When it comes to happiness, here are several simple changes that you can make to improve your day-to-day life.
It’s been said that we are what we do, and if you have disability, it can be hard to know how to take care of yourself and make the best out of your life. But there are things you can do right now to make your life better – minor changes in behaviour or lifestyle that will lead to a happier existence overall. Here are some ideas:
Don’t have regrets
If you have a disability that was acquired through an accident, you may believe that it could have been avoided. However, living day in and day out with regret over such big life moments is never a good thing because there is no use wasting time thinking about what can’t be undone.
Instead, coming to peace with how your injury occurred and not retaining any anger towards anyone who may have caused it is a wise choice, even if it seems incredibly hard. Letting go of regrets can restore true happiness to your life and heal the soul in profound ways.
Grow your independence
Relying on others may be unavoidable, but becoming too dependent and letting others do things for you that you can, can siphon away happiness very quickly.
Try everything you can from making an entire recipe from start to end without asking for any help to getting your license. Doing things on your own where possible can instil a huge sense of achievement.
Make friends you can relate to
We all need people in our lives we can relate to – someone who knows our daily struggles because they live them too. Being able to talk to a friend that understands your struggles can be better than a therapy session.
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Surround yourself with positive people
While this isn’t possible every moment of the day, only surrounding yourself with people who support and genuinely like you is a big thing you can do in the way of finding true happiness. We are all guilty of staying friends with people who bring us down or are harmful. It’s not easy cutting people out of your life, especially if you’re afraid of being lonely, but negative people can suck out your happiness worse than a hungry vampire.
Instead, find people who are happy for you when you succeed, who wish the best for you at all times, who are comfortable in their own lives too. You can never go wrong with your cheer team.
Find a skill you’re good at
Everyone needs to be good at something, to be known or notorious for a particular skill. Whether it’s poker, applying makeup, designing, writing, cooking or financial planning, the key is finding one thing you can do that makes you proud. And better than that (if possible), a skill that helps you make extra money. Being able to support yourself, or just being able to bring in some income by doing something you love, is a true-life pleasure. It’s also a great way to beef up your self-esteem if needed.
It can be too easy to get caught up in limitations when you have a disability. Using your life to help others, however, no longer focusing on what you need can positively redirect your mental stream — volunteering, mentoring, visiting older adults in a nursing home, doing anything outside of yourself can increase happiness in your world.
Being happy all the time may not be the true purpose of life, but living in unhappiness certainly isn’t life’s purpose either. So before you give up on finding happiness entirely, try a few of the tips above. You’ll be surprised at what layers of joy are yet to be uncovered.
Getting your body moving and blood circulating can get your endorphins flowing. Whatever exercise you do, don’t start doing it just because your therapist recommends it. For example, if you didn’t like basketball before your injury and now you use a wheelchair, chances are you still won’t like it. Instead, find a physical activity you love doing, and you’re on your way to finding that happiness and clarity of mind feeling you can only get from exercising.
Have a transportation service on speed dial
Public transportation is becoming more and more accessible for people with a disability, but if you don’t want to worry about overcrowded buses and trains, consider finding a personal transportation service.
Certified home health care aide
If you live alone, you’ll want to look into hiring a home health care aide. It may take some time for you to find someone you click with, but life becomes much easier once you find the right one.
Invest in an e-reader
E-Readers/tablets fit comfortably on a wheelchair and can provide you with hours of clutter-free entertainment. It’s a library and an entertainment centre that you can do in your lap.
Subscribe to a medical alert / alarm service
When you fall or hurt yourself with no one around, there is nothing better than having a Medical Alert Service like Lifeline to help you.
Invest in a specialised mattresses to increase comfort
Depending on the disability you have, you will be able to get great benefits from specialised mattresses, such as the Invacare alternating air electric mattress that automatically rolls you over every so often to prevent bedsores from developing.
Adjust your home
There are very few things that are beyond your reach once you adjust your home to your needs. Something as simple as a lower clothesline or lower benches can do wonders for not only your comfort but your mood as well.
Plan to get out of the house or have people come over regularly. Organise events at your home for you and your friends if you’re staying in, or call your favourite transport service and see if they’ve got some fun trips planned (which many do regularly).
Get a pet
A pet is excellent for lifting any mood. It’s not very obvious, but taking care of animals and the constant companionship works wonders for the human psyche. But if animals aren’t for you, plants can achieve a similar effect.
These are just the beginning! Look around your home and start taking note of some of the other changes you can make to start living more comfortably as soon as possible.
Hobbies you may enjoy
Solving puzzles is a great way to increase concentration, expand creativity and make you more alert. Plus, it has the benefit of reducing your heart rate and blood pressure!
You could pursue many different arts and crafts, including scrapbooking, origami, knitting, and quilting. And if you’ve never tried to make crafts before, it’s easy to learn how through online step-by-step classes like Craftsy. To get started making crafts AND make money doing it, read this post.
Drawing and painting
Here’s a chance to tap into an ability perhaps you never knew you had — the graphic arts! Craftsy teaches several classes on the subject, which are worthwhile looking into. But if picking up a brush isn’t your thing, you can always take part in the current colouring books for adults craze!
Photography is a great hobby to inspire imagination and develop a keen eye for your surroundings. And if you have a disability that restricts you from going outdoors, you can still learn to take creative photos indoors like still life and food photography. Another idea is to document your life visually with creative images!
There are too many things to collect like stamps, baseball cards, vinyl records, coins, teddy bears or even PEZ dispensers. The only caveat is that collecting can get very expensive!
Grow your herbs
There’s something satisfying about growing your herbs to flavour your food, plus it’s a great stress reliever. Most cilantro, oregano, thyme, and basil need little care, so why not start with these?
Learn a foreign language
Did you know learning a language is a great way to stave off dementia? Plus, you’ll become a better listener, planner, decision-maker and all-around better communicator.
Take up a musical instrument
Besides being fun, learning an instrument helps increase coordination, organisational skills and memory capacity. But most of all, playing an instrument is like a lifelong friend helping in times when you may feel lonely.
Trace your family tree
Would you believe genealogy is now the second most popular hobby in the United States? It’s fascinating to delve deeply into your family history and make discoveries, not to mention a great way to honour your ancestors. Families often have one or more genealogy enthusiasts; maybe you’ll discover it’s you? You can check out ancestry.com to get started.
Unlike watching TV, reading makes full use of your imagination and cognitive abilities while lowering heart rate and easing tension. Just reading 6 minutes is enough to reduce stress by as much as 68%, so why not curl up to a good book?
Register for an e-learning course
Just because you graduated college doesn’t mean your learning has to stop there. Keep your mind sharp by enrolling in an online distance learning class in any subject under the sun. With The Great Courses, you can sign up for courses as vast and varied as Classical Mythology, How Music and Maths Relate, and Understanding Investments.
Build a plastic model
Creating models from kits or separate components is a rewarding pastime for those who appreciate abstract thinking and fine detail. Depending on your interests, you can produce scale models, military models, architectural models, car models and many other types. A popular subreddit on Reddit.com called Modelmakers is a great place to get started with this hobby.
Learn to cook
Why not learn to make healthy, delicious meals which your body will love you for? (Or even not-so-healthy meals on occasion!) The internet is filled with online cooking classes for newbies. Just take your pick!