When your birthday or Christmas is coming,
prepare a list of the presents you'd like and give it to a partner,
relative or friend to 'manage'. That way people won't struggle to choose a
gift for you and you'll receive what you want and like.
Spend less than you earn. The
figures may have changed and the decimal system may have arrived, but the
lesson is still the same as when, Charles Dickens in "David Copperfield" had
Mr Micawber opine: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure
nineteen, nineteen, six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds,
annual expenditure twenty pounds, nought, and six, result misery".
Use your credit card as a convenient
way to pay for your major expenditures on a monthly basis - not to
obtain credit at an outrageous level of interest.
As Shakespeare put it in "Hamlet",
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be". Don't borrow money unless you
absolutely have to (for instance, to buy a house or car). Don't lend
money - even to relatives - unless you genuinely don't mind if it's not
Don't gamble. There's enough
uncertainty in your life without you adding more - and anyway, in the long
run, you can't win. (A little flutter on the lottery is allowed.)
Give regularly to the charities of your
choice. Make at least one of those charities an organisation addressing
world poverty. Regularly increase your contributions as your income rises.
Wear the most expensive after-shave
(usually men!) or perfume (usually women!!) you can afford. It will make
you feel good.
Surround yourself with pleasant smells.
Have flowers, pot-pourri or scented candles in most rooms of the house and
in your office.
Stay close to nature. Have flowers
and plants in your home and office . Spend time in the garden or local park.
Take walks in the countryside and by the seaside.
Every so often, spend a little time
observing the night sky. As you contemplate the distances and time
involved, it will put your life and your concerns into more perspective.
Read a quality newspaper on a daily
basis. Learning is fun and the easiest way to learn is to check out news
and features each day so that, over time, your knowledge and interests grow
Take a weekly or monthly magazine
reflecting a personal interest. You'll come to really look forward to each
new issue, like a visit from a friend.
Read regularly and widely. Good
fiction will widen your vocabulary and put you in touch with your emotions,
while a range of non-fiction will extend your knowledge and interests.
Listen to some rousing music.
Have a favourite television programme,
Go out and see a good movie.
Treat yourself often to something
'cheap and cheerful' that you like - chocolates, flowers, a magazine, a
cake, a CD. It costs little and you're worth it.
Cultivate a few favourite places to eat
and drink outside the home. Then, when you go to familiar café or
restaurant where you like the ambience and the menu and the staff know you,
you'll feel comfortable and content.
Stretch yourself physically. At the
mimimum, regularly go for a brisk walk - it will raise your spirits. If you
can, join a gym and take more vigorous exercise - it will make you feel good
and lengthen your life.
Stretch yourself mentally. Go on
courses on different subjects - they don't have to be academic courses (they
can be at your local college) and they don't have to be long (they can be as
short as a day or even half day).
Stretch yourself geographically. Go
to places you've never seen before. Even in your home town, try taking a
different route than usual and notice the different locations that you've
never seen before.
Do something you've never done before,
like visiting a particular art gallery or museum or going to a ballet or
opera (or even just taking a different route to a familiar location). You'll
probably surprise yourself at how much love it and you'll have found a new
If you can afford it, take regular
holidays in different countries and savour different cultures
Keep a gratitude journal. This is a
notebook in which every week or so you list those things for which you're
Keep a diary. It will give
structure to your life, an easy way to revisit good times, and a reminder
that bad times don't last.
Take lots of photos. You'll love
looking at happy times and old friends.
Have a political vision on how to
create a better world - and do something to make that vision more of a
If you can believe, have a religious
Arrange strong IT support. In this
age of technological dependence, little is more upsetting than PC or
Internet problems, so at work have a great relationship with the IT
Department and at home have a techie friend or a local IT professional whom
you can call upon when in trouble.
One way of dealing with a difficult
problem is to imagine how you will feel about that problem next week,
next month, next year. Now try to bring those feelings into the present.
It will give you a sense of perspective. Problems rarely look so formidable
If you are uncomfortable or frightened
about a situation, try to take yourself to a mental safe place which
you have previously created in your mind and where you feel relaxed and
comfortable. It might be an imaginary garden or beach or just an image of
your study or bedroom.
As M People put it in their pop song,
"Look for the hero inside yourself". You are someone very special - so
you should respect yourself. If you can't, why should anyone else?
Regularly consider affirmative
statements or aphorisms.
Whatever your age, it's never too young to
start planning your retirement. Regularly increase your mortgage
repayments and pension contributions - this is a sensible use of the money
you don't need for current expenditure and it will increase your longer-term
Make a will, detailing the
arrangement for your funeral and the dispersion of your assets. The only
thing certain about your life is that it will end, so have peace of mind
that the circumstances that follow your death will as far as possible be as
you wish them to be.
Make arrangements to donate your organs
on your death. That way, even your leaving of this world will give
something special to others.