Little Changes Can Make a Huge Difference

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This post was written by Leo Babauta, originally for Zen Habits. Republished here with permission.

Little Changes Can Make a Huge Difference

When I’m feeling down, I make a list of what’s contributing to the down-ness.  Little changes can ultimately make a big difference in how you feel.  Here are a few examples of things that might be making you feel bad:

When I’m feeling down, I make a list of what’s contributing to the down-ness. Little changes can ultimately make a big difference in how you feel. Here are a few examples of things that might be making you feel bad.

  • Didn’t get enough sleep
  • Overwhelmed by too much to do
  • Not exercising or eating well
  • Got in an argument with someone
  • Feeling uncertainty about something

So there might be five different factors contributing to a funk. That’s a lot of things to deal with at once, and so it can be depressing to think about all the things I need to fix in order to feel better.

I can’t fix everything at once, so I just start with one step. I meditate for a couple minutes.

Then I take on another step: I make a list of what I need to do. Pick a few I can do today. A few I can do tomorrow. Vow to focus on the first one on the list.

Another step: go for a walk, get my body moving.

Then another step: talk to the person I had an argument with, in a loving, compassionate way.

Suddenly, with these small steps, I’m starting to feel better.

I spend a little time with my son, playing with him, reading with him.

I take a nap.

I eat a healthy meal.

I meditate on my uncertainty, staying with it as long as I can, with compassion and friendliness.

I go to bed early, and try to get a good night’s sleep.

I focus on one small work task at a time.

And with each step, my mood improves. One step at a time, I help myself feel better.

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These are small steps, taken one at a time, with as much presence as I can muster. And they make all the difference in the world.

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