During our life journey, we will at some point (or many points) find ourselves in a funk and forget about the lighter side of life. Life's bumps are hard to escape because they are a normal part of a life well-loved.
Our storms often bring as much value to our life journey as our highlights and happy moments. When life upsets and challenges bring us down, we can use these experiences as opportunities to transform and learn something new about life. We can use our experiences to see life through new eyes.
When we feel ready to move through rough patches, it can be tricky to navigate our way back to level ground. It can be challenging to remember how to feel light and content in life. Sometimes it's helpful to have a guide to find our way back to loving the lives we are in.
These 21 spirit lifters, are practices I go to when I need some extra help to get back on track to living on my highest path. If any feel right for you, give them a try.
Intentional breathing is a powerful way to quiet mind chatter and step into the present moment. When I get caught up in the story that life is hard, I have learned the best thing to do is give myself permission to put the story on hold and focus on my deep intentional breathing. A useful practice is to take a full breath in and slowly release the tension and story you may be holding on to. Repeat as often as necessary to help bring more ease into tense moments.
When we are engaged in physical activities, we give our minds a break and our health a boost. Moving our bodies helps us release stagnation and instead feel a rush of feel-good endorphins The very act of moving can help us remember everything in life is fluid, nothing is permanent. Whatever stress or challenge we may go through, it will eventually pass. For more inspiration, read 5 Easy Tips to Add More Movement in Your Day.
3) Connect With Nature
Life is like a dream and nature is the extraordinary backdrop transforming the dream into a beautiful miracle. No matter where we live in the world, we are surrounded with natural beauty we can experience on a deep soul level. Step outside, notice the sound of the wind and the warmth of the sun on your skin. Feel the rain dampen your clothes and watch the cool brisk air transform your breath before your eyes. Start to truly experience the incredible sights and sounds before you, and pay attention to your physical response. Connecting with nature awakens the spirit of who we are. Nature helps us come back to the part of us that sometimes gets buried in the noise of life.
4) Give Thanks
There is always something to be thankful for. When we put our attention on what we are grateful for, we begin to notice more reasons and evidence why life is a gift to be enjoyed. Gratitude rituals are powerful and they can be implemented at any time throughout the day. Being thankful gives us hope by helping us remember there is a brighter side to life. For more tips on gratitude, check out 7 Ways Gratitude Brightens Our View.
5) Acts of Kindness
It is uplifting to genuinely give to others without expectation or strings attached. The act of giving is often where the true gift resides. Offering others our kindness, helps us move our focus away from our worries and dramas, and instead connect to our inner spirit. When we authentically give our love and light to others, we are in essence being in our love and light.
As humans we get to use our imaginations to create, envision and dream. There is a real sense of hope and vitality that comes along with giving ourselves permission to dream big dreams. When we were children, it was second nature to dream and to intuitively believe in our creative potential. We haven't lost our power to dream, sometimes we just need a gentle reminder it is okay to spend time creating new visions for our lives. Take a break from worries, and enjoy how it feels to be hopeful and excited about new possibilities. For more inspiration, check out 7 Simple Strategies To Transform Your Invisible Dreams And Goals Into Reality.
7) Be Mindful With Words
Our words are powerful, especially when spoken aloud. The words we give life to can spread like wildfire. What we say may be used to enrich our lives and the lives of others. Our words can also be hurtful and may cause suffering. When I get caught in a pattern of judging others or feeling bad about myself, I have found it helpful to pay attention to my inner dialogue and words I am speaking aloud. Often placing our attention on the tone of our words is all it takes to set a new intention of speaking kindly to ourselves and others. It is also helpful to give ourselves permission to say less words and have fun noticing how it feels to be more mindful with how we speak.
There is a lot to be said for getting adequate sleep on a regular basis. In this driven society, many of us push our limits and then don't take care to recharge. It is no wonder we can get stuck in a rut or feel depleted. Sleep deprivation is dreadful. Sometimes a solid night's sleep is exactly what we need to hit the restart button and see life from a fresh perspective. Arianna Huffington's newest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time is a wonderful resource to inspire us to change the way we view our relationship with sleep.
When we get swept up in the endless act of doing, it can be hard to remember how to feel light. When we give ourselves permission to 'simply be', we make space to notice the miracles around us. When we slow down, we can savor the moments before us and appreciate life for the gift that it is. For more inspiration, read: Why We Should Spend More Time Being and Less Time Doing.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in regiment, routine and structure that life feels dull and predictable. Sometimes what we really need is a reminder to step outside of our comfort zone and add more zest and excitement to our lives. There are many ways we can be spontaneous. The idea is to follow our heart and take a chance every now and again for the sake of taking a chance.
