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How to Become a Better You?

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Most of us want to be a better personwhether at home, in the office, or just when were out running errands. The problem is where exactly do you start?

Additionally, those who discuss gratitude are less envious of wealthier people, are more willing to help others, and can prevent health concerns like coronary artery disease. Take the time to make a list of your weaknesses and set goals to work on them.

Buying a cup of coffee for the person in front of you when her card gets declined. Even if you have to jot down reminders in your calendar, it can make all the difference in the world to someone when you follow up with them on important events. You can also reduce water usage by taking shorter showers and create less trash by recycling.

However, instead of devoting your energy holding onto that mistake or feeling guilty, forgive that individualor yourselfand focus on the future. Ask yourself, how do you feel if you yelled at your child or a colleague because youre in a rush to get out the door in the morning or finish a project? When youre authentic , youll be more focused, build courage, establish your own identity, and be able to define your values and beliefs.

Ill never forget a grade school teacher telling the class, When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you. We all face obstacles in life, but you cant use that as an excuse to hold you back or to grow as person. Give up blaming, complaining and excuse making, and keep taking action in the direction of your goalshowever mundane or lofty they may be.

Back when I was studying in university, I didnt like myself very much. I was rude, selfish, emotionally stingy, self-centered, judgmental, highly critical, very obnoxious, and arrogant.

