I always have dramatic moments in cars. Something about the music at full blast, the windows down, and the sun flitting through my windshield makes me realize how truly beautiful life can be. This morning, on my way to a coffee shop to meet a client, I had one of those slow-down moments where I couldn’t help but smile at how incredibly blessed I am. It’s amazing what a silly, but profoundly huge difference there is when you fill your life with things that bring you joy.
Over the last few months my life’s been through some crazy transitions, but I’ve realized that change is good. (Side note: Isn’t it funny how we have to remind, and keep re-reminding ourselves of that?) Over the last few months, I’ve taken steps to remove some baggage and people that were bringing me down. I’ve been replacing negativity with positive thinking, celebrations of the small moments, and self-love. This has made such a big difference.
No, I’m not perfect. And no, my life isn’t ‘figured out’ by any means. But I’ve realized that the act of bringing good things, people, and energy around me helps me live in a spirit of thankfulness. When we choose to fill our lives with things that make it fun, as silly and basic as that sounds—we see our blessings before our pain. And that’s life-altering.
Here are a few small ways I’ve been doing that. I hope it encourages you today.
Find one thing you love and try do to do it every single day.
Neglecting our passions is the single most ‘happiness killer,’ as I like to call it. The days that I don’t sit down and write for fun, and instead get caught up in work and meetings, are the days I feel most unfulfilled. While I completely understand that this isn’t easy for people who work 9-5 jobs or who have other obligations, I think it’s important to notice when we’re making excuses and when there really isn’t enough time.
When we prioritize everything else before the things we truly love to do (whether that be art, writing, running, crocheting, dancing, etc.) we ultimately feel unfulfilled. Whether it’s taking an hour to shoot photos at sunset, or waking up ten minutes earlier to do a quick yoga session, fitting our passions into our schedule is so valuable.
Listen to your heart, especially when it comes to difficult situations.
While this doesn’t necessarily have to do with your passions per se, it’s an important component to living a happy life. The truth is, our intuition speaks so much. We just have to tap in and listen to it. When it comes to conflict, arguments, problems at work—anything, really—listen to yourself and your heart. What is your soul saying to you? Can you follow your body’s inherent advice?
Celebrate the little things.
The other day my boyfriend, his son, and I had fifteen minutes before bed that were completely free. We jumped on the opportunity to do something off-screen and opted to color together. This was such a small thing, but sitting around that table laughing, coloring, and sharing markers was one of the highlights of my week.
It’s always the little things that mean so much. When you can, relish in them. Enjoy them. Celebrate them.
Draw yourself away from people who aren’t like-minded or energy-giving.
Reducing your time spent with toxic people will drastically change and fill your life. When I finally gave myself distance from a friend I had been feeling disconnected with, I suddenly felt such a breath of fresh air in the rest of my life. No longer was I second-guessing my every move or questioning my purpose—I was walking forward into it with open arms.
While it’s not necessary to cut people out of your life, it may be helpful to give yourself space. Recognize the energy you bring and the energy others around you bring, too. If this energy is negative on your part, work on fixing this. (See below!) If it’s negative from others, allow yourself some space to breathe.
Indulge your inner child.
How often do you hold yourself back because you don’t want to be ‘embarrassing’ or ‘improper’ or ‘immature’? Life is too short. Wear that Halloween costume to work. Run around with your kids at the playground. Have a popsicle or macaroni and cheese. Within reason, let yourself be young.
Treat yourself from time to time.
Life isn’t about restriction. I learned this valuable lesson during a time of unhealthy eating and dieting. Instead of working on healthy habits, I was cutting everything out of my life—from snack foods, to sugar, to anything that make me happy. I was miserable and didn’t get any of the results I’d hoped for. While this isn’t a perfect example, it speaks some universal truths—if you live in a place of restriction, always keeping yourself from having fun or punishing, you’ll never be happy.
Life isn’t about telling yourself no, or beating yourself up when you aren’t perfect. It’s about balance, compromises, and healthy self-love. So if that means an ice cream cone after dinner, a glass of wine at night, or putting work away on the weekend—so be it. You deserve a treat from time to time.
Be the energy you want to see in the world.
It’s important to surround yourself with good things, but are you being that good thing in return? Are you sharing your light, your happiness, your peace with the people around you? Are you being an example of all the things you wish to see in the world? As you fill your life with things that make it full, fill your heart with joy, too. That joy is contagious.
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