Your nature is your inherent way of thinking and acting. It is your unique personality. Everyone has personality traits that they like and those that they don’t. You may think that because it’s how you naturally are, there is nothing you can do to change it, but this is untrue. It may require a walk up the path of most resistance, and it may take a conscious effort to look inward and assess what you find, but it is totally doable. By taking it a day at a time, your new, more positive outlook and demeanor may sneak up on you. One day a friend or co-worker may tell you how much more content you seem, or may ask what has put you in such a good mood lately.
Here are some suggestions for small steps you can take toward becoming your best “you” that are easy to implement into your days.
Day 1: Do Something Nice for a Stranger
Offer a compliment to someone who looks like they are having a bad day. Give someone in the checkout line the thirty cents they are lacking toward their purchase. Give up the last cup of coffee in the break room to that new guy from another department.
Most often, it does not take any time or resources to put a smile on someone’s face, and you may just start a wave of good nature. The man you helped pick up the groceries that fell from a broken bag in the parking lot might stop on his way home and help a woman who has a flat tire. Your good deeds will give you confidence and make you feel good. You will carry that feeling with you throughout your day.
Day 2: Keep Better Company
It has been said that a person is only as good as the company he keeps. You may not even realize the subtle effect that the people you choose to be around have on you, but they definitely do. If you are having coffee with a friend who is paranoid and keeps looking over his shoulder nervously, chances are you will start feeling nervous as well despite the calm demeanor you came to the meeting with.
You can try to influence a negative person toward a more positive attitude, but it can be an uphill battle. It seems that more often than not, a negative attitude can exert greater power to pull others down than a positive one can exert to pull someone up. If your attempts fail, perhaps it is time to start spending a little less time listening to the guy at work complain about his job or your friend gossip about your mutual acquaintances. Spending your time around someone who is quick to smile can bring yours on quicker.
Day 3: Eat a Complete Breakfast
Studies show that people who take the time to eat a complete breakfast in the morning have lower stress, better health, and a more alert mind. Your overall mood will be improved. If you start your day out hungry, you will be more likely to be short with people and rush through tasks. You will not be as focused will feel more exhausted. Only when the basic needs – food, water, sleep – are met can you be free to rise above the physical plane of existence and work on the more abstract aspects of your life such as improving your nature.
Day 4: Try Meditation
Many people claim that meditation is the ultimate way to get to know yourself. By peering long and hard deep within, you can honestly see and assess yourself. Finding the peace that lies at the core of your being will reflect in all that you say and do. Even if you are skeptical of the metaphysical, using meditation as a simple relaxation and contemplation method has been scientifically proven effective. You will be slower to anger and quicker to smile. Next time you feel your temper rising, take a couple deep breaths before reacting. Practice clearing the mind instead of letting it race with negative thoughts. You will be less likely to fly off the handle or say things you will regret later.
Day 5: Make a “Book of Elements.”
This is an ancient technique for honestly assessing one’s nature. You can use this technique for identifying issues to be worked on and traits to be nurtured further. Have one page for each element: fire, water, air, and earth. Draw a line down the center of each of the four pages. On one side of the line, write down all your good character traits that you would associate with that particular element. On the other side, write down all the ones you feel or bad. For example, on your “air” page you might write “easily adaptable” on one side of the page and “easily swayed” on the other side. By being honest with yourself, you can use this tool as a way to identify things you can do to have a better nature. Associating these things with the elements of nature can remind you that you too, are part of nature, and that those parts come in many different forms.
Day 6: Listen to Your Favorite Music
Music has a direct effect on our feelings. Studies show that if you listen to music that is angry or violent, you are more likely to feel angry and violent. If you listen to music that is peaceful, you will also follow suit. Plants grow faster and healthier when it exposed to pleasant music, and music is often used in emotional therapy. Spending more time listening to the music that makes you feel good can improve your mood and give you a more complacent state of mind. If it inspires you to dance, by all means do it. Dancing is also a great way to become a more centered and fluid person.