Happiness How to Become a Better Person By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD Twitter Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 16, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Amy Morin, LCSW Medically reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print We all want to be our best, but many people wonder if it’s actually possible to become a better person once you‘re an adult. The answer is a resounding yes. There are always ways to improve yourself. This answer leads to more questions, however. What is the best way to become a better person? What is the easiest approach? And what are the most important aspects of self to work on? Taking into account your own wellbeing as well as the best interests of others, here are some of the most important ways to become a better person. Let Go of Anger KOLOstock / Getty Images We all experience anger in our lives. Uncontrolled anger, however, can create problems in our relationships and even with our health. All of this can lead to more stress and additional problems, complicating life and keeping us from being our best selves. That’s why learning to manage and eventually let go of anger is so important to becoming a better person. Letting go of anger isn’t always easy. But the first step is learning more about recognizing anger and knowing what to do when you feel angry in your life. Recognizing anger is often simple if you make an effort to notice when you feel upset and decide to manage this feeling rather than denying it or lashing out at others as a way of coping. Focus on noticing when you feel angry and why, and know that there is a difference between feeling angry and acting on that anger. Then, know your options. You can change your beliefs about what is making you angry. This can work by learning more about the situation, or even reminding yourself there may be things you don’t know yet. Remind yourself that maybe that person who cut you off in traffic was distracted by something challenging in their own life. If a friend seems to be rude to you, inquire about how their day is going and find out if there’s more that you don’t know. You can also focus on what your “anger triggers” are, and eliminate them as possible. For example, if you find yourself becoming frustrated and angry when you have to rush, work on making more space in your schedule (even if it means saying “no” a little more), and try to eliminate that trigger. If a certain person makes you angry, try to limit their role in your life, if it doesn’t work to talk things out with them first. It’s also important to learn to let go of grudges and residual anger from each day. Don’t wake up holding a grudge from the night before if you can help it. Focus on forgiveness, even if it means you don’t let someone who wronged you continue to have an important role in your life. When you stay in the present moment as much as possible, this becomes easier. Practicing stress relievers like meditation can also help you to let go of anger. Focus on releasing the hold that the past may have on you. Put your attention to the current moment and it becomes easier to avoid rumination and stay in a good place. The Best Online Therapy Programs We’ve tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. Support Others Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images Helping others may seem like an obvious route to becoming a better person. We often think of “good people” as those who are willing to sacrifice for others. This, in the minds of many, is what makes a person “good.” However, good deeds can also make us better people because of the connection between altruism and emotional well-being. According to research, it just may be true that it’s better to give than to receive. So while you may feel too stressed and busy to extend help to others when it’s not absolutely necessary, expanding your ability to focus on the needs of others can really help you as well. Its true: Altruism is its own reward and can actually help you relieve stress. Studies show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being and can measurably enhance your peace of mind. For example, one study found that dialysis patients, transplant patients, and family members who became support volunteers for other patients experienced increased personal growth and emotional well-being. Another study on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) showed that those who offered other MS patients peer support actually experienced greater benefits than their supported peers, including more pronounced improvement of confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, depression, and daily functioning. Those who offered support generally found that their lives were dramatically changed for the better. In addition to making the world a better place, exercising your altruism can make you a happier, more compassionate person. Because there are so many ways to express altruism, this is a simple route to being a better person, one that is available to all of us every day. This is good news indeed. Leverage Your Strengths Thomas Barwick / Getty Images Losing track of time when youre absorbed in fulfilling work or another engaging activity, or what psychologists refer to as “flow,” is a familiar state for most of us. Flow is what happens when you get deeply involved in a hobby, in learning a new skill or subject, or in engaging in activities that supply just the right mix of challenge and ease. When we feel too challenged, we feel stressed. When things are too easy, we may become boredeither way, finding the sweet spot between these two extremes keeps us engaged in a very good way. You can experience flow by writing, dancing, creating, or by absorbing new material that you can teach others. What may bring you to that state of being may be challenging for others, and vice versa. Think about when you find yourself in this state most often, and try doing more of that. The state of flow is a good indicator of whether an activity is right for you. When you‘re in a state of flow, you‘re leveraging your strengths, and this turns out to be great for your emotional health and happiness. It’s also a very positive thing for the rest of the world because your strengths can usually be used to help others in some way. When you learn enough about yourself to know what your best strengths are and find out how to use them for the benefit of others, you‘re on your way to being a better person, and a happier one as well. Press Play for Advice On Self-Advocacy Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring activist Erin Brockovich, shares tips on standing up for whats right, taking care of yourself, and tackling things that seem impossible. Click below to listen now. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / RSS Use the “Stages of Change” Model wundervisuals / Getty Images Ask yourself: If you had a magic wand, what would you like to see in your future? Ignoring the ideas of how youll get there, vividly imagine your ideal life, and what would be included in it. Take a few minutes to list, on paper or on your computer, the changes and goals that would be included in this picture. Be specific about what you want. Its okay if you want something that you seemingly have no control over, such as a mate who is perfect for you. Just write it down. You may follow the lead of many businesses and have a one-year, five-year, and 10-year plan for your life. (It doesnt have to be a set-in-stone plan, but a list of wishes and goals.) Keeping in mind what you hope for in your future can help you feel less stuck in the stressful parts of your present life, and help you see more options for change as they present themselves. There are several ways to focus on change, but the stages of change model can lead you to your best self perhaps more easily than many other paths. This model of change can be adapted to whatever mindset you have right now and can work for most people. The Stages of Change Model Precontemplation: Ignoring the problemContemplation: Aware of the problemPreparation: Getting ready to changeAction: Taking direct action toward the goalMaintenance: Maintaining new behavior One of the most important parts of this route to change is that you don’t push yourself to make changes before you‘re ready, and you don’t give up if you find yourself backslidingit’s a forgivable and even expected part of the process of change. Understanding this plan for making changes can help you to be a better person in whatever ways you choose. Take Care of Yourself Stgur Mr Karlsson / Heimsmyndir / Getty Images You may not always have control of the circumstances you face. But you can control how well you take care of yourself, which can affect your stress levels and enable you to grow as a person when you face life’s challenges. Self-care is vital for building resilience when facing unavoidable stressors for several reasons. When you‘re tired, eating poorly, or generally run-down, you will likely be more reactive to the stress you face in your life. You can even end up creating more problems for yourself by reacting poorly rather than responding from a place of calm inner strength. Conversely, when you‘re taking good care of yourself (both your body and mind), you can be more thoughtfully engaged with whatever comes, use the resources you have in your life, and grow from the challenges you face, rather than merely surviving them. Taking proper care of your body, soul, and mind can keep you in optimum shape for handling stress. That gives you added resilience to manage those challenges in life that we all face, as well as those that may be unique to you. Basics of Self-Care In terms of self-care strategies, there are several that can help, but some of the most important aspects of self-care include the basics: Sleep Nutrition Connection with others Downtime Sleep Sleep is important for your emotional and physical wellbeing because too little or poor quality sleep can leave you feeling more stressed and less able to brainstorm solutions to problems you face. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your body as well, both in the short term and in the long run. Poor sleep can even affect your weight. Nutrition The same is true with poor nutrition. A poor diet can leave you feeling bloated and tired, and can add extra pounds over time. You need the right fuel to face life’s challenges, but when stress hits, it’s often the unhealthy food we crave. Social Connections Feeling connected to others can help you feel more resilient. Good friends can help you to process negative emotions, brainstorm solutions, and get your mind off your problems when necessary. It’s sometimes challenging to find time for friends when you have a busy, stressful life, but our friends often make us better people both with their support and their inspiration. Downtime Finally, it is important to take a little time for yourself. This can mean journaling and meditation, or it can come in the form of exercise or even watching re-runs at home. This is particularly important for introverts, but everyone needs some time to themselves, at least sometimes. Types and Benefits of Meditation Learn to Be User-Friendly SolStock / Getty Images Our relationships can create a haven from stress, and help us to become better people at the same time. They can also be a significant source of stress when there is conflict that is resolved poorly or left to fester. The beauty of this is that as we do the work it takes to become a better friend, partner, and family member, it can also be a path to becoming a better person. To improve your relationships and yourself, learn conflict resolution strategies. These include being a good listener, understanding the other side when you are in conflict, and anger management techniques. These things can help us to be better versions of ourselves. They can also minimize the stress we experience in relationships and make them stronger. And close relationships usually provide plenty of opportunities to practice these skills as you work on improving them, so you can perhaps even appreciate the opportunities when they arise and feel less upset. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. Sign Up You‘re in! Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. There was an error. Please try again. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Mental Health Foundation. Cool down: Anger and how to deal with it. Post SG. Altruism, happiness, and health: It’s good to be good. Int J Behav Med. 2005;12(2):66-77. doi:10.1207/s15327558ijbm1202_4 Cheron G. How to measure the psychological “flow”? A neuroscience perspective. Front Psychol. 2016;7:1823. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01823 Sadler-Gerhardt CJ, Stevenson DL. When it all hits the fan: Helping counselors build resilience and avoid burnout. American Counseling Association VISTAS 2012(1). National Sleep Foundation. How much sleep do we really need? Speak to a Therapist for Happiness Advertiser Disclosure The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.

