Living a life that you love and being happy is your greatest responsibility and I’d go so far as to say the purpose of your existence. Our happiness is our responsibility alone and it creates a positive force field of energy that impacts others for the better. I learned that happiness is a choice. It wasn’t a convenient lesson to learn but it was empowering. When you accept the fact that you create your happiness, you no longer have the ability to blame people or situations or illnesses. Life happens and we will continue to encounter situations that are challenging but we get to choose how they impact us. With practice, these tips can greatly transform your outlook on life. For me personally, while I practice these tips daily, I tend to lean on them in a bigger way during life’s challenges so that I can keep my vibrations high.
1. Have an attitude of gratitude
No matter what your current situation looks like, I promise you can create a list right now of twenty things that you are grateful for. Part of my morning routine is creating a list, that I share on my Instagram story, which includes five items for which I am grateful. It puts such a positive spin on the day. Don’t be afraid to publicly share your gratitude. You will begin to inspire others to reflect on their own gratitude. It has been my experience that the more I express my gratitude, the better I feel and the more amazing things I attract to be grateful about.
Another fun way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is silently thanking things as you walk past them. For example, while in a park you might say in your head:
- Thank you flowers for bringing forth your vibrant color and sweet fragrance
- Thank you walking path for leading me on today’s adventure
- Thank you light post for illuminating my surroundings
Finally, let us not forget the art of the handwritten “thank you” note. The only mail that most people receive is a bill. How great would it be to get a note in the mail from someone thanking you for something that you did? A dear friend of mine is an amazing practitioner of frequent handwritten notes in her business as a real estate broker. It really makes the receiver feel so special. There is some real intention and thoughtfulness behind writing something by hand, placing it in an envelope, sticking a stamp on it and placing it in a mailbox. Hopefully, together we can revive this lost art form for the sake of appreciation and happiness.
BONUS TIP – Buy a pack of “thank you” notes and pre-fill out the sender’s address and place a stamp on all of the envelopes. It will encourage you to find reasons to send them on a more regular basis.
2. Create time to care for yourself
Darling, you are so very deserving of putting yourself first and meeting your needs. We are not able to give our best and be our best if we don’t start with a cup that is full. Self-care isn’t selfish, ladies. And if anyone tells you any different, quite frankly, you don’t need their negativity in your life. This fast paced, multi-tasking, rat race that we live in will beat you into the ground if you let it. Your best defense for safeguarding your sanity and sense of self is a consistent self care practice.
The idea of self care may be completely foreign to you. You may even feel like you don’t have the time to allow yourself 5-10 minutes every day. My argument would be that you can’t afford not to engage in consistent self care because when you stop caring for yourself, everything will crumble. Maybe not immediately but you can’t sustain meeting all the demands placed on your life and time without stopping to care for yourself.
Need some easy self care ideas? No prob, Bob! I got you!
- Don’t “should” on yourself. Sounds like saying don’t shit on yourself and they are kind of the same thing. The word “should” is really all about placing judgement on yourself or others. Forget the “shoulds” and embrace the “wants.”
- Journal each morning while you’re still waiting for your brain to wake up. Let a stream of consciousness (or unconsciousness) come out from brain to the pen to the page without really thinking about what you are doodling or writing. I can almost guarantee that you will be shocked and amazed at what flows out of you.
- Sit quietly. I love doing this first thing in the morning while the world is still and fresh and the day feels loaded with endless possibility. (Oh by the way, the possibilities are really endless.)
- Rub some lotion or oil into your skin after getting out of the shower. Lovingly massage yourself and think loving thoughts about each body part as you touch them.
- Fix the small thing that has been annoying you. You spend a lot of time thinking and ruminating about it and once you take the 5-10 minutes to address it, you will have freed up that head space.
- Listen to some music or an uplifting audio book. These are two of my favorite self care practices. I am routinely found dancing and singing in front of the windows of my apartment like I’m giving my own little concert for the people on the streets. Can we say hot mess express?
3. Give back to others
I’m so lucky to have grown up in a household where volunteer work and charity was just a part of everyday life. (Good job, Mom!) From the ages of 7 and 10, my mom was taking my sister and me to the local homeless shelters to bring food and fellowship to those in need. It feels so good to help out your fellow man. It also helps to highlight all of the things that you have to be grateful for in life.
Helping the homeless is a passion of mine. While it has been many years since I was formally involved in a shelter outreach program, I routinely bring meals and groceries to homeless people that I encounter. I also get satisfaction from donating clothing and household items to organizations that make them available to the underserved for free or at greatly discounted prices. Recently, I’ve been feeling a pull to volunteer my time and passion for cooking to prepare meals for the families that stay in the Ronald McDonald House. I’ve also committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from Lizzie and the Flying Yoga Mat to the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond in honor of my niece and trisomy 21 angel, Orlagh.
There is literally an organization and cause for anyone so find something that resonates with you and maybe even your whole family. If you aren’t sure where to get started, here are some resources to help you locate volunteer opportunities:
4. Continue learning new things
Adopting the philosophy of being a lifetime learner provides a continuous source of awe, wonder and inspiration in life. I’m somewhat of an education addict myself. In addition to working in post-secondary education since 2002, I joke that I’ve literally been in some school or training program non-stop since the age of 18. The funnier part about that is that I dropped out of high school during my Senior year.
Committing to ongoing education doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. The public library is an absolutely free institute for higher learning. Brush off that library card and explore the non-fiction topics that you’ve been dying to learn more about.
5. Nurture your meaningful connections
Hold on to the ones that you love. The people that bring value and meaning to your life are meant to be cherished. You may also need to let go of the less meaningful connections in your life to free up time and space for the relationships that feed your soul and challenge you to do and be more. Not every relationship is meant to last forever and that is okay. Everyone comes into our life for a reason but they may not be meant to stay in our lives forever.
For my fellow broadway musical junkies, this always makes me think of the lyrics to the song “For Good” from Wicked. For those of that you may not be familiar, get out your favorite music app and play this song right now. Here is a snippet of the lyrics:
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good
(Lyrics courtesy of https://www.metrolyrics.com/for-good-lyrics-wicked.html)
I can’t help but wonder, “What might the world look like if everyone was genuinely happy?” Let’s connect in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do to live a life that you love. <3
With love and gratitude,