Let's start by saying that difficult emotions are completely natural and are part of the human experience. They're nudges from our instinct about whether we're on the right track or not. But our ability to decide what the "right track is" can be swayed a lot. We can set expectations that don't match our motivation to meet them. Things beyond our control happen, and we tell ourselves a story about how it's our fault, their fault, or generally blame the world. Yes, we need to have our basic needs met and respected. However if you're already comfortable in that area, the next step to being consistently happier is to cultivate your attention. The quality of a life is in proportion to the capacity for delight. And delight comes from paying attention and cultivating appreciation.
What point is there in wanting "more" when we fail to notice the great things that are already here? Would our future accomplishments and acquisitions be yet another thing that we add to our pile of past wins that no longer boost our joy? We must pay attention to what's around us now. Especially notice relationships and take some time to nurture and appreciate them.
1. Call a friend
2. Hug someone
3. Spend time playing ball with a dog
4. Stroke a cat (only some cats!)
5. Think of what you like best about your friends/partner
6. Start a conversation with a stranger
7. Reconnect with an old friend
8. Scroll to the bottom 3 text messages in your phone, and send a "hi" to those people whom you haven't connected with in a while. Ask how they're doing.
9. Move your body: dance, run, yoga
11. Recall a funny memory and reflect on it
13. Lie on your back outside and look at the clouds
14. Take a bath
15. Get into nature: the beach, the forest, the hills, a park
16. Have a massage
18. Watch the sunset
19. Listen to your favourite album start to finish and soak it in
20. Enjoy a great meal and really savour it
21. Write a bucket list
22. Write 10 things you're grateful for and why
23. Bake bread
24. Make something with your hands (origami? knitting?)
25. Do some gardening
26. Brew a cup of tea and see, smell, feel, and taste it fully
27. Savour something pleasant: a chocolate truffle, a coffee, a hot shower
28. Go for a stroll and listen to a podcast
29. Plant a tree
30. Pay attention to the present: the space you're in right now, why you choose to be there, the good people in your life, your resources
33. Make a playlist of your favourite happy songs
Here you'll find essays and musings on applied mindfulness. What does this look like on a daily basis? How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? Join hundreds of others on the the mailing list (link in footer) to get these straight to your inbox.