Its normal to feel like you could be doing more when it comes to self-improvement. But being a better person doesnt involve being overly hard on yourself. In fact, its quite the opposite.

Research has shown that incorporating gratitude into your daily life can help ward off stress , improve sleep, and cultivate more positive social relationships. Anna Hennings , MA, a mental performance coach in sport psychology, recommends using the acronym GIFT to help you identify what youre grateful for.

G rowth: personal growth, like learning a new skill I nspiration: moments or things that inspired you F riends/family: people who enrich your life T ranquility: the small, in-between moments, such as enjoying a cup of coffee or a good book S urprise: the unexpected or a nice favor Whether you nod or smile to strangers passing by or say good morning to everyone who enters the office, make an effort to acknowledge those around you when you see them, says psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree . In doing so, youll notice might find yourself feeling more present and connected to those around you, even if you dont have a close relationship with them.

Remember: Even a short break from your phone can help you unwind and focus on what brings you joy. If youre constantly telling yourself you arent a good person, for example, its hard to find motivation to take steps toward self-improvement. facts + optimism = positivity The next time you find yourself feeling incompetent or overwhelmed, try telling yourself:

I know this change is going to be challenging, but Ive put a lot of meaningful thought into it and have considered all the options open to me [ fact ], so I feel confident I am doing the best I can in this moment [ optimism ]. Studies show that simply counting acts of kindness for one week can boost happiness and gratitude. When youre caught up in the middle of a hectic day, its tempting to rush through your meal without listening to your body.

Take a moment at the bus stop, in line at the grocery store, or before nodding off to sleep to focus on your breathing. Practicing even a few minutes a day of deep breathing has been shown to jumpstart our bodys relaxation response and regulate stress. The next time you have a spare 30 minutes, set a timer and tackle some quick household chores thatll add a little brightness to your day, such as:

cleaning your bathroom mirror hanging that picture you love but havent gotten around to displaying clearing off your desk Reward yourself by taking some time to enjoy your refreshed space do a face mask in your newly clean bathroom, for example. Harboring unforgiveness breads negative thoughts, says Catherine Jackson , a licensed clinical psychologist and neurotherapist.

