Small changes can sometimes make the biggest difference. Here our readers suggest the hobbies or routines that might make 2017 that bit brighter
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. If its good enough for Aristotle, its good enough for us. So what rituals or routines can we take up to improve 2017?
We asked our readers about the one small change that has made the biggest difference to their lives here are 20 that might just make the year ahead a bit brighter.
1 Cold-water swimming
I suffer with depression and anxiety, and have done for about 10 years. I watched a programme called The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs last autumn. I hated the first episode, but watched the second to see how the woman trying cold-water swimming to help with her depression got on. I was surprised to see it really helped her, so decided to give it a go. After my first swim, I was hooked.
Jennifer Brooks, Gloucestershire
2 A daily lunchtime walk
This is a good way to escape from my desk and switch off from work. Its also great to explore the local area and discover hidden gems. It wasnt a hard habit to introduce. When I am busier its harder to step outside, but more rewarding. Those few moments away help me refocus when I get back to the office.
3 Stop shouting
I stopped shouting a decade ago, and havent raised my voice since. I used to shout at my small children when I was frustrated; it was an instinctive response, but it wasnt a constructive way of dealing with the situation, and it would take hours to recover from the guilt I felt afterwards. My kids often didnt understand why I was so upset. So I stopped shouting. It was hard at first (I had to count to 10 to calm down)but now I feel much better and more in control. I speak in a measured way and things get done because I have gained other peoples respect.
Clara, the south-west
4 Baking bread
No more processed rubbish the bread I make is wholesome and full of flavour. It keeps well, too, much better than the shop-bought stuff. There is no finer moment than knocking back a bowl of dough after its first fermentation. Its a great way of destressing. Recently Ive been making no-knead bread which tastes good but doesnt ease stress quite so well. Ive also started making my own pizzas, which has been just as fun.
5 Mindfulness meditation
I introduced mindfulness meditation into my life to help cope with a history of high blood pressure and depression. Concentrating on my breathing and telling myself to live in the now stopped me panicking. At first, I felt I had to lie down in a quiet room, light candles and practise for 20 minutes. But now I can do it anywhere. Even if you end up doing meditation for three minutes a day its worth it. It has helped me improve my relationships and career. Mindfulness slows me down, helps me accept the things I cannot change and appreciate what and who I have in my life. It has made me more grateful.
Elaine Kingett, London
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