Hello SOTGC community,
Here are ten simple steps to launch you toward a more contented and joyful life. Start out at your own pace, eventually applying each principle daily. The more you put them into practice, the simpler their implementation will become. Pretty soon you will be soaking in the sunshine of truly radiant living.
- Eat Well and When Hungry: Nourish your body with foods that support an internal balance. Focus on eating these foods closest to their natural state. Avoid processed foods and ingredients you are unfamiliar with. A good start is to cut out anything with artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, MSG and preservatives such as BHT. Your mind may find the products these are found in to be enticing, but I assure you that your body has a much different opinion. Found some in your pantry? Get rid of it, don’t finish it. Go to your local health food market and ask a knowledgeable employee, or bring along a friend, to help you find healthy alternatives. Be mindful of your cravings and what they may be trying to communicate. Sometimes, it is our mind that is hungry, rather than our body.
- Dress Comfortably: Some of us may be happy in stretchy pants and a sweatshirt every day, but this is not the pinnacle to dressing comfortably. Choose clothing that contributes to your physical and mental wellbeing — clothes that fit well and you like wearing — something that helps you feel awesome. Beware of items that dig into your skin or lead to blisters and chaffing. Ask yourself if wearing such an item is worth it. What are you trying to achieve? Chances are you can find an alternative that will make for a much more pleasant day.
- Breathe: Mindful breathing can bring clarity and help ground us throughout our day. Check in with yourself periodically. When your body and nerves grow tense, use your breath to relax once again. If you feel anger arise, take a deep breath before reacting. It is amazing the difference a few moments (or minutes) of mindful breathing can make. Take deep breaths — inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth; you should see your belly fill with each inhale and empty with each exhale.
- Know and Respect Your Limits: Sometimes, a self-prescribed time-out is the appropriate remedy for an over-committed day. Getting caught up in a whirlwind of projects and activities can leave us feeling drained and dizzy. We can benefit from establishing harmony and balance when it comes to planning our days. Invest in a traditional paper planner or calendar app you will use, and review it often. Begin by blocking off time to ensure you don’t over-commit. Morning coffee, physical activities, personal hygiene, time with loved ones — make sure the time you need for these are clearly listed. As you learn your limits, you will discover where you can find flexibility in your schedule to fit in last minute events or imposing deadlines.
- Help Others: Lend a helping hand. Surely there is some way you can find to help someone daily. Big or little deed, look for opportunities to contribute to another’s day in a positive way. Pick up trash along the street, offer to treat a coworker to lunch or coffee, help your spouse or child with their household task. Take the time to put someone’s needs before your own.
- Treat Yourself: Know your wants and needs and how to best serve them. Find a way to meet your emotional needs every day. Many people set aside the time to leisurely read the morning paper and have a cup of coffee; others may go for an afternoon walk or unwind at the end of their day with good friends and a drink. Whether it is fitting in a relaxing bath or shower, mid-day meditation or celebrating you with a fabulous meal, make time to treat yourself to something special each day.
- Forgive: Afford others, and yourself, the gift of forgiveness and understanding. Most of us have multiple opportunities in our day to put this into practice. Start with assuming positive intentions behind actions or attempt to understand why someone acted as they did. If you would like to make amends then communicate this using the appropriate words and actions. For instance say, “Will you please forgive me?” Or when this is asked of you, respond with, “I forgive you.” When possible, reconnect with a hug or handshake, and try ending the conversation with an unrelated subject you both have in common and agree on.
- Get a Good Night’s Rest: Sleep patterns vary depending on our lifestyle and circumstances. Find a healthy bedtime ritual to fit your routine. Going through the similar steps nightly can help prepare our bodies and minds for a better night’s sleep. Recognize that all your senses — touch, taste, smell, sight, sound — can contribute to a resting or wakeful state. Try limiting sweets and caffeine, lowering the lights, listening to soothing music, and maybe having a calming herbal tea such as one with lavender, chamomile, and oat straw. If you find yourself awaking throughout the night, perhaps a journal may help put your mind at ease. However, research has shown that some healthy and rested people alternate between sleeping and wakeful states throughout their night. These people found that during these nighttime wakings, they did their best problem-solving as their minds seemed to function most clearly.
- Smile: When at a loss for words, just smile … and better yet, find a reason to laugh a little bit too. Smiling has the ability to lift your spirits and lighten a tense moment, as well as bring joy to those who happen to be on the receiving end — haven’t you heard smiles are contagious? 😀
- Be Flexible: Sometimes achieving all or any of these principles can be a real struggle. Take it easy on yourself and know that tomorrow is another day. Maybe what you needed was to be on the receiving end of a good deed. Reach out and let loved ones know you could use some extra support and encouragement on these days.
Go ahead, get started! Post this list in a place you frequent often. Revisit it as a reminder of ways to enrich your day. In following these suggestions, my hope is that you will soon discover that living a joy-filled life has become second nature.
Are you inspired and ready to start your Joy Filled Life? If so then please Tweet, Pin, or share on LinkedIn or Facebook and help spread the message.