Look for quick 10- or 20-minute pockets of time in your day where you can head outside for a walk or prepare yourself a bowl of fresh fruit.

Think Before You Speak

Words can carry a lot of weight. Think about the first time your significant other told you that he or she loved you. How awesome did that feel? However, words can also be hurtful. Have you ever told an inappropriate joke or called someone a bleeping-bleep? You probably felt pretty lousy afterward.Always take the couple extra seconds to think about the impact of your words before you say them out loud.

Embrace Change

Change helps us grow as individuals. Instead of resisting change, you should be open to trying new things, even if they scare you. For example, you may be nervous about trying that new Thai restaurant in town, but you might discover your new favorite restaurant.Besides embracing change, you should also advocate for positive change. You could start a food drive or recycling program at the office, which would both make your community a better place.

Be Grateful

According to research, those who have gratitude journals are more optimistic and feel better about their lives. Additionally, those who discuss gratitude are less envious of wealthier people, are more willing to help others, and can prevent health concerns like coronary artery disease.

Do the Right Thing

As an adult, you should definitely know the difference between right and wrong. Let’s say you don’t clean up after your dog after taking it for a walk. You don’t need someone to remind you that you should clean up the mess. You know that it’s your responsibility and that it’s not fair to leave it there for someone else to step in.

Use Your Strengths

Remember, your skills and talents are a gift. Don’t let them go to waste. If you know how to play the guitar, then share it with others. It will bring joy to you and the people in your life.

Address Your Weaknesses

At the same time, you also should be aware of your weaknesses. It’s another way that helps us grow as individuals. Take the time to make a list of your weaknesses and set goals to work on them.I am a hard person to deal with. I realize this. Learn to admit and address your weaknesses and then find ways to make them better.

Take Care of Yourself

Exercise. Eat healthy. Get enough sleep. You’ve heard that advice a thousand times before. But taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to make yourself a better person. For example, how can you go outside and play with your kids when you always feel lethargic? How can you be more productive at work when you’re exhausted? Not only will you be happier and more productive, your loved ones and colleagues will also appreciate it.

Be a Hero

That doesn’t mean that you have to put on a pair of tights and cape. It means helping an elderly neighbor with the groceries. Opening doors for others. Buying a cup of coffee for the person in front of you when her card gets declined. Listening to a friend when his relationship just ended.

Pay Attention to Others

Doesn’t it feel great when someone asks how your day went? Try and do the same for others. Even if you have to jot down reminders in your calendar, it can make all the difference in the world to someone when you follow up with them on important events.

Stop Being Wasteful

Just because you can have five plates of food at an all-you-can-eat buffet doesn’t mean that you have to—waste is a problem for the food service industry. You can also reduce water usage by taking shorter showers and create less trash by recycling. And, don’t forget that unplugging devices when not in use can save electricity. During your part, no matter how small it may seem, can be really important for the environment.

Be Curious

Evidence, shared via The Huffington Post, found that curiosity can help strengthen relationships, keep your brain stimulated, lessen anxiety, keep you happy, and help you learn—even uninteresting subjects.

Forgive Yourself and Others

Humans make mistakes—even when it’s you who makes the mistake. And sometimes those mistakes really sting. However, instead of devoting your energy holding onto that mistake or feeling guilty, forgive that individual—or yourself—and focus on the future. Remember, revenge isn’t good for your health, and the best revenge is your is success and happiness.

Don’t Be Impatient

When we get impatient, we get aggravated and may do something we’ll regret. Ask yourself, how do you feel if you yelled at your child or a colleague because you’re in a rush to get out the door in the morning or finish a project? By practicing patience you’ll not only make better decisions, you’ll feel better about yourself every day.

Be Yourself

When you’re authentic, you’ll be more focused, build courage, establish your own identity, and be able to define your values and beliefs.

Stop Pointing Fingers

I’ll never forget a grade school teacher telling the class, “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.” We all face obstacles in life, but you can’t use that as an excuse to hold you back or to grow as person.In the words of author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield:“Remember, you and you alone are responsible for maintaining your energy. Give up blaming, complaining and excuse making, and keep taking action in the direction of your goals—however mundane or lofty they may be.”

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