Finding joy in everyday life
As I typed this, I immediately thought to myself: “well… wait a minute.. is there any other “life” than this, the so-called “everyday life?”
We do kind of tend to think so, wouldn’t you agree?
It’s almost like we spend the majority of our time waiting for something else to happen, wishing we were someplace else, doing something different.
We spend A LOT of time waiting. For the weekend to finally get here, for something better to come along, for a vacation, for things that are more exciting.
I have yet to write about my first experience with loss and grief. I can hardly believe that it’s been over a year since I lost my grandma. Sometimes it’s difficult to put those things into words. But I can tell you this: it was that day, the day when my heart broke into million pieces that I realized: this is it, this is real. Nothing makes life seem more “real” than losing someone.
This year, I promised myself to stop wasting time, which is so incredibly precious.
You can spend your entire life, saying things like: “I will be happy when I [fill in the blank].”
You can spend the rest of your life waiting to start living.
Or, you can learn to find and create joy, even in the simplest, most ordinary of moments.
HOW TO FIND YOU IN EVERYDAY LIFE
HAVE A GRATEFUL HEART
Gratitude is the fastest way to change your life. Thing is, it is not just about “thinking” about the things you are grateful for. It’s about actually feeling it, sort of like seeing those things for the first time. Practicing gratitude literally changes the way your brain works. As you stimulate neural pathways in your brain through practicing gratitude, they become stronger.
Practicing gratitude is just like training your brain to see and notice those constructive themes in your life. Don’t know where to start? Get a gratitude journal and start by writing down five things you feel grateful for, every morning. As you go to sleep, think about the things that happened during the day that made you smile, things you feel grateful for. Books like this or this can also be a great way to start a gratitude practice.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
Find pleasure in learning new things. You are never too old to learn something new; it’s never too late to try something different.
When was the last time you did something for the very first time?
Be a lifelong learner. It can be anything from a new language to photography, sport, reading or drawing, knitting.
Don’t be afraid to grow.
You might discover a new talent or find the passion that you never knew you had, meet new people, maybe even find your soulmate. Find something that brings you joy. Something that makes you feel happy, something that will keep you busy and will set your soul on fire. Follow your bliss, every single day. If you haven’t found it, keep searching. There are some things in life that you just can’t learn by taking a class or reading a book; things that you can only learn by doing, seeking and growing through new experiences. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, 30, 40 or 50 years old- it is never too late to start looking.
Whether you’re reading your favorite book, drinking your morning coffee, spending time with your loved ones; do your best to be 100% present. Even if it’s just a regular, Monday night dinner. Notice every smile, taste every single bite, feel every breath, every step, every kiss. Those “regular” days, can feel special and extraordinary. There is something magical about being present- when your mind is free of judgment in every single moment, every single thought. When you don’t worry about the future or stress about the past. If you think about it, all you ever have is now.
I often say that mindfulness starts in the kitchen– it’s one of the easiest places to learn to be present.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO LIFT YOU HIGHER
Gossip, complaining, nagging and negative thinking- these are things that we all do from time to time. Years ago, things like these didn’t bother me. When it was time to get together with friends, it usually meant that we’d sit together, complain about our lives a little bit and maybe exchange some gossip. Of course, there are some people who tend to take that nagging or gossiping to a completely different level- those are the people from who you have to protect your energy.
Today, I cannot stand being around people who complain all the time. I literally feel my energy levels drop and my mood changes instantly. I noticed the same thing about myself- If I happen to have an outburst of negativity, if I get angry and then take that out on someone close, it bothers me. It doesn’t feel good. I immediately try to relocate my focus to something positive and shift my energy. For many, many years, I never paid attention to these things. I’ve learned that once you begin to notice your energy and the energy of other people, you will only want to surround yourself with people who lift your higher, people who help you find joy in everyday life.
Your life is your story, that’s why you should edit it as often as you’d like. You don’t have to feel guilty about cutting someone out of your life if they are a negative influence. It may not always be easy, but you have to look out for yourself. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, with people who smile a lot and laugh often, people who want to see the good in others.
FIND SOME TIME JUST FOR YOURSELF
There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, making yourself feel good, appreciated; self-love is so very important for your happiness. Practicing a little self-care every day can help you feel more calm, relaxed and confident in your goals. Do something just for yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything huge like a full-on spa day, but maybe a 5-minute face mask or a quick run in the park, a walk in the fresh air, reading a few chapters of a good book in the morning. You can find some ideas for things to do by yourself in this post.
LEARN TO LET GO
Let go of things you cannot control, of things (or anything else) that do not serve you. Sometimes, bad and ugly things happen to us, things won’t always go your way; but those mistakes, small or big failures always teach us a lesson- take that lesson with you, but let go of the past.
Worrying about things that have happened in the past, or things that might happen in the future is a waste of your energy. Learn to let go of those limiting thoughts, learn how to forgive others, but also yourself.
Let go and move on.
This is important especially when it comes to those little, stupid things we tend to get very upset about on a daily basis; you cannot allow those things to control your day and your mood.
There’s this old joke that someone I know says all the time:
A man is sitting on a train, behind him, his Guardian Angel.
As the man looks out the window, he thinks to himself: “I am so sick of everything. I can’t stand my wife, my boss is an idiot, my job is a joke, I hate my life. I hate everything about it.”
The Guardian Angel listens on, scratches his head and thinks: “well… these are strange wishes, but what can I do, I must make them come true.”
Pay attention to what your mind focuses on, what you think about and what you talk about. Don’t talk about things you don’t want, things you don’t want to go through. Spend more time talking about things you enjoy doing, things you hope to do or accomplish. Guard your speech and your thoughts fiercely.
Remember that even the most ordinary of days can end up being the happiest of days.