No matter your age, there are always ways for you to grow and become a better person. The best approaches take into account not only your own well-being, but also the best interests of others. With that in mind, here are four important things you can do to improve yourself.
- Stop holding on to your anger.
Learning to manage and eventually let go of anger is so important to becoming a better person. There’s no escaping it—everyone experiences anger in their lives. But holding on to anger creates not only relationship problems, but also issues with our health. This snowballs into additional problems and more stress, further complicating our lives and preventing our transformations into the best versions of ourselves.
Releasing anger isn’t easy. You must recognize anger and learn how you should react when you begin to feel angry. Feeling angry is different from acting on that anger. So, take note of when and why you feel angry. Then, step back and work out what your options are.
Another effective approach is to focus on what your triggers are, and avoid them whenever possible. For example, if you get angry and frustrated when you feel rushed, try to eliminate that trigger by freeing up time in your schedule. If there’s a certain person who tests your patience and makes you angry, try talking things out with them. If that doesn’t work, you may need to reduce or eliminate their influence on you.
It’s also advantageous to regularly release residual anger and grudges. Don’t carry a grudge over from the day before. Focus instead on forgiveness, even if it means that you don’t allow somebody who wronged you the privilege of playing an influential part in your life. Letting go becomes easier when you practice mindfulness, allowing you to stay present, attentive, and in the moment.
- Be supportive of others.
It may seem obvious that assisting others will make you a better person. There are many ways to practice altruism, so this option is available to everyone all the time. This is good news!
“Good people” are often considered to be people who are inclined to make sacrifices for other people. But good deeds—even seemingly insignificant ones—have immense power when it comes to making us better people because of how altruism is linked to the emotional well-being of the benefactor.
We’ve all heard the old saying that giving is better than receiving. It’s important to realize that we hear it so often because it’s true. You may feel like you’re too busy or too stressed to help others when it doesn’t seem truly necessary, but expanding your focus to include others’ needs can benefit you, too.
Doing good for others is its own reward. Besides improving someone else’s world, serving and supporting others will make you an empathetic, compassionate, and happier person. Altruism causes stress relief, which boosts your emotional well-being, significantly enhances your personal tranquility.
- Build and maintain social connections.
Relationships form stress-free havens and motivate us to improve ourselves. But they can also be a considerable source of stress when conflicts are poorly resolved or left to smolder. The beauty lies in the fact that when we do the work that’s required to become better partners, friends, and family members, we naturally also become better people.
Connecting with others can increase your feelings of resilience. Friends help you process your emotions, discover solutions, and distract you from your problems. It can be challenging to make time in your schedule for friends, but their inspiration and support make us better people.
To improve yourself and your relationships, practice effective conflict resolution, including listening, understanding the conflict’s opposing point of view, and managing your anger. All of these things inspire us to grow into better people while both minimizing the stress in relationships and making them stronger. Close relationships provide ample opportunities to exercise and improve these skills, so focus on the opportunities instead of feeling upset.
- Take good care of yourself.
Self-care does not equal selfishness. Caring for yourself builds tolerance for when you face inevitable stressors. When you’re run-down, tired, or eating poorly, you’ll be more sensitive to the stressors you face. Reacting poorly instead of calmly responding from a place of inner strength often leads to the creation of more problems.
When you’re caring well for yourself both physically and mentally, you can do far more than merely survive challenges. You’ll grow and mature, become empowered to engage more thoughtfully with whatever may come, and mindfully use the resources available to you.
Caring properly for your mind, body, and soul will keep you in top condition to handle stress. This added resilience will enable you to manage both the difficulties in life that everyone faces, as well as the ones that are uniquely yours.
The most crucial components of self-care are also the most basic.
Adequate sleep is important for both your physical and emotional well-being. Inadequate sleep, both quality and quantity, increases your stress levels, leaving you less capable to solve your problems. A lack of sleep increases your risk of serious long-term medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Dietary deficiencies can make you feel tired and bloated, which can cause weight gain over time. When stress hits, we often crave unhealthy food, but your body requires the proper fuel so you’re optimally equipped can face life’s challenges.
Finally, it’s essential to make time for yourself. Your options are endless: you can choose to meditate or write in a journal, go for a walk or bike ride or partake in some other form of physical activity, or just hunker down for some serious binge-watching. While introverts especially crave alone-time, everyone needs to take some time for themselves.