelled to work late or go in early but note how productive you are at different times of the day and ensure you take a mental break.

For most people, the last thing they look at in the evening and the first thing in the morning is their cellphone. To halt that habit at night, shut off your phone one hour before going to bed and then finish your day. This allows you to reduce the amount of stimulus you’re exposed to before going to bed, which should help you relax and sleep better.

The key to living a better life is being compassionate with yourself, which will open the door to making better choices.

If you’re constantly focused on your bad habits, guess what you’re going to do more of?