eHow Extras Blog

23 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less That Can Change Your Life


1. Give Yourself One Daily Absurd Task
Example: Jump up and down on your non-dominant leg 25 times. Snap your fingers for a minute. Anything simple that requires mental focus. You won’t know it, but by doing so, you’re building will power for bigger tasks (like weight loss, stopping smoking, etc). Scientific research proves that will power strengthens like a muscle—it gets stronger the more you exercise it.

2. Hug it Out
Giving someone a 10-second hug lowers blood pressure due to increased levels of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, while stress chemicals, including cortisol, drop. Can’t find anyone to hug? Hug a friendly dog—dogs are even better.

3. Destroy Smoke Monsters
To get rid of smoke in a room almost instantly, soak half a towel in water and wring out the excess water. Then, holding the dry end of the towel, carefully swirl the wet end of the towel over your head in a circle.

4. Make Your Bed
Make a point to make your bed after you wake up tomorrow. Making your bed every morning is correlated with higher productivity. It’s also been suggested that making your bed increases happiness. Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” says that making the bed was “the number one most impactful change that people brought up over and over” in her book’s research. Unless you have 75 pillows on your bed, this takes about 3 minutes—I’ve timed it.

5. Lucky Lips
Keep Chapstick (or whatever your preferred brand of lip balm may be) on your nightstand. Before you go to sleep, slather your lips with a few good swipes of said balm. Thank me later when the person(s) who kiss you compliment your pillowy Scarlett Johansson-esque lips.

6. Menus are Cesspools
Wash your hands after ordering off a menu at a restaurant. The menu is the dirtiest thing you’ll touch in there.

7. Airport Hero
Take a power strip with you when you travel. You’ll be a hero in airports when you plug it in a terminal outlet offer it up to any fellow traveler that needs a quick cellphone charge. Plus, it’ll come in handy in your hotel room.

8. Old School Common Courtesy
Give a firm handshake. Look someone in the eye. Say “Please.” Say “Thank you.” “Yes sir.” “Yes ma’am.” Simple.

9. Always Be Carrying Something
Let’s face it—keeping your house clean may be one of the worst tasks in the history of tasks—especially if you have kids. So instead of spending huge chunks of your day cleaning when you can be watching Judge Judy, make a point—when you go from room to room—carry something that needs to go in the same direction and put it away when you get there. Are you in the living room, about to go in the kitchen, and someone left a dish on the coffee table? Just grab it and take it with you to the sink.

10. Tighten Up
Kegals, I’m just putting it out there. Women and Men.

11. Getting the Truth
This one’s simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know it–or remember it. When you ask someone an important question and only get a partial answer in return, just politely and calmly wait in silence. The rest of your answer will follow, 9 times out of 10.

12. The Occasional Lunch Note
Have a kid? Write a note for them and throw it in their lunch. Takes about 30 seconds and it changes their day.

13. Just Say No
Learn how to say “no” sometimes. I’d hate to see how many hours I’ve wasted doing something I didn’t want to do because I was too nice to say no.

15. Eucalyptus is Your Friend
Hang eucalyptus in your shower. The steam will release beneficial oils. It’s a great antiseptic. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, respiratory, and anti-stress aid. Great for mental clarity, too.

15. Clean as You Cook
Rinse and put your dishes away in your dishwasher as you cook. There’s nothing worse than preparing an awesome meal, eating it, and then having to face a kitchen that looks like it exploded.

16. “I Didn’t Mean to Close That”
Accidentally close a tab on your browser? Hit Ctrl+Shift+T to reopen it.

17. Learn from Everything
Teach yourself to make every opportunity a learning opportunity. I once dated a girl in college who yelled at me, after we broke up, and said “I wasted a year of my life dating you.” I thought, “Not me, I learned to never date someone like you again.” You can learn something from any situation.

18. Cheap Security System
Sleep with your car keys on your nightstand. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, they’re an arm’s length away. Then, just press the panic button on your car keys. The alarm will be set off, freak everyone out–including barking dogs–and if there really is an intruder, they’ll run like the wind.

19. The Power of Water
Doctors, talk show health pundits, and pretty much everyone in the world with an opinion differ on how much water you should drink. Some say 64 ounces, some even say you can skip a few days without water. How much water should you drink? It depends on how active you are, but you should know you’re always losing moisture—just breathing while you read this—you’re losing water. Try to get a couple glasses in every day.

20. Keep Your Razors Longer
Extend the life of your ridiculously expensive disposable razors by weeks—even months—by storing them in a glass of baby oil after each use (not the whole razor, just the cartridge). Then just rinse the oil off before your next shave and boom: another clean, close shave. Why? A blade that’s just left to dry out in your medicine cabinet (or shower) oxidizes, corrodes, and develops mineral build-up, thereby becoming less sharp and potentially dangerous.

21. Remind Yourself with Your Phone
When parking in a huge lot where there are a billion cars and multiple levels, take a cell photo of the nearest identifying section sign that tells you where you are.

22. Online Airline Tickets
When searching online for airplane tickets, delete your cookies while doing so. Airline websites create a profile of you when you search their site for flights. When you leave that site, (to presumably shop around for cheaper prices) and return to the original site, they know you want that flight and increase the fare by as much as 10 percent.

23. Meditate (Almost) Anywhere
Set an alarm for 5 minutes, then sit in a comfortable chair somewhere by yourself. Breathe in and out, focusing only on your breathing until the alarm goes off. Do this once a day. In a week, stress will be a thing of the past. Good way to start the week.

All photos: GettyImages (except 12)

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