Day 7: Get More Exercise
It is a fact that getting plenty of exercise is crucial to your mental wellbeing. If you are not expelling your energy regularly through physical activity, the chances of it being expelled in less productive ways, such as yelling at the neighbor’s kid for kicking his ball over your fence again or banging on your keyboard when your important work file is accidentally deleted.
People who exercise regularly, tend to feel better about themselves too. Self esteem, or lack thereof, can also be a major factor in the way you interact with others. Someone who feels unattractive may be more likely to jump to the conclusion that her husband was flirting with another woman, and someone who has consistently not met their goal for exercise may be more likely to feel insecure during intimacy with his wife.
Day 8: Hang Out With a Baby
You can learn so much about true human nature by observing the innocent wonderment with which a baby views the world. Everything is new, and as long as a baby’s basic needs are met, little else is necessary to inspire a smile or squeal of laughter. You should strive to be as easy to please as a baby. Babies are like little psychic balls of energy. They obviously feed off of the emotions of people around them. If a mother is upset, her little one usually gets upset too. This stays with us as adults, but we often don’t realize how influenced by the moods of others we really are. Holding a baby can bring you closer to that original pure energy. Embrace and revere it.
Day 9: Appreciate the Things You Have More
Complaining has never gotten anyone very far, and certainly does nothing to improve the situation being complained about. By constantly talking about and reminding yourself about the things you wish you had, or what’s wrong with the things you do have, you are simply reinforcing those very ideas you say you don’t want. Instead, look around at what you have already – family, friends, a hot meal, and a gym membership. Look for ways that you can better use what you have, and remind yourself how lucky you are. Being thankful is one of the most important traits of a good-natured person. Only by being satisfied in your current situation will you ever be happy. If you get caught in the cycle of thinking, “Well, if I just had this one more thing, I could really be happy…” you will always be a step behind your own peace of mind. Even if you get that one more thing you think you need to be happy, you will probably just think of one more things to need after that.
Day 10: Read a Good Self-Improvement Book
It never hurts to see what an expert has to say regarding your area of improvement. There are countless books and websites that can offer advice for whatever part of your nature you wish to improve. In fact, the very act of reading can serve as a means by which to achieve a positive end by relaxing you, helping you focus, and giving you something to actively think about as you go about your day.
Day 11: Have More Sex With Your Partner:
People who have lots of loving sex with a partner on a regular basis tend to be more easy-going, light-hearted people. Sex releases oxytocin in your brain, a hormone that inspires feelings of love, security, and peace. People with high levels of oxytocin are more likely to let things roll off their backs. Sex is also time spent being intimate with another, which is one of the biggest parts of the human experience. By being intimate, you are fulfilling a major goal of your life on earth as a human being, and it can make other things, like having an expensive car or a perfect body, seem like they are not as vital to your happiness as you suspected.
Day 12: Tell the Truth
Lying can seem like an easy way out sometimes, but every time you lie it adds a little more weight to the emotional load you carry. White lies can often seem like a nice thing to do for a person, but in the end it is often better to be honest, with others and yourself. You may find that by telling the truth, you have freed yourself from an awful burden, for telling the lie is only part of it. You then have to maintain the lie. Others will appreciate that they can trust you, and this in turn will reflect on your improving nature.
Day 13: Every Day, Spend at least a Short Bit of Time Alone
The Dalai Lama says that this is one of the most important rules of living. Only when you spend time alone each day can you learn who you truly are. When you are around your children you are Mom or Dad. Around your parents you are “Son” or “Daughter”. At school you are “Teacher” or “Student”. Only when you are alone are you simply you. You can use this time to do also, by spending time alone often you will appreciate the time spent with friends and family more when it comes. Missing someone is just a reminder of how much you love them.
Day 14: Look on the Bright Side, Even If It’s Really Hard for You to Do So.
That old cup-half-full adage has a lot of truth to it. Even if you are not feeling positive at all, making yourself think of even just one way you can think positively about your situation can be helpful. Once you have thought a positive thought, it is most likely that it will fester into a full-blown good mood. More than anything, you just need to discover and remember that you are fully responsible for the way you react to the things that come your way. You can’t change the things that happen, but you can change your nature.