Wednesday, 27 January 2016

6 steps to feeling great in 2016

While some things are out of our control, there are many simple steps that you can take to make significant changes to your happiness and ultimately the quality of your life. Don't worry if 2015 wasn't your year, this is a new year so it's time for a change for the better!


A photo posted by Simon Turkas (@simonturkas) on


After you make these simple changes to your life you'll never look back, and that's kind of the point. Once you are feeling more positive you rarely need to look back, only when you want to remember how far you've come. This isn't an exhaustive list, but here are 6 steps to feeling great in 2016 to get you started:

1. Reduce you screen time!

These days it seems like many people are literally glued to a screen, and without it they seem completely lost. You can see it everywhere: on public transport, the streets, restaurants, cafes and of course at home. Often when people are not watching TV, or using a computer, they are head down staring at so-called "smart phones." The phones might be smart but it seems to be making a lot of people dumber! So much so that they will literally walk into lamp posts while messaging, or ignore friends, family or anyone else sitting right next to them which is pretty sad.


One of the biggest problems specifically linked to mobile phones is how people check them before sleeping, then sleep right next to them. If you are having trouble sleeping then this could be a major factor as mobile phones (and laptops, TVs and other devices with LED screens) emit "blue light" which disrupts the bodies natural sleep patterns. Consider no screens in the bedroom, and not looking at screens at least two hours before bed!

2. Make sure to do at least some exercise daily!

I can say from personal experience of some difficult times last year, one of the biggest steps in becoming happier and less stressed about the situation was starting to exercise again. First of all I started going regularly to the gym, and now I either do exercise at home or go running every couple of days. At first I would get tired from running after less than a kilometre, the other day I managed to run 11 km non-stop after only a couple of months of training! For some people 11km is like a walk-in the park but for me this felt like quite a big deal. It also shows what a difference you can make to your health if you do exercise regularly for just a short period of time. There are a number of proven physical and mental benefits to regular exercise, so I would definitely recommend this if you are feeling down!


3. Focus more on travel and experiences than things!

There is a excellent quote that I think is really true:



I believe that travel and amazing experiences give you much greater and lasting happiness than owning lots of things. When I was younger I used to always want the latest toys, video games, technology or clothes. I felt very excited about the prospect of purchasing these things, but the anticipation mostly outweighed the happiness I gained from actually owning the product. Our consumer society teaches us to define happiness through purchasing things, but this is just so huge multi-national corporations can gain even greater profits.

A photo posted by Simon Turkas (@simonturkas) on


These days I actually prefer to own less and less stuff, and save my money for visiting amazing places around the world. Those things that I once so desperately wanted are long forgotten, but the memories of amazing holidays with family and friends, or solo trips to new places last for the rest of your life. You can experience amazing cultures, make new friends and see breath-taking places. In fact there is another great quote by Hans Christian Andersen: "To travel is to live" which to me seems very true. 

4. Break the routine and pursue your passion

It is easy to forget sometimes how fragile life is and how quickly it can all end. When you are stuck in the rat-race and going through the motions, people go into a kind of automatic pilot mode. Months, years and even decades pass by doing almost exactly the same thing leaving many feeling completely unfulfilled as they just go through their daily routine. Life passes them by until they wake up one day and think of all the time they have wasted doing something they hate, only to realise it is almost too late to change.



While it is never too late to turn things around, it is a tragic waste of life stuck in the daily routine of a life that you are totally bored of. As far as we know we only live once, so surely it is worth taking a chance on breaking the routine and pursuing what you really want out of life. There are countless people that will tell you that you shouldn't or can't, but they are generally just projecting their own insecurities and fears onto you. Live your own life and let them live theirs.

5. Make time to enjoy reality more

With all the amazing technology that humans have at their disposal, are people really happier? Studies seem to suggest not. While incidences of many diseases in the so-called "developed" nations of the world continue to fall with advances in medical technology, a different set of diseases are rising instead. Incidences of depression and loneliness are growing rapidly, even with all the technology designed to entertain us at our fingertips. Humans seem to be becoming increasingly isolated from family, friends, and the world away from screens. While we may always be connected to the internet, we seem to be losing a connection with reality.




Psychological studies illustrate the restorative power of nature on people's mental well-being, even when people are feeling stressed or depressed. This doesn't even have to be a walk into the wilderness, even just a view of a beautiful park will help. The main thing is not to focus endlessly on technology. I would recommend a trip to the beach, forest or mountains where you can switch of unwind.

6. Forget the things you cannot change and live in the moment

This is very important to realise if you want to feel happier, especially if you have experienced recent unhappy events in your life. You absolutely cannot change the past (unless you have discovered time travel), so try to focus on it as little as possible. Of course it can be nice to look back on some happy memories once in a while, but living in the past will just bring your life to a standstill and not allow you to progress or grow as a person. On the other hand the future is uncertain so there is no point making very long term plans. It is important to have goals, but not plans about what you will be doing in 10 years.

Looking Out


Life can literally change in an instant, so focusing too much on the future will also distract you from enjoying the here and now. The present moment is where we exist, and it is here that we should focus our attention. If you are watching a beautiful sunset don't let your mind wander, just watch in awe and focus on how incredible that event is. Living in the moment will change your life for the better.

I hope this article gave you some inspiration, and gave you some ideas if you are feeling down. There is no shame in admitting things aren't right, but continuing down the same path is futile. These are some simple steps that have helped me, and hopefully you use them to your advantage too. Get out there and enjoy life!

If you found this article useful please leave a comment below and share it on social media. Thanks!