Want to make this year your best yet? Experts say it isn’t about setting huge goals. It’s the tiny tweaks that count
1 Smile more
Make a conscious effort to smile more. Smiling makes us more inviting to others and also lifts our own mood. According to research, seeing a smiling face — even if it’s our own in the mirror — perks us up.
2 Wake up gently
Switch your alarm clock to an app such as Beditations, which draws you out of sleep gently and starts your day with a guided meditation, putting you in a positive frame of mind.
3 Get off your phone
Spending too much time on our phones has been linked to stress and anxiety. Download the Forest app and grow a virtual tree, which withers each time you check your phone.
Read a fiction book for at least six minutes a day. According to a study, even this small amount of reading can reduce our stress levels by more than two thirds.
5 Get into flaxseed
It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart health, as well as your mood. Put ground flaxseed in porridge, yogurt, and in your baking.
6 Listen to your language
Negative talk can lead to negative thoughts and feelings, so try to use positive language. For example, instead of saying ‘sorry’ for being late, say ‘thanks for being so patient’.
7 Make a music playlist
Fill it with lots of happy, upbeat songs. Regularly listening to up-tempo music actively improves our overall happiness levels.
It’s vital for reducing our risk of major illness and boosting our mood, but we often say we don’t have time. Download an exercise app like Seven — 7 Minute Workout and incorporate it into your day.
Make a list of 30 areas around the home you’d like to declutter, then do one a day for a month. Less mess reduces stress levels, and boosts concentration and mood.
10 Talk to your neighbours
Psychologists have found the more we connect with others, the more satisfied we are with our lives.
11 Move more
At work, set a timer for 25 minutes, focus on a single task, then take a five-minute break to get a glass of water, or roam about. Frequent breaks help to keep your mind fresh, focused and increases productivity, which helps to keep stress at bay.
12 Say thanks
Send a text message to six or seven friends, family members or work colleagues thanking them for all they do for you. Gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness.
13 Create a goal
Set yourself a task for later in the year, such as a sponsored run or saving up for a holiday. Setting specific and measurable future goals focuses the mind, gives us something to look forward to and boosts feelings of self-worth.
14 Hug someone
Make a conscious effort to cuddle your partner and say something nice to them before you go to sleep. Having a good relationship has protective effects on our mental health.
15 Buy a notebook
Start jotting down your worries and a to-do list each night before bed. It will clear your mind, enabling you to sleep better and tackle everything in the morning feeling rested.
16 Work out your budget
According to research, financial concerns are the biggest cause of stress among adults in the UK. Download an app like Yolt which will help you work out what your budget is for the month, monitor your bills and look for better deals.
17 Give money to charity
Doing something generous for someone else provides us with higher levels of happiness than doing something for ourselves.
18 Go for a 20-minute scenic walk
Even a short stroll in a beautiful area such as a forest or along the coast can boost your mood. Studies suggest enjoying nature can lower stress, reduce blood pressure and increase wellbeing.
19 Call a grandparent
Ask them about their childhood. Finding out more about your ancestry gives you a better understanding of yourself and creates an even stronger connection with your loved ones.
Edited by Stephanie May