11) Dress Up
Dressing up can be more about giving ourselves a gift, than about striving to impress others. Our style is a creative expression of who we are, and we can use it as a way to lift our spirits. When I want to feel good on a special occasion or give myself a boost on a gloomy day, I love to paint my nails a bright color or style my hair. Putting some care and attention into our physical appearance feels good. Dressing the part can help us feel confident and comfortable to be who we are.
12) Be Open to Receive
How easy is it for you to receive? For many people (myself included) it can be way more comfortable to give than to receive. Living life with a generous spirit feels good, and it can brighten the path for others too. In this light, it may seem as though the more we give, the better we will feel. This is not necessarily the case. Givers, especially 'serial givers', often end up feeling depleted by not balancing the energy they give out, with allowing it back in. When we open up to the idea of giving AND receiving, we allow more peace and balance in our lives.
13) Get Creative
We all have the capacity to create. It usually boils down to our belief in whether or not we think we are creative. When we tap into our creative energy, we are in essence connecting deeper to our inner spirit. There are many creative endeavors we can enjoy. Activities such as: cooking, building, gardening, storytelling, photography, painting, and writing are just some of the ways we can engage our creative senses. Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, is a fantastic read and intriguing way to view how we can openly dance with our creative senses.
How often do you take time to celebrate where you are in your life at this very moment? Sometimes we travel through life quickly while we chase one moving target after the other. We can forget to take time to celebrate how far we have come. Giving ourselves the gift of celebratory time not only feels good, it can have a way of putting life in perspective. There are many ways we can celebrate: with friends and loved ones, enjoying a special ritual, or giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back for being amazing exactly as we are.
As human beings, we thrive when we connect with the people we are surrounded by. We also receive a sense of peace and clarity when we regularly listen in and make it a priority to have a strong connection with our inner selves. When we are truly connected to who we are, we lead our lives from this truth. From this place, we do not need to seek and search for truths outside of ourselves to feel okay - we know we are okay. When we don't have an agenda in our interactions, we receive the full benefits of being present and open to witnessing who people really are. Our interactions can help us see how similar and connected we all are.
When was the last time you went on an adventure? Being adventurous doesn't always mean traveling the world, climbing mountains or white water rafting. While these kinds of adventures are exciting and definitely lead to a life well-lived, they aren't always accessible in our daily lives. Adopting an adventurous mindset is something we can do anytime, no matter where we are. We can choose to enjoy more fun and excitement without packing our bags and leaving home. We can add an adventurous spin on the activities and hobbies we love to do. Each day we wake up, we receive another chance to have a unique experience we will never exactly replicate again.
There are many gifted writers in the world whose purpose and passion is to entertain, inspire and add to the lives of others. When we are in a funk, it can be helpful to pick up a favorite book and become swept away in story. The art of language and the creative power of human imagination has created countless masterpieces for us to enjoy. Reading is a gift we can turn to when we want to learn, be entertained or escape to a safe space that engages our imagination and senses.
Laughter truly is the best medicine. We can immerse ourselves in laughter during happy times and in times of distress. Some of my fondest memories are of deep rooted belly laughs shared with good friends. Many of those shared laughs happened during heightened times of upset. Laughter can be used to pull us out of the doldrums and to help make our spirits bright. We can also use laughter to connect back to our passion for living fully, and to experience the many joys and amazing things about life. For more inspiration, read How to Tap Into Your Joy.
19) Honor Your Boundaries
Each of us is in charge of our own personal boundaries. We teach other people how to treat us. If we feel like we are doormats and our boundaries aren't being respected, it is because we need to honor ourselves first. It can be wildly uncomfortable to sit in the uneasiness of holding a boundary with others who overstep. Sometimes it feels easier to give in and be the people pleaser. But turning our back on ourselves always comes with a price. The more we honor ourselves, the easier our interactions become and the more settled we feel. For more inspiration, read How to Stand in Your Power, and Stop Giving it Away.
20) Be Curious
We are all explorers on this great life adventure. We get to create our own life story and make sense of the world in our unique way. In childhood, we asked endless questions because we were thirsty to know about all things in life. As adults we can lose our passion for learning and discovering new things about life. One way to open up to be students again, is to ask questions and be curious. We can remind ourselves we aren't meant to have it all figured out, we are meant to be having the adventure of a lifetime. For more inspiration, read 11 Powerful Tips to Keep Your Spirits Bright.
21) Be Gentle
Life can throw us curve balls and we don't always bounce back the same way. There is no right way to do life. We don't all have to be on a quest to learn and grow either. Sometimes what we really need is to give ourselves permission to be exactly where we are - whether that is in a place of pure bliss or in the depths of despair. Our highest path doesn't mean we have to always wear a giant smile and have life figured out. Our highest path is being okay with who we are, exactly as we are.
No matter where we are on our life journey, the greatest gift and spirit booster we can give ourselves, is to love who we are and be gentle with our human selves.
Emily Madill is the author of 11 books in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. Her newest title 'Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time' is now being offered as an E-Course.
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